If my recent experience has taught me anything, it's that good customer service is critical to the success of your business, whether you're online or local.
When I read Jeff Steen's article "Seth Godin Reveals the 1 Truth About Customer Service Most Companies Just Don't Understand" published in Inc., the necessity of that key ingredient hit home. Not having good customer service, whether it's bad or non-existent, is like leaving the sugar out of chocolate. (You'll know what I'm talking about if you've ever taken a bite out of a bar of baking chocolate...) The product may be there, it may have the benefits your customers need, but it's going to taste really bad.
This is what I experienced personally while trying to recover from having my Facebook account hacked. The company in question's customer service was non-existent. I emailed and all responses, when I received them, were automated, and I think stuck in a loop.
I had no way of reaching a human being to explain my predicament. And I realized that customer service is much like teaching -- it's about people and relationships. It's about being real, being the authentic you, and truly caring about the person on the other end of the phone or the computer. And then communicating that to them.
I felt unseen, unheard, and like I was just a cog in the Facebook wheels because I couldn't reach a human being who would listen, empathize, and either find a way to fix the problem, or help me navigate the system. I realized that I wasn't a customer for Facebook, but rather a produce they're selling to big advertisers. Losing just one person isn't a big deal to them.
"And because businesses are all about people and relationships, if you can make people feel wanted, affirmed, justified, supported, then you've already won [emphasis is mine]. In other words, give people good customer service -- not just more of it -- and you've got another sale in the bag, and another and another and another. Because they trust you," Steen wrote.
This is what Facebook missed -- but PayPal and my bank provided. I was able to contact both, who listened to my story, told me I wasn't alone, and helped me fill out the necessary paperwork to get my money back. In one case, the representative explained why their system had denied my request to get my money back and helped me file it again in a way that would get accepted. And it worked!
So, I've created a report to help you evaluate your business and develop ways to provide exceptional customer service. After all, it's easier and less expensive to KEEP customers than to gain customers.