If your online business model is centered around selling products or services online, chances are that you’re going to receive customer service and support requests. Good customer service and online technical support can convince customers to stay with an online business, or to keep coming back. At the same time, bad customer service or online tech support for an online business can cost the business customers and money.
There are a few things to consider or ask yourself before choosing customer service and tech support options for your online business:
1. Do you plan to offer all customer service and / or technical support yourself?
2. What kind of customer service and tech support would you like to make available to customers (email, live chat, phone support, etc.)? What is the competition offering? Is there an industry support standard for the type of online business that you run?
3. Would you like to be able to offer support 24/7, or only during normal business hours?
4. Do you want to provide automated customer service help in some way to cut down on manual requests? Do you plan to provide self-help resources online for common tech support issues or customer service questions?
After answering those questions related to customer service and support for online businesses, you should have a basic idea of your needs, and can start to explore various customer service and tech support options, including:
1. Live chat software – If you want to offer a live chat support option to customers, investigate various live chat software packages.
2. Phone systems or additional phone numbers / lines – You may want to have separate phone numbers available for customer service or technical support lines, especially if you expect to receive a lot of calls.
3. Outsourcing options – If you don’t want to handle technical support and customer service calls or chats alone, but can’t afford to hire full-time or part-time employees for your online business, outsourcing work to independent consultants or firms in other countries may be a viable option.
4. FAQ / help desk systems – If you want to provide on-site tech support or customer support information, so customers don’t have to contact the company for simple, common problems, then either use an FAQ or help desk solution or create a custom support area of your website. This can range from a simple frequently asked questions page, to setting up automated responses from email accounts to tackle basic questions from a dropdown list. A support forum can also be launched, where support representatives can answer questions, and customers can help each other.
No matter what customer service and support options you choose for your online business, always take care of customers and their support needs. While happy customers can be quiet customers, unhappy customers (especially with tech support issues) love to spread negative feedback.