Customer Service for Internet Marketers
Customer service is just as important for online businesses as for off-line businesses. In the off-line world, an unhappy customer is nothing more than a great opportunity to turn that person into a loyal customer for life. The online world is no exception. There are a few differences between online customer care and off-line customer care. Let’s look at how these two are similar, then we’ll investigate the differences.
I eat lunch at the same sandwich shop nearly every day. I know this is boring, but I really like the atmosphere of the place. I know the manager very well, and I like the quality of the food.
I also know that the service is very even. I know what to expect. I walk in, place my order, and five to ten minutes later, there I am happily munching my sandwich or my salad!
One day a couple of weeks ago, I had an entirely different experience! The manager was not there. As a matter of fact, I’m not sure any manager was there. Chaos ruled! It took me a full 50 minutes to get my food.
I wasn’t upset. I’ve been going there for over ten years. I had had enough experience with this place to know what I was experiencing was a real exception. I did, however, mention the problem to the manager the next time I saw him.
Know what he did? He not only gave me a free lunch the next time I came in, but he gave my whole family–wife and two kids–a free meal!
This guy is an expert at customer service, and this example shows you why. Not only has he figured out such gestures are the right thing to do, they are the expedient thing to do.
It is so much cheaper to keep a customer than to acquire a new one. Besides unhappy customers talk.
It’s the same online.
What’s the cost of acquiring a customer? Online marketing has gotten so competitive that in some markets businesses (including lone internet marketers) are basically spending as much acquiring a customer as they make on the first sale. The profit comes from upsells and backend products.
If you create ill will through shoddy customer service, then you won’t get your chance to make some real profit.
A customer is not an event! He or she is an asset! Something to groom and take care of hopefully for years to come.
The main differences between online and off-line customer service exist mainly in the customer’s head, and it’s important you understand where your customer is coming from.
When I first walk into a new restaurant, if the place looks nice, I don’t really worry about spending my money. I figure the food will at least be okay, and if something goes really wrong–well, at least I know where they are.
Not true when I buy something online.
If I’m buying from an established company like Amazon, then I feel pretty good about the transaction, should things go awry. But what if I’m buying from an unknown business?
You’ll notice most online entrepreneurs have what’s called a product funnel. We have cheaper products, mid-range products, and then signature products. Very few customers are going to buy your most expensive product right off the bat. They may not be completely aware of what they’re doing, but they are going to test you first by buying one of your cheaper products.
If someone asks for a refund, then give it to them for any reason whatsoever!
You think word spreads fast in the off-line world? Despite the fact the Internet is so huge, it’s harder to hide there than in the real world. People talk on forums for instance. Once burned, a lot of people feel the necessity to tell everyone else to avoid that merchant.