Have you ever been shopping and could not find a single sales person available to answer your questions? Or have you ever walked into a restaurant and had to wait an eternity for a wait staff to notice and seat you?
Poor customer service is irritating.
Experts claim that to excel, businesses must provide their customers one of the following three things:
- A unique product;
- Unbeatable low prices; or
- Great customer service.
As a publisher or author who is trying to peddle your books, rarely will you be able to meet the first two items. Few book publishers have a totally unique product. Consider how many books exist on parenting, marriage, money, prayer, faith, and service. Most small publishers and self-published authors cannot afford to sell their books for the lowest price in town, especially when you consider the number of bargain books and used books in stores and on the Internet.
This leaves customer service. To excel in selling your books, you must provide excellent customer service. Customer service is what keeps customers coming back over and over again; even if they don’t make a purchase the first time.
How does one provide excellent customer service over the Internet?
I can think of a few ways.
1. Place your contact information on your website.
If you sell your books directly on your website, make sure that you list both a physical address and a phone number where people can reach you. One sure way to kill a sale is to not provide this information. Hesitant customers will choose to not complete a purchase because they have no assurance that they can actually get a hold of a live person if there is a problem with their order.
2. Put a returns policy on your website.
People want to know what recourse they have it they are not satisfied with the product they get. While most book sellers do not allow customers to return a book because they “didn’t like it,” many provide a damaged goods policy. Allowing a customer who receives a damaged copy of a book (most likely mangled by the good old USPS) for an undamaged book is a good policy to have. If you do not allow returns, make sure to state this on your website. Being upfront is good customer service.
3. Allow customers to chat with you in live-time over your website.
Have you noticed that more and more websites selling products are allowing their customers access to live chat with a customer service representative? Consider implementing this great service on your website. You can do it for free with Google Chatback.
Anyone can use Google Chatback. To place this service on your website, you must have a Google Talk account (if you have gmail you already have one, otherwise you can sign up for free). Once you have a Google Talk account, you can place the HTML code into your website for Google Chatback and you are good to go.
Visitors to your website will be able to chat with you in live time. Google Chatback uses a web-based gadget that opens in a new window while you are chatting so your customers can still browse the other pages of your website. The gadget also allows you to let your customers know if you are available or busy; so that they won’t become frustrated trying to chat with you when you are not online. Google even has a mobile application for the iPhone so that you can use Google Chatback via your iPhone.
One aspect of good customer service is being available to your customers. Allowing customers to call you on the telephone or chat with you online accomplishes this for Internet-based businesses.
When customers stop by your website, be available to answer their questions and you will sell more books.