The Most Important Customer Service Happens Before the Purchase

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You already know that excellent customer service is an essential part of keeping your business ahead of the competition. But you may not realize that customer service is more than just answering questions when customers ask. Stellar customer service happens when you answer your customers’ questions and objections before they ask.

The most critical area of customer service is education. If your product is expensive or technically complicated, a lack of concrete information can intimidate customers — or worse, drive them to a competitor that has the information they need.

Easy-to-follow information, combined with appropriate calls to action, can lead to a wider audience and an improved reputation, which means more sales. People will look to you as a leader within your industry and as a high-quality source of information.

Informing and Investing in Your Customers

Sometimes the success of your product hinges on customer knowledge. You have all the information anyone could need about your product or service, but your customers don’t. Here are a few ways to educate your customers so they feel like the experts.

• The knowledge base: This is a cornerstone of any good consumer-facing website. Create a forum for frequently asked questions, and combine it with an accessible way for customers to receive answers. You’ll have a practical database where people can find solutions.

The more questions answered on your forum, the easier it is for new customers to find everything they need to know. Of course, this information must be easily accessible for customers to reap the benefits.

• Accurate search: While it’s important to have a website that customers can navigate easily, it’s equally important to have a way for customers to cut through all that information to instantly find what they need. Make sure your search box is prominently displayed, and use it yourself so you know it’s turning up relevant results. No matter how much useful information you have on your site, it becomes irrelevant if your customers can’t find it.

• The blog: A company blog is the best place to publish new guides and suggestions for the practical application of your product. Create blog categories dedicated to specific uses so they’re easily indexed and found by the user. The online store MR PORTER has a blog that is both attractive and informative.

• Webinars: To educate customers and convince undecided buyers in a more interactive way, set up a monthly webinar where people can watch demonstrations and have their questions answered live. For this to be successful, you need a strong email marketing strategy to invite people to view the webinars. This can be a great way to educate your customers and put a face to your brand, making your company more human and personal.

• A virtual designer: For companies whose products are used mostly offline, an interactive interface is useful to show how products work in the real world. Warby Parker has an excellent virtual try-on feature that shows potential customers how a pair of glasses would look on them. This can help convince people to buy something online that they may only have purchased in brick-and-mortar stores before.

By educating your consumers, you’re simultaneously convincing them to buy and easing their anxieties about purchasing your product. Best of all, your customers will feel empowered by their informed decision, which only helps promote repeat purchases.

You know everything about what you sell, but that information is worthless if you don’t share it with the world. It’s time to show your potential customers what they’ve been missing.

Evrim Oralkan
Evrim Oralkan is the founder and CEO of Travertine Mart, a boutique online flooring company specializing in premium-grade travertine pavers, tiles, and pool coping. Until Travertine Mart's founding in 2007, travertine could only be found in brick-and-mortar shops. Travertine Mart has provided a cost-effective solution that brings high-quality travertine straight to your door. Travertine Mart was named to the Inc. 5000 list in 2012 and 2013 and was a nominee for the 2013 Edison Award.

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