I was filled with the fire of righteous indignation. “How DARE they charge me for a Starz Network subscription?” I said to my computer screen. “I never signed up for that!”
Even though I somehow justify $200-400 worth of purchases from Amazon each month, when I spotted a $9.95 charge for digital services that I didn’t recognize, I got into my mental robes and pulpit.
“Thou shall not cheat me,” I silently ranted. “For I have the power of the Amex card and shall dispute thy charge and deny thee payment.” (I recommend using “thy,” “thou” and “thee” when you’re feeling righteous indignation — it adds a biblical quality to your rants.)
I searched Amazon for a quick way to resolve this. I was directed to the FAQ section, but that didn’t help me get the charge removed. The one bit of information I could not find easily was the phone number. Finally, I Googled it, found the number and called.
Within nine minutes, my problem was resolved. I was surprised the customer service staffer apologized and quickly removed the charge for what was actually my mistake — agreeing to a one-week free trial and not cancelling in time.
Amazon treated me great, however, if it had given me a hard time. I would have found alternatives for at least part of my shopping. But Amazon knows the secret: Helping customers increases sales. It’s marketing 101.
Other businesses know the advantages of helping also. Go into an Auto Zone. You won’t get 20 feet before someone asks, “Welcome to Auto Zone. Is there anything I can help you find?”
I asked an Auto Zone staffer how many customers accept their help. “At least 75%.” said the man behind the counter. Why offer help to everyone? Multiple studies have shown that many customers leave when they could not find products that are actually in the store. Also staff interaction often increases the size of the sale.
Susan Ward, a business writer for The Balance Small Business website, and a business owner herself, says, “The most common customer service situation is a customer or client seeking help — so it’s extremely important to get this interaction right. Properly done, a customer seeking help will not only feel that she or he has been treated well but will be more favorably disposed towards buying products and/or services from your business.”
Not every business has a retail location however and many products are sold through third parties online. So what happens if the customer buys your product and then has problems assembling or using it? They can call you during business hours but maybe they are assembling your product at 730p.m..
The best solution for many manufacturers is video. “How to” videos on your website or YouTube, or both, can be a huge help to that DIYer fixing plumbing, that backyard mechanic working on a car or even that office worker assembling a stand-up desk.
YouTube claims it’s the world’s second largest search engine and it’s easy to see why. Solutions in the form of “how to” videos make your life so much easier, you are surprised when a product doesn’t have a video.
In conclusion, my brothers and sisters, follow the advice of the righteous: “Get thee better customer service and help thou customers — and soon, thy sales shall multiply.” Amen to that.