How to Answer Customer Questions

customer serviceOne of my businesses is to run custom flash mobs. Like most businesses, I get a wide array of customer questions. Some questions are repetitive. Others don’t rub me the right way. Yet more make me wish people spent more time on grammar in school. Whatever the case, there is always a right way and a wrong way to handle customer questions, and here are some simple steps on how to answer customer questions.

 

Make an Online FAQ

Most questions you get are questions that have been asked again, and again, and again. I created a very visible FAQ page on my site, and that reduced email volume dramatically. From that point on, the majority of emails were requests for quotes from serious customers.

On the occasion that I do get something asked from the FAQ, I may still write a personalized answer or copy and paste from the FAQ. I always end with a short, “for other answers to frequently asked questions, be sure to check out our FAQ” or something similar.

Here is a link to the basic FAQ I wrote for the company. If you mouse over the drop-down box for FAQ at the top, you can see more common topics people asked about.

 

Create a “What We Do” Document

The majority of people who email for a quote (we only do personalized services, there is no “cookie cutter” option, I always reply with a thanks for contacting, a quote or request for more information, and a one page PDF file that explains the basics of our process and offering.

Some businesses like to put that information on a public website, but to keep the mystery of the flash mobs and build better customer engagement, I found that this approach is best.

They always get a few personalized sentences in addition to the standardized file.

 

Create Email Response Templates

No matter how much I would love to spend hours crafting clever and unique emails back to every single inquiry I receive, I can’t. There are not enough hours in the day and it does not have a very good ROI.

Instead, I wrote about a half dozen canned responses to very, very common questions, like those in the FAQ or from other customers. Here’s a video on how to set it up in Gmail.

 

Always Be Polite

Remember, customer service is important to success. No matter how anyone treats you, you don’t want to be the butt of jokes on Yelp.

We all know that the customer is not always right. But we also know that the customer is your boss when you are an entrepreneur. You can’t succeed without them. Rather than burn bridges, do everything you can to make them happy.

 

Always Be Thorough and Clear

When responding, remember that they asked because they don’t know. Don’t be patronizing or treat them like an idiot, but make sure to give a very clear and detailed response. Don’t leave any room for you to look stupid or like you don’t care.

Being clear, detailed, and concise (don’t use jargon!) is appreciated by customers, employees, vendors, and business partners. It is a good habit to employ in your day-to-day business communications.

 

Remember, They Asked Because You are the Expert

You are the best at what you do. You are the expert. You might have done it a thousand times, but the customer came to you because you are the best at what you do and they don’t know how to do it themselves. Always remember that and treat your customers with respect 100% of the time.

About Eric Rosenberg

Eric is a finance blogger at Narrow Bridge Finance and a serial entrepreneur. He runs a media company, flash mob company, and DJ business from his hometown in Denver, Colorado. You can read more about his finance background and connect with him around the web.

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