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Responding to Customer Service Requests

When you think about poor customer support through email, examples of unhelpful form letter replies probably pop into mind. Maybe a response left a bad taste in your mouth because it didn't answer your question or wasn't polite enough. Worse yet, maybe you never got a reply at all. It doesn't get much worse than that!

As a shop owner, you definitely want to embrace the importance of good customer care. You know and appreciate good customer service when you see it as a shopper; now it's your turn to deliver that same level of service yourself. No matter why a customer reaches out to you, you've got an opportunity to secure a relationship for now and the future. Make the customer's satisfaction your top priority.

Thank your Customer

Most customers are cordial when they seek customer support, but not all of them. You may encounter customers who are frustrated or angry. No matter the state of mind of your customer, it's always good to thank them for reaching out to you. You may have experienced countless similar customer service requests that you're tired of answering, but the customer reaching out to you only knows this one. Make a positive impression on the customer because it's just good business to do so. If a customer is angry, a polite and sincere greeting can also help to calm and reassure them.

Be aware of a customer's history with your shop. Is the customer new or have they been purchasing from you for years? Let them know that they are more than just another email request to you. Thank them for their continued business or welcome a new customer and let them know you're glad they're shopping with you. Remember, these customer service requests are an opportunity to build relationships.

Address your Customer's Concern

A customer reaches out to you for a reason. While you may get an occassional customer who just wants to provide you with a compliment, most of the time he or she has a question or issue that needs an answer or resolution. While it may be tempting to take the easy way out and write a general response that doesn't really help the customer but allows you to move the message out of your inbox with a clean conscience, such an approach will likely cost you in the long run and leave your customer feeling less than satisfied.

Listen to what the customer is asking you and make sure that they feel heard. Take what they've said and repeat it back to them in your own words. If they have a problem or issue that needs a resolution, express that you can relate to their situation (if you can) and convey that you understand and care. If you're answering a question that doesn't require action, provide a detailed answer with background information to show you've put some thought into your reply. All of this helps make the customer feel like they've been listened to. Furthermore, it validates their reason for contacting you and affirms that you are on thir side.

Don't Close the Door

In the final part of your customer care response, always make sure your customer knows that they are invited to write back if they have any additional questions or need further assistance. You may think you have completely resolved an issue or answered a question, but something in your reply may have raised additional questions or concerns. It's important to let your customer know that they are welcome to reach out to you again. If a request wasn't resolved to a customer's satisfaction, the opportunity for continued interaction gives you a chance to get it right the second time. Customer service requests are always opportunities.

Thanking your customers, addressing their concerns, and keeping the door open to further communication helps makes them feel appreciated, heard, and welcome. These are some great ingredients for maintaining strong customer relationships and building loyalty for your brand.

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