Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Why Customer Service Matters..(even for eCommerce)

At takas.lk we recently did a customer survey to figure out what we have been doing right and what we have been doing wrong. Bill Gates once said: “Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.” As a start-up we firmly believe in what he said. From the word go,we at takas.lk have strived to provide our customers with three core services. Firstly, great customer service, secondly convenience and thirdly choice. According to our customers’ responses it seems that we have done well in all three areas, and our customers have responded very positively to these three priorities. What they have now asked us to do is to provide them with better pricing, and this is exactly what we intend on doing in the future. I wish to share with you some of the positives from our survey, and lessons learned.

Our survey comprised of 10 questions aimed at evaluating customer satisfaction.

In regards to the question of ‘How happy are you with takas.lk?’ 70% of the respondents said that they were either extremely happy or very happy and none of the respondents stated that they were not happy.

In regards to the question of ‘How convenient is our website to use?’ 82.5% of the respondents stated that the site is extremely or very convenient to use. In regards to the question of ‘How responsive is our service team to your needs?’ 81% of those who responded stated that the takas.lk team was either extremely responsive or very responsive to their needs.

Needless to say we were very heartened by what we heard back from our customers.

We attribute our current success to doing a few things right in regards to servicing our customers, and here are some of the practices that may help you build up your business.

11.)    Be honest- never try to make a sale, but try to win a customer. We are at times under extreme pressure to hit targets/make sales and are at times forced to bend the truth. Try to avoid doing this, be honest with your customers. Once a customer can trust you they will keep coming back to you for more business. You break that trust you may lose the customer forever.
22.)    Never make promises you can’t keep- sometimes a customer will call and ask if we can deliver the goods on the same day. While it’s tempting to say yes in order to make a sale, we are always honest about the time frame that they can expect a product delivered. This helps build trust between the customer and yourself and you avoid disappointments.
33.)    Always listen to the customer and deal with their complaints- my father always says:“The customer is the king/queen. So treat the customer as such. They can be our greatest source of learning.”
44.)    Take that extra step- smile on the phone when you talk to a customer, even though they can never see your face they will always know. When making deliveries be friendly and helpful.
55.)    Finally TRUST your customer! There are always a few bad apples in the world, but this doesn’t mean everyone is out to get you. So don’t make business decisions on the few who can cause you some harm on the expense of the many good people out there. For instance, takas.lk was the first to introduce Cash on Delivery (COD) in SL. Most of the eCommerce companies in SL thought it was too ‘risky’. We chose to trust our customer’s right form the onset and they have not disappointed us. And everyone else followed us after.

I wanted to write this piece on from the human angle of business since lately much of the conversation revolves around the technological aspects. At the end of the day we are providing services to people, the human angle should always be kept in mind.

The writer is the CEO of takas.lk and holds a BA from the University of Maryland, and a Masters from the University of Queensland, Australia.