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Michael Dylan
Internet Entrepreneur and Businessman

Michael Dylan is a successful entrepreneur and business enthusiast. He has owned and managed several successful business online and offline.

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Customer Service Tips for Online Businesses Customer Service Tips for Online Businesses - Article by Michael Dylan

In 'real world' shopping you can look your customers right in the eye, chat with them and thus understand what they want, or guide them to a certain item. And if they come back again and again, it's partly because they like you or your staff, as much as liking your product (unless you're in a specialized field).

But with so much online business, we need to establish good customer relations in cyber-space, including ways to find out what the customer needs and what they really value in your business. Is it just the product? Or is there some sort of 'online rapport' that also helps? As well, 'real world' customers can't hop around from store to store as easily as they can on the web. So it's imperative that you NOT ONLY know how to give your customers what they need, but also how to keep them on your site.

Good, consistent customer service can increase your customer loyalty rate, leading to greater profitability. Studies show that it takes six times as much money to acquire a new customer as it does to keep an existing one.

One important aspect of customer service is your employee's attitude toward customers. If you have employees who answer your e-mail or phone your customers you should consider:

1) how they treat customers all day long,
2) how they want to feel about themselves at the end of the day,
3) how they want their customers to feel about themselves and about the company at the end of each interaction,
4) how they see the purpose of their job,
5) how they work together with others on the team for their customers benefit.

Beyond employee attitude, we see that shopping online should be quick and easy, much as it should be in a real world store. If a main street customer has a question, or wants a product that s/he doesn't see, it should only be a moment before they can find an employee to ask. And if the question or answer is unclear, it can be clarified in a moment.

A single unanswered question online can make customers reluctant to complete a purchase; who can blame them?

One poll notes that almost 62 percent of Internet consumers would purchase more products online if live customer support were available.

So, whether or not you can provide live support, here are some hints to help you:

1. Be accessible
Show very clearly on your site all the ways that your customer can contact you - including e-mail, phone and fax numbers, and your office hours.
And, if it's practical give your visitors a real person to call who has a name, as opposed to
Of course, if you're really upscale, you can include a "Call-me" button on your site.

2. Return every e-mail or phone call in the same day, as far as possible
An experiment with the top Fortune 100 companies showed that nearly a third failed to respond to e-mail sent through their website within one month! Some of these companies still don't provide a usable e-mail address on their sites.

3. Acknowledge all orders
Send e-mail confirmations (this can be done very effectively with autoresponders), and if you're shipping actual products, give tracking numbers and expected delivery dates.

4. Provide a clear return policy, honor it and learn from it
This may give you more information about what's working and what's not. If a product is returned with no explanation, call the customer and see how you can satisfy them.

5. Expect more phone calls
If your website traffic and response rates grow (which is, of course, what you want), so will the volume of phone calls, whatever your business or industry.

So regardless of modern technology and the efficiency of the Internet, customers still require human interaction. If you treat your customers well, it greatly increases the chances of your business growing.

"This may seem simple, but you need to give customers what they want, not what you think they want. And, if you do this, people will keep coming back." John Ilhan Quote

This article by Michael Dylan may not be reproduced online in part or whole. Copyright ©

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