Philip Harper (2006) states, "These days, it's all about customer delight" (ÃÂ¶ 1). Customer service with online and virtual communication must go beyond satisfying the customer. A personalized, effective approach to customer service is broken into three steps of identifying the customer, learning about the customer, and serving the customer. To maintain a continuous online relationship, several tactics are necessary (Harper, 2006).
The goal of online service is to offer customers information quickly and easily without using the telephone. Online customers require an answer anytime during the day or night. By offering good customer service online, a company can reduce operating costs in the areas of telephone support staff and printing and mailing costs associated with brochures and mailings.
According to Microsoft's Small Business Center (2006), a business should "give them online service with a smile" (ÃÂ¶ 1). Accomplishing online service with a smile embraces six ways, which are frequently asked questions (FAQ), information and updates, policies, order tracking, order histories, and contact information.
A business can help customers help themselves if they use these six techniques (Microsoft, 2006).
The FAQ section is a necessity for any online presence. To be valuable, the FAQ section needs to address questions that customers are asking. This area should not be for cross-selling products. A business needs to adhere to questions and answer clearly (Microsoft, 2006).
An information and updates section should be available. This section should include information such as assembly instructions, product manuals, forms, and how-to instructions. Software companies post product updates and downloads regularly to their websites. Time and money can be saved this way, and customers can access the information easily. Since many customers change addresses frequently, mailings are not reliable (Microsoft, 2006).
Policies should be clearly listed on the website. If a business sells products, shipping and return...