In the Value Creation Process, I explained the difference between systems and projects, and the importance of understanding how to manage projects. This is the core skill set needed to start creating value in your business... in the form of new products, systems, etc.
In the Value Positioning Process, I covered the 7 steps to creating what will become your Authority site - where you will provide value and lead your visitors to become prospects and your prospects to become buyers.
And then I covered the Value Exchange Process. This is where money exchanges (bank accounts) and your products are delivered to the customer.
Now it's time to bring it full circle with the Value Connection Process.
Probably one of the biggest mistakes I've seen product creators make is they focus more on 'getting the sale' than on meeting the needs and expectations of their customer.
Customers have a lifetime value... and customer satisfaction starts at the sale.
Brick and mortar businesses have an advantage of establishing a face to face relationship with their customers, and providing face to face followup support after the sale.
Online businesses don't have that luxury. But you can still establish and nurture a relationship.
One of the most important tools you have (or must have) is a support desk. That's where customers will connect with you if they have problems.
If you are just starting out, you can use a dedicated email address. That's enough, but know that at some point in time you will outgrow it and will need a support desk software. We use Sonic Reply.
Few online companies realize the importance of good customer service. It can literally make or break your business. Even if you offer the best products at the lowest price, your unresponsive or incompetent handling of customers can ruin you. Here are a few of the reasons excellent customer service is critical to your business success.
Your Current Customers Are Your Future Customers
Japan is a country that’s known for its stellar customer service. This is because of a key principle in its business culture. Businesses see it this way – they’re not selling you their product; they’re selling it to your grandchildren. This applies to everything from the highest-priced luxury goods to a forty-cent piece of candy. The important thing to remember is the fact that there is a lifetime value for every customer… if they are happy with your products and support then chances are the will continue to purchase more products from you.
Your current customers are your best future customers. It’s much easier to sell to the same people repeatedly than to constantly look for new customers. This is why companies invest so much in building brand loyalty. Your customer service is what builds that relationship. They know they can trust and rely on you, and they just plain like you.
What One Angry Customer Can Do
Another important reason to offer excellent customer service is that if you don’t, a disgruntled customer can do an exponential amount of damage. People talk, and they listen to what their friends say much more closely than to what your advertisements say.
Especially today, with everyone reading online reviews, it’s essential that your customer service gives them nothing to complain about.
Happy Customers Get You More Business
With a high standard of quality and service you’ll have lots of happy customers, and they talk too. You’ll quickly get a reputation as a business that goes the extra mile to make your people happy.
When prospective customers are searching for products or services, they’ll see the many glowing reviews of your company and know you’re going to be reliable even before their first contact with you.
Having a large number of positive customer reviews can also defuse the negative ones. If you have a long list of 5-star reviews where the customer absolutely loves your business, one review that complains about your lousy service will be ignored. People recognize a chronic complainer for what they really are.
Example – Into the Email Void
Let’s say you sell information products online. A customer buys from you, but has a question about the purchase after it was made. They’re concerned about whether or not their address details went through.
They send you an email and it disappears into the void.
Even if they get their product without any problems whatsoever, they’re going to hold a grudge against you for not responding. When somebody on a forum is talking about buying from you, they’re going to put in their two cents – ‘I bought something from them and everything was fine, but when I asked them a simple question, they never replied.’
Example – Going the Extra Mile
Using the same example of an online business above, let’s say that a customer buys from you but they have a problem. It was a software product and after they made the purchase, they were wondering if it was right for their operating system. They’re clueless about computers and perhaps made the purchase too hastily.
So your virtual assistant gets onto live chat with them and tells them they can verify it for them. Just in case they bought the wrong product, you’ll give them an immediate refund or a credit for something else you offer. After a quick chat, your VA verifies that it’s the right product. Now the customer is on Facebook telling everybody you’re a caring, responsive company.
Think about the above considerations and examples EVERY time you interact with a customer, because you never know who will be chatting about it with their friends online or offline. Treat each customer as if they’re the one single person who’s going to tell everybody about you.
So that's the 4 processes that make up the Value delivery stream for every online business. To learn more strategies and operational procedures (that we use in our own business), then I encourage you to check out our Plugin Results Dojo.