Serving the Customer During the Sale
Serving the customer during the buying process is just common sense. You want to remove as many sales objections as you can to allow the shopper to make a buying decision, so you have to think ahead. Two of the best ways to make a customer comfortable with a purchase at the point of sale are to provide real-time stock status and shipping time information.
If a customer knows the stock status of a product and when it will ship, you'll eliminate many of your customer service problems. Amazon.com does a very good job of informing potential customers of what products are in stock and within what time frame they'll ship.
Keep in mind that what you promise you must deliver. If a product ordered by a customer is not in stock, or if shipping of the item will be delayed, be sure to contact the customer immediately and inform him or her of when the product will be shipped.
Sometimes stock status and shipping time estimates are not enough. There are times at the point of purchase when the customer needs additional information to make the sale. This is where live customer care becomes important.
You can offer free live customer support using ICQ, Yahoo! Messenger, or AOL Instant Messenger services. Shoppers can download the free desktop application and communicate with you real-time if they have a question.
A number of new technologies enable you to place customer support right on your web site that customers click to get in touch with a real live human by phone or by online chat. Services such as LivePerson offer a pop-up chat box that allows instant customer contact with a real person.