I saw a television commercial the other day. It actually made me laugh out loud. It wasn’t funny “haha,” it was funny ironic. A local telephone service provider was singing its own praises about what wonderful service it provided. “Yeah, sure!” I thought. I used to live in the area that this particular provider covered, and I know for a fact their service is anything but wonderful.
Many online business owners commit this same sin. They make a point to tell their visitors what exceptional service they’ll receive, how quick they’ll be responded to, how innovative their products are, or a hundred other promises. Then, when a complaint comes in, or phone messages are left, nothing happens. They don’t walk the talk.
How many times has it happened to you personally? You ordered a product or service online. You had a problem or a simple question. You called the customer service number (or sent an email) and nothing. How did you feel? Most likely irritated, frustrated, and taken advantage of.
Yes, it’s common for companies to claims of professional customer service nowadays. The Internet has suffered from “Wild, Wild West” syndrome far too long and surfers are demanding the attention they deserve. However, simply making false claims will do more harm than good.
Don’t promise what you can’t deliver. Before putting claims of any kind on your site, consider these tips:
1. If you say your product/service “will” do something, make darn sure it does. Every time!
2. If you offer “24/7 service” be prepared to answer emails or phone calls cheerfully and graciously at 3:00 am when someone overseas phones you.
3. If you make claims of giving “100% satisfaction guaranteed” refunds, get ready to fork over the money without asking any questions whatsoever. “I wasn’t satisfied” is all the customer has to tell you to take advantage of your offer.
4. UNDER promise and OVER deliver. If you “think” you can get back to customers within 24 hours, tell them it will take 48 hours. This way, when you call them sooner, they’ll be thrilled with the attentive service you offer.
5. Stop and think. Before putting any claims on your site – service, delivery, refunds, product features, service benefits. ANY claims – have an outside party check behind you. Does it work? Is it fast? Are you cheerful? Will it actually wake me up, start the coffee, and heat the water for my shower all at the same time? If not, don’t put it in your copy.
Customers online have had enough. They are paying more attention now and expecting more from the businesses they deal with. Above all – use ethics, manners, and good common sense in your business practices. Stand behind what you say. When you do, you’ll find the profits from your long-term relationships and the increase in your reputation will far outweigh any short-term sales gains.