As a business, no matter what products are services you offer, your main service should be your customer service, since this is the one that will make the difference if you stay in business or not. Selling is one thing, but keeping customers happy and returning is another. Here the reasons why it is such an important investment.
Today's consumers make nastier customers than in the past, since the world has become a small place throughout the Internet. It does not matter what company you are and what your are offering, as long as your clients remain happy, your business is more likely to stay in business.
First thing you should know is why customers contact you. There can be several reasons. Some might prospect a business before dealing with it. So it is a of great importance all incoming questions, how stupid they might seem, get answered as soon as possible.
So here a short overview on the sort of customers that might contact you and how you should handle them and what you surely must NOT do.
1) The prospector
Often denied and costing businesses millions of dollars are those who seem to be taking your time asking several seemingly stupid questions on things they might find on your website, while they did not even ordered from you.
Some of those rare few might be in to just steal your time with practical jokes, but some are customers that like the prospect a business before buying its products or services. Since your company offer might not be so unique, wise customers contact firms before doing business with them.
Asking some simple questions is a good way to find out the quality of service you have to offer. If somebody asks you about shipping costs to Europe and you do not reply, consider it is on the website, or simply reply with a referral to the website, you might be missing the deal because a competing company gave a nice detailed answer with all the information.
Never fall in the trap the people who did not do any business with you yet are not your customers. They might be your future ones.
2) The unhappy customer
Prospectors are just trying not to get there. These are the clients that have been through a bad experience with your company and that you should try to please and keep.
Be honest with them and never blame a customer for your mistakes. If your firm has delivered the wrong goods, this person should be given the right ones and the wrong ones should be picked up again.
All problems a customer experiences are serious, even if they do not seem it to you. For example: the shade of pink a wallet your delivered to a young woman did not match her expectation, because it appeared different on the website, should not be called stupid and color blind, but offered a chance for return and refund of her goods.
When you offer goods with guarantee and they break down, do accept then back, send them back to the manufacturer and let them decide whether guarantee applies. Be honest when you suspect that the damage might not be covered by the guarantee policy, for example a customer hands in a fallen cell phone that is nearly new, but seriously damaged, do mention that the repairs might cost, but do not blame the customer for not taking good care of it.
Be honest at all times. If you do not know how long something might take or how much it will cost, avoid giving your customer wrong information. This also applies if you want to make sure a prospector will not return as an unhappy customer.
The happy consumers will most likely not contact you, but will advice you to their friends and relations. So will the unhappy ones you do not help well, or the prospectors that you do not satisfy, but in a different way.
You do not have to be a business graduate to come up with this but note that unhappy customers you do not treat well, are a danger for your business.
There are a few that will never be satisfied, but only keeping a low price, a decent product or service and a fast delivery will not keep you in business when customers are left alone when a problem occurs, or do not hear from you when they were willing to be in business with you.