Editor’s note: The following is a guest post by Marc Horne. Marc is a co-founder of DailyDealBuilder.com, provider of daily deal software, solutions, and sales training.
Not all that long ago, in order to receive customer support if you needed it, you had to simply visit the company in person, or send a snail mail letter and wonder if you would ever hear back.
Next, we were able to call the company if there were problems and chat over the phone, which greatly enhanced the customer experience if questions or problems arose. Then relatively recently, we were able to visit a support desk on the internet, or even send an email to the company.
Times have changed quickly. Nowadays, the power exists for the consumer to be able to ask a question, provide feedback, or praise/bash a company pretty much anywhere; on the company’s public Facebook wall, their Twitter feed, LinkedIn page, Google+, Pinterest, Instagram page, Skype line… you get the picture.
For consumers, it is convenient and powerful. It can also be superb for businesses to be able to instantly connect with their customers from anywhere; however it does bring about a new set of problems. For example, what if your support personnel are trained to answer questions over the phone or through your support desk, but NOT directly on a public forum or logged into your companies Facebook page.
Social, and very public, customer support has really only been around for about 5 years, and it works quite differently than one-on-one customer support. Most of the time, responses should be crafted differently when it’s available for anyone to view.
If you want to move customers off of your Facebook wall, just ask them. It’s not very difficult to add a snippet at the end of your responses “In order for us to more effectively help you, we ask that you send your support queries to our support email address or give us a call.”
Staying on the ball and spending a little extra time ensuring that you take care of your customers support inquiries can make a world of difference for your business. The customer is most certainly not always right, but if you need to prove that they are wrong, there is no chance that they will remain a customer. It’s your choice.
Although many of the advantages of providing superior customer support simply can’t be analyzed or tracked, you are sure to receive a positive response from your customers. Quality customer support can help you get repeat customers. When a customer has a highly positive experience working with a company, the business is more likely to acquire, retain, and build better loyalty with their customers.
Responding with knowledgeable, helpful, and timely answers will encourage user generated recommendations, which I personally feel are one of the most powerful forms of free advertising that any company can utilize, especially daily deal sites. And while it may cost your business more to have better trained customer support reps, it also can potentially increase your revenues. Great support personnel know the power of providing upsell support and encouraging referrals.
“I see you ordered our silver vacation package. If you want the gold package, I have the ability to help you save 20%! Interested in going scuba diving on that vacation? I know a great company who will treat you right.”
Customer support has gone public. Providing excellent customer service is a must.