Friday, 12 October 2012

The Value of Great Customer Service

Rose Bouquet I’ll start off by saying that I’m going to be kind here, because this story is to make a point, and not to point a finger.

I was out in the US a week or so ago and thought I had forgotten an important birthday.  A 92 year old’s birthday which by any measure has to be important.  So I went to one of my favourite online stores, spent £50 and ordered what though looked to be a very pretty flower arrangement, simple and modern, to be sent out.

What arrived, on time, was a puny little arrangement which no way looked the value of what had been spent (and this picture is not what I ordered, by the way).  So I did what I’m very good at.  I complained.

Now the company I ordered it from is famous throughout the land for offering excellent quality and service, which is why I had never had a qualm.  They offered me a £5 Voucher to make up for a) sending something out which did not look anything like the value that had been spent and b) making me look stupid in selecting it in the first place.

I complained again.  They offered me a £15 refund.  Me.  What was the point in that?  It was never about the money.  It was about giving something beautiful to someone who would enjoy it. I deleted the email in a state of…………….anger. 

Let’s get it absolutely straight, and I know that most know this already.  But it is sometimes amazing the ones that don’t.

Great customer service is about turning customers into loyal friends who say nice things about you.  In this day and age with viral marketing whether you’re naturally that way or not, you can’t afford to do otherwise.

Great customer service is about going the extra mile.  Doing more than the complaining customer expects so that they’ll shout about that to the world instead of what they were complaining about.

Great customer service is about being clever, taking advantage of a complaint to let the customer know that you really do care, you really are listening, and you’re really going to do something nice for them now.

Great customer service doesn’t pretend to themselves that the customer is always right.  Of course they’re not.  Anyone in retail or who has been in retail will tell you that.  But great customer service doesn’t let the customer go away thinking they’re not special, right, and important. 

Great customer service encourages the customer to come back, whatever has happened.

I’ve written yet another email, and we’ll see what happens, but what I’m interested in is what does great customer service mean to you?  Comments please…………………………..

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Sunday, 7 October 2012

Ten Tips to Selling Products on the Web

Bijoux Heart Cuff If you want to sell your products on the web you have to realise that they, whatever they are, are your ‘heroes’.  This is why when you look at the most successful e-commerce sites you see the products first and foremost and everything else is secondary, although great navigation obviously helps (understatement).

Flash, over-clever intro pages – which will slow down your website and lose you more visitors than you could possibly guess – colourful backgrounds, over use of different fonts and general clutter will distract the eye and stop your visitors from doing what you really want them to do, which is to click buy.  They will only do that when they’ve got up close and personal to your products.  So you need to make it easy for them.
Here are my top ten tips to selling products on the web:

Lose any slow loading flash intros – visitors won’t even get to your products.

Get rid of coloured or patterned backgrounds to your website as a whole.  They will distract from your products.

Invest in high quality product photography, preferably with nothing more than drop down shadows as distraction.

Always show products on a uniform background unless you are deliberately using lifestyle shots throughout.
Vivienne Westwood Tartan Handbag

Show several view of each product, including close-ups and model shots as well as stills where appropriate.  One shot of a product is not enough.

Allow people to zoom in as close as they want to (or is possible).
Amara Zoom Dl Candle

Show close-up detail shots – these can also add atmosphere

Give clear information about each product, well written and without typos

On your product page layout ensure that the product is what stands out, that your main picture is clear enough and large enough.

Show each product in each colourway offered. These become separate products, heroes in their own right, and you can’t know which will be your best seller unless you show the colour options.

Unless you do all of the above you will find it difficult to complete on the web.  Content is King, as they say, and the way you show your products is part of your content.  Combine the above with clear navigation and a good range and you’ll be in with a chance.
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