In a world where consumers have an almost unlimited number of places to shop, small businesses must work even harder to stand out from their competition. One way to differentiate your small business from other small businesses (and big brand retailers) is to humanize customer service by ensuring that your website is as customer-friendly as possible.
Don’t have a lot of time or money, or you simply aren’t sure how to get started? Here are three low-cost, high impact tips you can use to help improve your site’s customer service capabilities while generating more conversions at the same time.
Create an FAQ Page
An empowered customer is a happy customer-and nothing empowers your customers more than ensuring that they have all they need to make the smart decision to do business with your business! Give your customers access to the information they need by creating and maintaining a list of Frequently Asked Questions on your website, covering a variety of topics from shipping fees and returns through instructions for getting started with your product or service and ways to get in touch with you should they need additional help. Ensure you maintain your FAQ list and update it regularly as your products evolve and you notice that more people are asking a particular question or are inquiring about a specific topic.
Make Contact Easy and Consistent
Don’t make the search for your contact information feel like trying to find a needle in a haystack! Many a frustrating customer service experience begins when a potential buyer gets irritated by the fact that he can’t find simple contact info for your business. Make sure that your contact info is available on every page of your website in the same location (many companies place contact information in the footer of every page) and also on a dedicated “Contact Us” page on your site.
Also, on the “Contact Us” page, give customers an idea of what to expect when they contact you via a particular method. For example, list the hours and the time zone you’re available to take telephone queries, and give visitors a time frame in which they can anticipate a reply to any questions they submitted via your contact form. Letting customers know what to expect will help set the right tone for the interaction.
Consider Implementing a Live Chat Solution
You’ve worked so hard (and probably invested a lot of money) to get the customer to your site, so why let them slip away before you’ve closed the sale? Consider implementing a live chat solution to help engage customers while they’re on your site, and you’ll likely increase conversions while you’re at it.
Live chat software makes it possible for potential buyers to get their questions answered quickly, rather than having to wait hours for a response via email or navigate a frustrating phone tree to contact you on expensive toll-free lines. Live chat software gives visitors peace of mind in knowing that you’re there to help via live chat should they need it-even if they don’t use the service. Plus, live chat is surprisingly affordable and easy to implement; in many cases, you can have your live chat software up and running within a few hours of deciding to try the service.
About The Guest Author: Clare French is the Director of Marketing for Velaro, Inc., a leading provider of live chat, click-to-call and intelligent engagement software.
I don’t know about this live chat. I try to have everything as automated as possible. I understand the occasional customer frustration with that idea as I spent about 3 hours and 15 phone calls trying to get American Express Travel on the phone to send me a detailed invoice for my expense report. However, the thought of a small business having someone sitting there to answer questions seems archaic at best.
Thanks for these awesome tips. I had no idea that live chatting can be so important for a small business And feel that every one should consider it.
I actually run a mail order cheesecake shop (small business). While we don’t have someone specifically dedicated to live chat; our customer service department staffs chats, phones and email simultaneously. While we get the bulk of volume from email (as many internet businesses do), we have found that our live chat customers who go on to make a purchase tend to spend 16-21% higher on average (varies a little monthly). Also remember that customers who spend more tend to be happier. Not too shabby!