The web professionals’ quick-start customer service guide
Why a quick-start customer service guide? As we’ve said many times on this blog, your livelihood relies on the happiness of your customers. Granted, much of that happiness is going to result from the final delivery, but keeping your client “sweet” throughout a project can also net you some benefits along the way. It’s a daunting prospect for many web professionals, but it’s not really that scary.
With this in mind, let’s take a look at customer service as a whole, then discuss the benefits a good delivery could give you. Finally, we’ll round up some advice for delivering high-quality customer service to your clients!
Explain it like I’m 5
Let’s start at the beginning. Customer service is essentially the way you communicate with those who choose to purchase goods and services from you. It’s a broad category that includes elements such as pre-sales care, query resolution, aftercare, and even hand-holding throughout your client’s project.
Some of those things can sound quite difficult, especially for non-experts in customer service.
However, these are just fancy terms for everyday things such as answering questions via email or helping a client choose the best service for their budget. These are all achievable things for the average person, let alone a web professional driven to help their clients.
When it comes to the quality of your customer service, you’ll no doubt agree that “high” should be the goal.
We’ll get deeper into how to accomplish this later, but it’s not something necessarily out of your reach. Though, be mindful that different industries and areas have varying metrics for what constitutes “good” customer service, although there is some crossover.
To take an extreme example, the fun and spirit a party planner brings to their customer service isn’t going to go down too well with a funeral director’s client base. Looking at other examples of customer service across various industries also shows that while the methodology can differ, the fundamental consideration is that the customer’s experience is paramount.
The juicy goodness you get from delivering great customer service
Of course, customer service is a two-way street. Your customer gets the things they want out of your service, and you get that sweet, sweet green. Ah, money — it maketh the world go round. However, cash can’t keep you spinning if it doesn’t flow to you regularly. Dismissing the needs of your customers is a great way of losing business and reducing the numbers in your bank account, and can also have a knock-on effect to other areas of your business.
Making your leads, prospects and current clients happy with your service provides additional value other than the monetary kind, such as:
- Word-of-mouth recommendations. There’s nothing like a bunch of happy people bigging you up to their in-need colleagues to take you one step closer to Scrooge McDuck’s bank balance.
- A source of testimonials. This links into the previous point, but real people who are willing to tell others about how great you are? They are the real MVP.
- Improve your reputation. This ties in with both previous points, especially when you’re also known for quality deliverables and a professional demeanor.
Yes, your income depends on these elements being solid, and we’ve touched on it constantly, but money will only come to those with an impeccable reputation in their industry, so it pays to make sure yours is high.
How to do all of the customer service (like a boss)
OK, hands up — there’s some work to do. We know it can be frustrating to add to your ever-growing to-do list, but this is really worth your full attention.
To start, you could peruse some general purpose tips in order to get a feel for the level of effort needed. Articles such as HelpScout’s 15 Tips from World-Class Customer Service Teams is probably going to include specific elements that you can do without.
However, the overall advice of having the right tools at your disposal, and speaking clearly and on the same level as your client is a global rule of thumb that pushes you ahead of your competitors.
eCommerce businesses are well-known for having to deliver customer service where it counts, and there’s a lot you can learn from this approach. We’ve looked at how to deliver good eCommerce customer service recently, and there are plenty of tips to assimilate here. This customer service guide is focused on communicating to web clients, and it serves as a great complement to the advice from our other pieces.
Finally, it should be clear by now that great customer service relies on knowing what your clients want. While we don’t think it’s entirely necessary for delivering stellar customer service, creating a customer profile could also help you delve into the minds of those who keep you in work.
Quick customer service guide in a nutshell
Customer service has some bad connotations. However, while there will always be those who don’t give a rodent’s behind about the person paying them, you can be different.
By simply communicating with clients well and aligning your own philosophy with what good customer service means, you’ll likely be wallowing in good vibes from your happy client base. Much like a trained flock of crows, your clients can then provide passive benefits such as word-of-mouth promotion, becoming a source for social proof, and carrying out brutal assaults on your enemies. OK, not the last thing (maybe).
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