顾客服务策略Customer service strategy
创建一个客户服务策略——CREATE A CUSTOMER SERVICE STRATEGYGood customer relations keep your customers coming back for more. Fostering good customer relations requires a customer service strategy that puts in place policies, services, software, and hardware that make it easy for customers to feel confident when making a purchase online. If an e-commerce business doesn't develop a good customer service strategy it will lose customers — the same way a brick-and-mortar would lose them — by not responding to their needs. Efficient customer service is crucial for survival of any business.
Don't be one of the e-commerce operators who put an email form or contact/email link(s) on their website without any plan for handling the increasing volume of email. Admittedly, a small e-commerce business serving a niche market might be able to get away with having no customer service strategy since it probably depends only on email and the telephone for receiving and logging its customer queries and orders. Most websites, however, require an infrastructure that allows them to serve their customers through a combination of email queries, online ordering, and telephone support.
To provide customer-winning customer service and to reduce your customer service burden, encourage your customers to be self-sufficient. The best way to do this is to have a well thought out customer service strategy that provides your customers with the detailed information they want and need. This include product/service descriptions, frequently asked questions (FAQs), and knowledge bases consisting of, for example, product specifications, articles, technical papers and manuals, white papers, and case studies.
Let's now look at how to build a good customer service strategy.The first step is to ensure that the customer service department and/or call center knows how to handle every aspect of a customer's transaction. Although email should be used as the main means of communication, telephone support (especially a toll free number) is also important. Your customer service representatives (CSR) should be able to access and manipulate all the information involved in a customer's order, including tracking the status of an order through the fulfillment process until it reaches the customer's doorstep. If possible, the CSR should be able to communicate with the customers via email, the telephone, or online direct-connection software (chat) — all of which are within the budget of most web-based businesses.
The second step is to determine just what the web-based business's continuing customer service strategy should address. Start with the minimum strategy set out in the previous paragraph, but also plan ahead. To do this, answer the following:
* Can customers quickly find answers to their most frequently asked questions on the website?
* Can customers easily check the status of an outstanding customer service issue?
* Does the customer service staff respond to all customer emails within one business day?
* Can the knowledge content on the website be continually updated in a dynamic and automatic fashion based on customer input?
* Is the most useful and/or commonly requested information presented to customers first?
* Do customers have an easy way to get to the human-based customer service?
* Do customers consistently return to the website to find information, and if so, is there any way to determine whether or not they do, and how often?
* Can the website generate reports detailing the support activities that have taken place on the site on a week-by-week basis? Do those reports help you to determine the ROI of your online business?
* Does the website give customers the option to have updates sent to them automatically by email?
* Is your website constantly updating its knowledge base by publishing useful information as it becomes available?
* Do customers ever praise your website because they found it especially helpful?
If the answer to any of these questions is a “no,” “I don't know,” or “maybe,” it's time to get to work. Begin by monitoring your customers' requests for information as they come in — many tend to ask the same set of questions. Diligent monitoring of customer service inquiries allows a website to determine where to direct its efforts — enabling much more efficient use of human and infrastructure resources. You also can use the information gathered to redesign web pages to make them more responsive to your customers' needs.
Consider building an online knowledge base of product specifications, articles, technical specifications, white papers, and case studies that can answer many of your customers' immediate inquiries. Supplement that knowledge base with a comprehensive FAQ section. This empowers your customers to answer their own questions without human intervention, which translates into not only satisfied customers but also an eventual increase in your business's profit margin. An added benefit of an online knowledge base is that customers develop the perception that the website has a good grasp of what their questions and problems might be thereby strengthening their overall confidence in the site and its offerings.
Don't go down the road that some websites have taken, too often leaving the customer in “self-help jail.” Let product descriptions, FAQs and knowledge bases be the first line of service, but in addition offer easy-to-access email support, chat, toll-free number(s), and other forms of direct communication.
You must constantly look for ways to make your website more responsive to the constantly changing needs of your customer base. If you don't develop a comprehensive customer service strategy, you will lose your customers to the competition, reap poorer returns on their investment, and even find yourself spending more money than is necessary on expensive customer service solutions such as conventional call centers.
HOW TO EARN A REPUTATION FOR GOOD CUSTOMER SERVICEHere are some tips to help your e-commerce site win customer service kudos:
* Try not to depend too heavily on outside suppliers to ship products to your customers. This gives you better control of your order processing procedures.
* Consider providing a 30-day home trial policy for specific products. This is especially a good policy for websites that sell high-end products.
* Extend your return policy during holiday seasons.
* Institute a 30-day price protection policy that guarantees if a customer finds the exact same product for a lower price within 30 days after purchase, you will give them a refund equaling the difference.
* Prominently display your shipping and return policies (use Amazon.com as an example).
* Display all customer testimonials and, if possible, give them a venue where they can post their comments.
* The needs of your customers should always be foremost in every decision you make concerning your website.
结束侧边栏——End SidebarTwo Different ApproachesThere are two basic approaches an e-commerce business can take to provide award-winning customer service. The first approach is called the “separate technology method,” i.e. the customer support is separate from the website. The second is a “multithreaded contract strategy approach.” The second method builds upon the first approach by adding managed email, dynamic FAQ pages, web-based chat, and more.
The Separate Technology MethodWhen an e-commerce business is in the start-up stage, separating the website from the call center might very well be a good approach. The separate technology method just requires that the web designer place the proper contact information in a prominent place on the web pages. Then either in-house staff or a call center takes product/service orders, handle technical support, customer service, etc.#p#分页标题#e#
As the business grows and prospers, however, there will be an ever-growing burden on the business's customer service resources. Automation solutions can help you to keep apace with growth and still provide quality customer service. Automation solutions include direct web-based transactions such as online ordering, shopping carts, etc., followed with a FAQ section to answer the most common questions about the business's products and/or services, etc.
To keep customer service so that it continually compliments the growth of the business (rather than hindering it), the first approach will only suffice in the short-term. So while many new e-commerce websites begin in some phase of the “first approach” mode, don't let your site linger there too long. When laying out your customer service blueprint, keep in mind that your business will need to include an infrastructure that allows it to adopt a more sophisticated technology as the need arises.
多线程接触策略——The Multi-threaded Contact Strategy
Taking the second approach means that the website is no longer an island, but part of a multi-threaded contact strategy. To provide good customer service on the Web, companies must open new lines of communication. Email, while universal, must be well managed. FAQ pages and a dynamic knowledge base are easy to set up; and when managed properly and kept current (perhaps with the aid of specialized tools) they can be an asset for a website.
Web chat, whether text- or voice-based, can be especially effective for quick real-time customer queries, since it can be faster than a phone call. Examples include real-time query and response (some with co-browsing features) “Talk to Me” buttons. “Call Me” buttons, which allow customers to schedule a call back by a CSR are also effective. While the real-time solution is best, the “call me” system is more affordable and can be implemented by almost any size e-commerce business.
Many small e-commerce sites and even some mid-sized businesses will find the multi-threaded approach to be too much for their budget. But there are e-commerce sites (large and small) that currently use various degrees of this type of advanced customer service strategy. Here are a couple of examples:
Landsend.com though its trademarked “Lands' End Live,” which according to the website states: “As you shop at Landsend.com, you can be in direct contact with a customer service representative by phone (if you have a second line or a direct connection to the Internet) or through an online “text chat.” Instant assistance!”
VenueSwimwear.com and REI.com both not only serve an international customer base, but also provide their customers a cornucopia of customer service choices: FAQs, toll-free telephone numbers, email and snail mail contact information and last, but not least, online assistance via chat.
So while the full multi-threaded approach may not be within the budget of the start-up e-commerce business, most can implement some of the features outlined in this section (and gradually add other features as business dictates) to increase its customer service functionality.
NoteA number of the customer service solution companies and customer relationship management solution companies are moving toward the Application Service Provider (ASP) model, which simplifies integration with a website and thus lessens the initial cost for such solutions.
总结——CONCLUSIONIt seems that while many are conquering the basics of the e-commerce business model, they have not managed to come to grips with the practical procedures for handling customer service issues. This is because many website operations don't treat their customers as the source of current and future profits; instead they look at customer service as just a series of individual transactions. This is not the only way to develop and nurture customer relationships.
The Web's key appeal to the general public is its perceived ability to provide immediate gratification. When customers come to a website they expect to find information or products immediately, and then to solve the problem or purchase the product fast! Consequently, the web user is sensitive to any delay — it only takes about eight seconds before a customer gives up a quest for a product and/or service. Of course, some will continue their search — only on another website. Others will abandon the search entirely.
E-commerce businesses, therefore, operate under tremendous pressure to anticipate their customers' every possible need. This need is passed on to the web designer, the people who contribute to the development of the website's content, the marketing department, and customer support staff. Since the customer is hypothetically everyone in every geographic region, the range of information that potentially may be requested is staggering. Solution? Prioritize — don't get stuck in limbo because of the enormity of the task — get the most important information and services on your website first, and then add to it over time, as your customers' needs direct.
The same customers, who expect instant action and gratification, demand better customer service from a web-based business than they expect from a brick-and-mortar business. To maintain a high level of customer satisfaction the web-based business must realize that “site experience” is actually more important to an online customer than “product experience,” and build the website and customer service solutions around that fact.
Good marketing can be for naught if there is poor customer service.