We blogged recently about the importance of capitalizing on holidays and events to boost sales and break into new markets. National Customer Service Week, Oct. 3-7, plays directly into that idea.
The mere fact that an e-commerce merchant is aware of National Customer Service Week shows a consumer that the merchant is mindful of such a thing, and cares enough to act on it. We freely admit, such a distinction has caught the good folks here at Instabill unawares.
Customer service is one language, perhaps in different dialects for brick and mortar merchants and those who operate online. While storefront merchants can thrive on one-on-one contact, e-commerce merchants have no such luxury, but can still send a powerful message to entice a consumer to return.
Catch Your Customers Unaware
So how can e-commerce merchants capitalize on National Customer Service Week?
Simply, offer a discount on a product or all products – just because. Implement a loyalty program. Or offer the customer 25 percent off on their next purchase to guarantee a return visit. Catch your customers and visitors unaware – they won’t forget it.
A Customer Service Victory Story
Back in the early 1990s, I was an avid collector of baseball cards – but not so much baseball, because my passion was with the NBA – pretty much all of which I still have today. I had a part-time job at the time writing sports for a small daily newspaper in upstate New York, and a colleague of mine at a competing newspaper was opening a card and collectibles store in my town.
My colleague was a bit older than me and I very much enjoyed covering events with him. We always sat together, and he was a professional in every sense. I remembered him telling me about a young hockey player named Eric Lindros, who he predicted was going to be better than Wayne Gretzky (had concussions not sidelined Lindros, I believe he would’ve been).
When his store opened, I was excited to pay him a visit. He sold me on his prediction of Eric Lindros, so I bought Lindros’ rookie card for $13. When we were done chit-chatting, my colleague threw an unopened pack of Topps 1984-85 baseball cards into my bag along with my receipt – just because.
A few days later I opened the Topps pack. Among the cards was a 1984-85 Roger Clemens card – his rookie card – which is now worth a good amount of money. This was 1993, and he had already achieved legendary status.
I told my colleague of my good fortune the next time I saw him. He smiled and shrugged. “I do that so people will come back,” he told me, which is what I certainly did many times thereafter.
The advice we offered above – offering discounts for return customers, loyalty, etc… – shouldn’t be adhered to only for National Customer Service Week.
Instabill Believes in Direct Contact
We don’t employ call centers or automated answering machines.
When merchants and partners call our phone line (1-800-318-2713) during 8 a.m. and 6 p.m., Monday-Friday, our merchant account managers answer the phone. Otherwise, we’ll return your contact the very next business day.
We refuse to be criticized for our customer support.