Hands Free Customer Service
One of the hardest aspects of running a business is handling customer service. Helping customers who do not read the instructions, are unable to follow directions, or won’t read the FAQ can be the number one drain on any businesses profit margin.
The Internet has made it possible to add a dozen tools to help small business owners handle customer complaints, pre and post sale.
Most businesses have tunnel vision when it comes to customer service. They focus all their customer service efforts on the post sale aspect of customer service.
Pre Sale Education
Educating customers is the number one method of retaining customers. Educating customers gives them a chance to avoid problems before they happen. One of the best sales tools is a tutorial that will help users set their own product up. Do not call it a FREE DEMO. Instead, call it ‘Installation video’.
Any small business can make good training videos using MS movie maker, or PowerPoint. These can be converted to movies using www.youtube.com and then posted on your website. They should direct users to the forum, FAQ, and other tools designed to help the user.
The trick to a good education program is that it solves problems and common misunderstandings. Teaching people how to use the product should be secondary to problem solving.
You can also turn PowerPoint presentations into e-courses, and use them for in-house certification. Many consumers will complete training courses if they believe they will receive certification, or if they will become members of the ‘inner circle.’
This is also a good way to force customers to take the training courses before you are obligated to offer them a refund.
Post Purchase Customer Care
The first thing a customer should receive upon sale is an invitation to a member’s only forum, and after sale FAQ. This makes them feel that you haven’t ignored them after the sale. The fact that you care about the customer is the first step to retaining customers and increasing sales.
People are tired of FAQ and instructional ebooks. At the least, you could give them a ‘trouble shooting’ Power Point presentation with pictures. Remember that all learners are not visual. Some need audio and even hands on to learn how to do something, so add audio to your course. Screen shots, photos, and a step by step video guide for solving problems will also help some people understand the instructions.
Live Help as a Final Option
Live help is a great tool. It is not a ‘hands free’ customer service tool, but it is vital as a last resort.
The scripts for adding a live chat to a website are free, and easy to install. However, the live help tool should be advertised on every page, but only available to customers after the sale.
It is also a good idea to add the links to live help at the end of tutorials. This gives the consumer a chance to obtain one-on-one help, without draining the company’s resources.
Selling Secondary Products
A good customer service campaign is necessary, but it doesn’t need to be time consuming, or expensive. A few clever additions to your current program can make all the difference. It can even sell future products.
All aspects of a customer service program can promote add-ons, extras, extensions, or even support products and services. This brings the sales process full circle, and builds momentum for the business.