August 5, 2020
Even before COVID-19 forced many businesses to shut their doors or limit in-person activities, we already lived in an increasingly digital world. A huge chunk of modern freelancers and solopreneurs do practically all of their business online.
Some freelancers never even meet their clients in-person. Instead, everything is done through emails or phone calls.
While this makes work a lot more streamlined (who really wants to fly halfway across the country for a business meeting, anyway?), it can sometimes make it harder to truly “wow” your customers with your service.
The good news is that in-person, face-to-face contact isn’t the be-all end-all of delivering great customer service. Even if you’re never going to meet your clients in person, digital best practices will help you deliver.
Available Via Video Conferencing Is A MUST Now
They say that most of communication is nonverbal.
This is probably a big part of the reason why emails and social media posts are often misinterpreted. The same line of text could read very differently depending on the emotions of the person typing it, which is probably why so many businesses and clients value in-person meetings.
With COVID-19’s ongoing impact on the greater business world, most people are understandably reluctant to travel for in-person business meetings. So skip the hassle and make yourself available via video conferencing.
Video conferencing gives you and your customers all the benefits of an in-person meeting without the stress. You don’t need to make expensive travel arrangements. And if someone in the meeting sneezes, you won’t have to run for the nearest bottle of hand sanitizer.
As long as there’s a reliable wi-fi connection, a meeting can happen. Video conferencing will let you expand your reach across the country, making it easier to find those lucrative, high-paying clients that will allow you to grow your business smarter.
Be (Seriously) Diligent With Email
You don’t have to make “inbox zero” your top priority day-in and day-out, but if you let unread emails pile up, your customers’ experience is going to suffer — there’s no getting around it.
A quick response is essential when you’re the one on the receiving end of an email. Part of the reason why live chat is so popular on many websites is because people want immediate responses to their questions and concerns.
You don’t necessarily have to respond immediately to routine customer emails. But whenever possible, reply within 24 hours. Provide detailed responses that answer all the customers’ questions and concerns, or suggest a phone call so you can go more in-depth.
The longer you make a customer wait, the less they feel like you actually care about their needs. And that doesn’t bode well for your future relationship. Don’t be afraid to get a virtual assistant to help you manage your email load.
Always Make Things Personal With Customers
No matter how you communicate with your customers, you must tap into the power of personalization. If you want to “wow” them, you can’t make your business about yourself. Sure, you may be the one in charge. But excellent service always means putting the customer front and center in every interaction.
During a recent phone call between Pia Silva of Worst of All Design and Brian Yiu, an offshore company formation specialist at Get Started HK, he explained, “Business is more than about making money. The most important thing is to have a positive influence on others. This can often take your business to the next level. For example, if your clients need assistance after business hours, consider giving them your personal WhatsApp number. Be flexible. Don’t hesitate to share your time and knowledge. The better and more personal your service, the greater the likelihood they’ll work with you. This is one of the best ways to distance yourself from your competitors.”
It doesn’t matter whether you’re communicating through a phone call, video chat, email or even social media. Listen to their concerns and focus on their needs. If you try to talk over them just to get your sales pitch across, the customer is going to get frustrated and angry. You’ll find yourself wondering why you can never seem to acquire new clients.
Listening to a customer’s concerns and needs is how the best solutions come about. When you put their well-being above your own, you’ll find what works best for them. You’ll tailor your services as much as possible to meet their unique needs. Making things personal and truly trying to help will make a positive impression that sets the tone for your entire relationship.
Of course, sometimes this might mean that they’re better off not working with you. That’s fine. This is probably a win-win in the long run, because it means you won’t be dealing with a dissatisfied customer who then leaves negative reviews for your business. Instead, that non- customer might recognize how you can help someone else they know and send a warm referral your way.
Delivering Superior Service In The Digital Age
Can running an online business be impersonal? Absolutely. But just because it can be harder to form a personal connection with your customers, doesn’t mean it’s impossible. Make these communication tips a priority in your work, and you’ll form just as strong of relationships as if you were meeting in-person every week.
(Sources: Forbes and Worst of All Design)