Good customer service is central to the success of any business. That means making yourself available around the clock and working to get any problems sorted right away. That’s not too difficult if you’ve got a team of employees working around the clock to help you perfect that service and attend to any needs that your customers might have. But what about people that are running a business from home by themselves?
When you’re running a home business, you’re at a distinct disadvantage because you don’t have the manpower that big companies can access. You’ll have to deal with customer service on top of all of your other duties and it can easily fall by the wayside. But if you aren’t looking after your customers properly, they aren’t going to come back again anytime soon, so what do you do? Luckily, it is still possible to offer amazing customer service in a home-based business. Here are some of the easiest ways to do it.
Get A Toll Free Phone Number
If your customers are having to call you up for some reason and you’re using your home phone number, they’ll have to pay for it. That’s not going to sit well with them, especially if they’re ringing you up about a problem with a product. That’s why you need to sort out toll free numbers that they can call you on. There are some great companies out there who will reroute the numbers to your personal phone for you. That means customers won’t have to pay for the calls and you’ve got a more professional looking customer service number rather than just having your personal one.
Create A Good FAQ Page
One of the easiest ways to reduce your customer service workload and therefore provide a better service is to answer questions before they’ve even been asked. If you notice that you’re getting a lot of calls and emails with the same query, you’re wasting a lot of your time every day giving the same information out over and over again. By creating a frequently asked questions page on your website, you can stop a lot of those calls and emails. Anything that you’re getting asked about often should go on there, then customers can go to your site and get the information that they need without having to waste their time or yours.
When you’re designing your website and your FAQ page, make sure that it’s user friendly. There’s nothing more frustrating for customers than scrolling through pages and pages of information to find what they need. Lay everything out clearly and include a good search function so they can jump right to what they need without having to mess about.
Chatbots used to be something that people found annoying because they never gave the information that you needed and customers wasted so much time trying to get a straight answer out of them. But the technology has moved on a lot in recent years and they’re actually pretty effective these days. They’re essentially like an active version of that FAQ page you created; a customer types in their question and the bot will direct them to the relevant information. The benefit of having chatbots as well as an FAQ page is that the customer still feels as though they’ve had an interaction with the company, rather than finding the information for themselves, which always improves their experience. There are a lot of amazing chatbots on the market, all offering different solutions for businesses. As well as interacting with customers, you can use them to help with website analytics which, in turn, helps you to build a better website and further improve your customer experience.
The chatbots are good, but they won’t be able to answer every single query. If they can’t give the customer the information that they need, you’ll have to do it. Some customers will prefer to speak to somebody on the phone, but a lot of people actually prefer using a live chat service. It’s easier for them because they can get on with other things while they’re doing it and they don’t need to sit on the phone on hold for ages before speaking with somebody. It’s good news for you as well because it makes your life easier. If you’re using a live chat function instead of speaking on the phone, you can reply to more than one customer at a time. That means you sort out your customer service queries a lot quicker and the customers won’t be waiting as long for a response so it’s a win-win for both of you.
Social media is another way that customers are going to get in touch with you so you need to be on top of it. If you’re running a page for your business, you’re probably already using scheduling tools (if you aren’t, you should be) but you might not realize that they can help you with your customer service as well. A lot of them now include features that will notify you when customers are tweeting certain things about your business. That means if there is anything negative or a customer has a problem that needs solving, you can get on it right away and sort it out before you get any more bad publicity online. This is such a big help because negative messages on social media are going to reach a lot of people and it can really harm your business.
These tools are all great for managing your customer service but sometimes, you just need more hands on deck. If you’re running a business from home, hiring full-time employees isn’t really an option. You can, however, use freelancers. There are so many people offering virtual assistant services and you should make good use of them. They can operate your live chat, answer emails or even pick up phone calls from customers. Even just one extra person for a couple of hours a day can really help take the pressure off and it won’t be expensive.
Matching the customer service departments of big companies with loads of employees is hard, but not impossible if you make good use of all the tools at your disposal.