Communicating to customers online

When customers contact a business they expect a high standard of customer service, which means responding to their inquiries within a reasonable amount of time.

Many companies that participated in an Angie’s List Business Center poll think it is acceptable to respond to customers’ inquiries within one or two business days, but the majority of service providers registered on Angie’s List agree that a more appropriate response time is within a couple of hours of initial contact.

What was once reserved for the phone lines, customer service is now expected online as well.

Customers can reach out to you via email and social media at any time of the day, even weekends. Providing quick and open communication is one of the many keys to keeping customers happy and maintaining their loyalty. An easy way to do this is by utilizing the Angie’s List Message Center.

Message Center streamlines customer communication by maintaining all conversations in one place and providing notifications, to both you and the customer, when there are any new messages.

When communicating with customers online, keep in mind these few tips:

  1. Be timely—You might have a busy schedule, but your customers are waiting to hear back. As soon as you have a break in your day, take the time to check messages and respond or allocate this task to an office manager.
  2. Don’t be general—Make sure all responses are genuine and that they don’t sound scripted or computer generated. Take the time to write a well-thought response that acknowledges the original request.
  3. Be professional—Keep the tone of the message professional and brief. Thank your customers for their message and let them know you are ready to help.

If customers are not happy with the level of customer service they are receiving, chances are they might start searching for a new service provider. Remember to check Message Center and other online communication tools on a regular basis to provide the level of customer service they are expecting.

Results of poll of 3,364 service providers from Aug. 2013.