4 Tips for Dealing with Customer Service Online

Providing excellent customer service is crucial for any business, but dealing with customer complaints over the internet can be challenging. When responding to customer complaints via email, chat rooms, or other online venues, keep these tips in mind.

  Be honest. Online anonymity makes it easier for customers to dispense with social graces that would temper otherwise polite behavior. So be straightforward and transparent. If your company made a mistake, say so. If you don't know the answer to a customer's question, say you'll research the issue and get back to them.

  Ask questions. Gain a comprehensive understanding of a customer's issue before responding. Identify the basic problem and provide an opportunity to vent. Showing that you're actively listening can defuse emotions and help you get to the root of the problem.

  Be polite. It's easy for email responses to be misinterpreted, so take care with your words. Use the customer's name and end messages on a positive note.

  Follow through. Deliver what you promise. If the item was defective, make it right. If the customer wants a discount and it fits within your policy to provide it, don't hesitate.

Online or off, proactive customer service keeps your customers happy – and your company in business.