I know that the goal of the 4 hour work week was to show how you can spend as little possible time as a business and still have it run smoothly. I can certainly run my ebiz1 with virtually no customer interaction.
But I truly believe that customer service and human interaction is what customers are looking for these days. The customers that order online probably don’t want to talk to a person anyway. That’s why they order online. But the people who call, they definitely want the warm fuzzies of a live person.
I have been answering so many phone calls this Christmas season and the callers really appreciate just getting a live person on the phone instead of a bunch of number prompts. They all tell me that they feel more comfortable ordering over the phone versus the internet. It’s ironic that as they place the order over the phone I am typing their information onto my website. A phone order is processed exactly the same as an internet order.
Another thing that customers like is that someone is reviewing their orders and they are not automatically processed, boxed and shipped. Sometimes I can clearly see a error in an order. In those cases, I will send an email or call to confirm that the order is correct. If it was automated, the order would have been sent and the customer would have received it and been disappointed. Then I have to process an exchange and it’s just more work later on.
Sometimes a customer will order something that is out of stock. Instead of just telling them an item is out of stock, I would suggest alternatives. This is a much better email than just saying sorry and giving them the option to cancel or wait.
All these things help you build your store’s reputation. You never know how many people that one customer will tell about your store. But more importantly, you should provide customer service because you want your customer’s to be happy. If you do that consistently, I really believe that the sales will keep coming.