Somedays I sit back, take a deep breath, and look at how different this online business world is compared to the daily nuances of a labor, brick and mortar job. Before starting Chanel & Lee, I was a shift supervisor at Starbucks for nearly 4 years. I started working there at just 16 and found myself enamored with the coffee shop life; the hustle and bustle of early risers (even though I’m not one myself), and the attention to detail to create the perfect latte. I found my place quickly in the company as I trained to become a Coffee Master and rose to the ranks within my district, catching the attention of our regional manager.
You could say it was the way I worked with efficiency and diligence in anything I did, or you could say it was that perfect milk pours I mastered. What I soon realized when I was promoted to supervisor was that it wasn’t actually about what I was serving, but rather the way I served it.
What Customer Service Is and Isn’t
There’s this idea that customer service is about “always making sure the customer is right,” but in reality, customer service goes deeper than just being right. (Trust me, I’ve seen customers who were ‘right’ and still left with snarking reviews).
Customer service is how you support your customers before, during, and after a purchase. Starbucks is known for its excellent customer service because they’ve nailed down their support before you even walk in the store all the way to that final sip of your cup. And whether you’re a Bux fan or not, you can appreciate the way they care for their customers on every level.
The online business space is no different and it should be approached no different. How you serve your audience before, during, and after they purchase from you is crucial to your brand identity, your scalability, and (most importantly) your profitability.
Customer service is a business practice, not a scary word you should fear. When you’re a solopreneur navigating your online business, your brand’s customer service should be a constant topic of conversation and elevation in your development. Why? Because 5-star customer service leads to a 5-star customer experience and that is what can set you apart from the competition. Outstanding Customer service is why people will spend $6 on a cup of coffee when they could make it at home for free.
How to Elevate Your Online Customer Service
If you do a quick search online, you can find how major companies like Wal-Mart or Starbucks position their brand values within their customer service and what that looks like fleshed out into real-time support. But what does this look like for a small, online business? Let’s break this down into 3 key service elements that support the customer journey, so we can understand where our customer experience process needs a facelift.
Regardless of what kind of online niche you’re in or what your product suite looks like, your customers are coming to you with a problem and they’re looking for a solution. It’s your job to deliver those solutions and rectify any objections along the way as quickly and efficiently as possible.
How do I deliver customer information on my products and offers?
Is that information easy to access and clear to understand?
If they have questions about the offer, can they quickly find those answers?
Is all the information they need about the product/service available to them?
Have I conveyed all the extra details, so nothing surprises them? (i.e. office hours, turnaround time, etc)
The information you deliver and how you deliver it is just as important as the actual product/service you’re selling. It’s your responsibility to ensure the information you’re giving out is actually serving your clients. This might look like:
- Thorough sales/services pages
- Giving information on consult calls or proposals
- Easily accessible FAQs on your website
- Transparency AND clarity in your product/course information
Ahhh, the bread and butter of customer service. Communication in your brand and with your customers is your lifeline and can easily turn a negative experience into a positive one with just a few words. So how can we elevate communication?
Where are my customers coming to me for information (email, social media, a system, etc)?
How is the information communicated to them at each stage of their purchase?
How accessible am I (or is my team) to my customers for information?
What is my brand’s communication tone?
Do I have a communication strategy in place for negative feedback/concerns?
How do my customers desire to communicate?
Sophisticated, clear communication can 180 an unhappy customer and completely prevent an unpleasant experience altogether. This might look like:
- A clear line of preferred brand communication (i.e. always in the DMs with voice memos, email support line, Voxer, etc)
- Proper touchpoints and automation in place to serve them at each stage
- Access to a consult/discovery call
- Honed brand communication (working with a copywriter to hone your brand voice is HUGE)
- SOPs for negative feedback, refunds, etc.
- Open dialogue with your clients (they’re your best source of information)!
Lastly, and one of my personal favorites: support. As we deliver information and communicate with our customers at every level of their journey, supporting them through decision-making and implementation is the final step in ensuring their experience is 5-star. In what ways can we support our clients?
What systems do I have in place to ensure they can access their product/information with ease (i.e. CRM, course software, e-commerce website etc.)
What can I automate to speed up and deliver consistent support?
What system do I need to ensure clients understand their product/service?
Where do I delegate client support and who is responsible for that communication?
What support do I need to ensure I’m not burning out on supporting my customers?
The way you support your client’s in their journey will look a lot different for everyone depending on the systems and types of products you’re offering. But the questions above might look like:
- Client/customer hub with all important information, documents, etc for their service/product
- Workflow automation to stay on-track and efficient with all client communication/support
- A robust CRM/course platform that does the heavy lifting for you
- SOPs for your support processes
- A VA/team who is in charge of client support/experience
- Proper delegation of client management
Customer service isn’t reserved for the big dogs. It’s a critical, moving piece to any successful business. The information you communicate and how you support each client is your secret sauce. It’s what sets you apart and makes your business yours. Ready to elevate your client experience and scale your consulting/coaching business? Click here to learn more about the full-service Dubsado system setup.