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Are you providing awesome customer service?

March 22, 2011 3:39pm | Comments
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Does your Web Site have a contact page? And do you respond quickly?
14 Excuses for Lousy Responses
Why don’t businesses take inquiries from their website seriously? Here are 14 of the reasons I’ve heard or observed over the years . . .
1. Website inquiries are seen to be from “tire-kickers” just looking for information and seldom result in sales. If someone takes the time to ask for information, then they could be a serious customer at some point in time. Perhaps not right now, but it’s smart business to add them to your sales funnel and build relationships.
2. Website inquiries are sent to the wrong person in the organization. Are customer service requests going to your receptionist or your IT person and getting overlooked or ignored?
3. Website inquiries are sent to someone who is no longer working in the organization. When someone leaves, someone else needs to get their email and respond to it. Better still, make inquiry forms position-related and not sent to an individual person.
4. Website inquiries are sent to the wrong organization – maybe such as your web development company. This is dumb, but some businesses still let it happen.
5. Website inquiries are sent to someone in the organization who is already so busy they don’t notice or don’t care about the inquiry. This is a biggie.
6. Website inquiries get caught in a junk or spam filter. It’s kind of tragic, but it happens – all the time.
7. Website inquiries go into an inquiry database on the website, never to be seen again. This may be due to poor website administration, poor database management, poor reporting or poor alerts, but whatever the cause it is treatable.
8. Website inquiries often come from spammers, so the people in the business have just learned to ignore them. I once had a sales manager of a big company tell me this during a website planning consulting session “Most are spam, so we ignore them all.”
9. Website inquiries are often incomplete and are not taken seriously. Hey, the person has at least bothered to give you some information. They should not have to fill in a complex form filled with mandatory fields of data just to report an issue.
10. Website inquiries may be coming from competitors and get ignored. Well, it’s true. Your competitors may be “shopping you.” So, why not start showing your strength by providing great customer service rather than revealing your customer service weaknesses.
11. The Website inquiry form doesn’t work and so the messages aren’t sent properly, let alone read. Sadly, not all forms are tested thoroughly when built, and some break after being built. Learn to test your customer service processes regularly – and that includes website forms.
12. Website inquiries are not reported to management, and there is no tracking of response and resolution times and status of follow ups. Management 101: “What gets measured gets done.” Management 102: “What gets reported on to others often gets done better.”
13. There is no in-built escalation process in the system to escalate issues if inquiries are not responded to in an acceptable time-frame. Clever systems can do this. If it will provide better customer service and less risk to your business, then automate what you can when you can.
14. Website inquiries can come in at any time 24/7. No one is there to respond quickly. Unless you offer services across multiple time-zones, most customers will understand that you have working hours and you have non-working hours. The solution is to clearly set the expectations for when you will respond to inquiries, and say it right up front on the inquiry form. And if you are operating across time-zones, then have a system that will be there when you are not.
There are probably lots of other poor excuses I could add to this list, but these are a good start. What do you think? Have others you can share?

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