So You’ve Begun a Small Business as a Web Designer. How’s your Customer Service?

Congratulations on your decision to establish your own business! You’ve completed your education, and it’s time to make your place in the world. It has taken time to build up your customer base and to provide the kind of service and product that only you can design. However, there are going to be problems that only you can answer of course, since you designed the website. Customer service is more than half psychological, though, a fact most small business owners and startups don’t recognize. As we discuss customer service and customer support techniques, we need to keep in mind the psychological impact of such service and support as well.

Why is it Psychological?

Not everyone knows how to turn on a computer, much less use it. There are those citizens who seek extra money, friends, or they just have curiosity as to what this virtual world thing is all about. These people begin their odyssey at a disadvantage, at least in their own minds. Once you’ve established their website and taught them how to interact with their customers, friends or whoever stumbles across them, they’re all set. That is, until a problem arises. When a problem arises, these folks think one of two things. One would be that the website is at fault, and the second is that they themselves are at fault.

One of the most delicate customer service and customer support things you will do is to reassure your clients that they are smart enough to do this. If their computer crashed due to something beyond their control, they will think they are idiots. If your clients didn’t do something right and can’t contact their own customers, they will think they are idiots. It is your job, therefore, to not only fix the website problem, but to in-still confidence into your clients. That can be a delicate task.

On the other hand, there are those clients who will think it’s all your fault when something on their website doesn’t work. Defending your territory and at the same time not angering your clients is just as delicate as the insecure clients. Remember that you’re dealing with people as well as an inanimate object in the website. Loyal clients are the clients made to feel as if they are important to you, no matter what their attitude is.

But I’m Just Starting Out

Not all small business owners start out with enough money to hire staff. Most of them do everything themselves, or they bring in the spouse and kids to help. Customer service, therefore, is left to whoever answers the phone first. Not all small business owners start out with defined customer service software, either. That stuff costs money they don’t have yet. There are, though, companies that inexpensively help the new business owner. The business owner needs to decide how s/he wants to approach customer service and customer support.

Phone: When a business owner is the sole operator, phones are not a blessing. They ring with all kinds of problems at the other end, so that the business owner despairs of getting any work done. Unplug it.
Email: Undoubtedly the best invention ever, the small business owner can reply to customer service emails between jobs, after work or whenever one of the kids gets home from school.
Live chat: A much better idea, but it takes someone manning the laptop whenever the ding sounds off that there is someone requiring help. This can be handled between jobs or if one of the kids knows the answer to the problem.
Tickets: This is the most commonly used method of customer service and customer support. The ticket is entered with a time and date stamp, allowing the business owner to get to it in as timely a fashion as he can manage.
The business owner just starting out needs help, undoubtedly. The customer service method s/he chooses should be one that s/he can manage in a timely manner, at the same time remembering that there are people on the other end of that email or ticket, wondering if they’re smart enough to have done the email or the ticket the right way.

But There’s Nothing I Can Do

So many people have heard the “but there’s nothing I can do” answer to their website problem. Here is where you will have the edge over other businesses. Put up instructional videos for your customers to consult first. If the problem is outside the realm of the instructional videos, then a workshop for the not-mainstream problems would be a good idea. Either way, your clients will both have their answers and learn more about their websites, and all because you remembered that these are people with enquiring minds and not just a digital presence.

Learn more about Snappy Customer Support.

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