At its core, showing customers respects is simply a matter of treating them the way you’d like to be treated. Basically, it’s following “the Golden Rule.”
You know, the whole “Do unto others…” thing?
Of course, while it’s comforting to think all you have to do is treat other people the way you’d want them to treat you, the reality is things can sometimes be a bit more complicated.
With that in mind, here are some basic rules of thumb.
When your customers have a problem, they don’t want to “Press one” for this, “Press two” for that—assuming they can even find your customer service number in the first place.
Your contact information should be readily accessible and you should provide them with multiple methods of getting in touch with you. In addition to posting answers to frequently asked questions, chatbots have proven remarkably effective at responding to recurring queries.
On the other hand though, you should also make an earnest effort to—
Eradicate Recurring Problems
Keep track of your customer service inquiries and put mechanisms in place to deal with situations that arise repeatedly. If you know a problem exists, fix it so your customers don’t have to continually encounter it.
Let us say you are selling ebooks online and your customers are consistently having problems downloading titles. The solution could be as simple as offering more information about the process. However, if it’s happening to more than a few people, you should find a way to simplify the procedure.
Own Your Mistakes
Too many people play the “blame game.” When someone pays you for a product or a service and something goes wrong, they should be able to come to you for a solution.
They won’t care if your vendor screwed up, your delivery truck went to the wrong address or the product was inadvertently listed as “in stock” when it was actually on back order. All they know is you have their money, but they don’t have what they paid you for.
Take ownership of the situation, don’t point fingers and fix it right away—by whatever means required.
When a customer has a question or a concern, they’ll measure your respect in the amount of time it takes you to get back to them.
When you do, be prepared to offer a concrete timeline for the solution to take place and do everything possible to get them the information they seek within that interval.
Make Your Word Your Bond
One the biggest issues consumers have with ecommerce is trust. If you tell a customer they can expect X, Y and Z by a certain time, do everything you can to ensure it happens.
You’re already asking people to give you a credit card number for an item they haven’t held in their hands. Anything you do to introduce doubt in their minds is going to make them more wary.
When you make promises, move Heaven and Earth to keep them.
Do everything possible to let customers know you value them—both as individuals and as customers.
Acknowledge birthdays and holidays, without touting products or special offerings. Refer to them by name in all communications.
If a patron calls your customer service team with a concern, the first person with whom they speak should stick with them until their worry is resolved.
Again, showing customers respect is really just a matter of treating people the way you’d want to be treated in the same situation. You’ll always get a lot farther along with people when you put yourself in their shoes.