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The Top 6 Principles Of “Good Old-Fashioned” Customer Service

Michelle Dale - Wednesday, October 06, 2010

I am always on the lookout for development in my business – new technology, new marketing techniques, better improved methods of providing services, and fresh new ideas for how to work remotely efficiently and effectively.

But there is one thing I am very very old-fashioned about — and that’s my customer service. I always believe that no matter how much automation can supposedly improve your profits – automating your entire customer support could be potentially damaging to your business – and in turn your profits, so you need to think outside the box when it comes to the bottom line.

People online these days want to be serviced by a human being. They want to know that their requests, comments, and requirements are being thoughtfully addressed and that they are actually being heard.

There are many ways that you can speed up the provision of your customer support services, for example through excellent support systems designed to do the job, such as “Kayako”, but what you should not do is takeaway the human element.

So here are a few pointers to help you customise your support responses to really have a positive impact on your business through maintaining happy clients.

Number 1: Always Open and Close your Emails

Always be polite. Never just jump into a response, always give your response an opening such as: “Thank you for contacting us, I’d be happy to help” and a closing such as: “Let me know If there is anything else I can do to help you”.

Number 2: Always Acknowledge Your Understanding

If the client has requested something from you, make sure that they are assured you understand their request. Perhaps respond briefly with “how” you are going to deal with the issue, task or situation so they feel at ease.

Number 3: Offer A Solution

Try to respond to the issue right away – there is no time like the present! If you are simply unable to offer an immediate solution, explain what action you have taken and a time frame that you will update them within. Don’t leave yourself under any pressure though. If you expect it to be solved in 48 hours, say 72 to be on the safe side and give yourself a contingency option as well.

Number 4: Be On Time!

This is probably one of the most important ones. Have you ever submitted a support ticket just wondering when you might get an answer… It can be very annoying, especially when it is related to something as important as your business – your livelihood! Make your customer experience memorable by giving a clear response time, and then by sticking to it. If you say to someone you will reply back by close of business Wednesday, then make sure it’s by close of business Wednesday and not a moment afterwards. This builds trust, credibility and faith in you personally and your business.

Number 5: Talk Your Clients Language

I have absolutely no issue with receiving an email from someone in England, The USA, India, The Philippines or Timbuktu – as long as the person responding is able to communicate with me properly. I can get by with my French and Arabic, I can hold a conversation in these languages just about – but if anyone ever asked me to run a customer support service in these languages, there is no way I would be able to confidently provide a thorough response, and it is essential that your customers are able to talk to you in their native language and also be able to understand you when you respond back.

Number 6: Sympathise With Complaints

Never take a complaint personally – this is business after all. Try to sympathise with the client and say that you “Appreciate their concerns” or you “Sincerely apologise for any inconvenience”. Imagine yourself in their shoes as if it was your own business.

So always remember, being “Old-Fashioned” in your customer service will get you everywhere in your Virtual Assistant Business.

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Hi I'm Michelle, an entrepreneur specialising in virtual assistance, a digital and real world nomad, and a down-to-earth mother of three.

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