It takes more than algorithms to make it as a Shopify entrepreneur. Here’s 3 tips you can use to improve your customer service and increase your bottom-line in any business.
As a Shopify entrepreneur, I spend a fair amount of time trolling around in the “guru space”. One thing I’ve noticed is that none of these so-called experts bother with one of the most fundamental aspects of business: customer service.
I am actually considered something of a “guru” myself. The folks at StartupCamp like to call me a “Shopify wizard.” I’m not sure what that means, but I’m a gamer so I kind of dig it.
The truth is, I’m not different from you or anyone else. I’m not a genius. I never even went to college. I just had the right mindset when I attacked Shopify: serious determination and no fear of failure. Which was great, because I failed a bunch in the beginning.
I failed and failed, until I finally nailed it: the formula for making huge, consistent profits on Shopify. Since then, I’ve launched 11 very profitable Shopify businesses and made over $4 million. And I can tell you from personal experience that one of the things that sets my businesses apart is my focus on customer service.
Why is this so important? The first thing you have to understand is that when I’m talking about “customer service”, what I’m really talking about is customer retention.
Side note: If your interested in becoming a Shopify entrepreneur yourself, check out my free live class on the 3 steps you need to get started.
Increasing the Lifetime Value of Your Customers
Customer service is all about keeping customers satisfied. That means answering their questions, offering advice, and fixing their problems. But that extra work you or your team puts in translates directly into profits thanks to customer retention.
It’s not rocket science: if customers have a good experience with your company and develop a positive relationship with your brand, they’ll come back for more.
A lot of short-term thinking put out there in guru-space ends up cheapening a customer’s experience and eroding trust in the company. You make 5-10% more on Sale #1, but never convert Sale #2.
You know what sale I’m invested in? Sale #5. That’s when you know you’re maximizing the lifetime value of each customer.
This kind of thinking is especially important for Shopify entrepreneurs (or any other entrepreneurs in the eCommerce space) who rely heavily on online advertisements. If you have a slick ads strategy (which I do, and you will, too, if you come to my free class) then your cost per conversion is going to be very nearly optimized.
In that case, the only way to increase your revenue is to increase the value of each conversion.
The moral of the story is: customers who like you, buy more.
So how do we make that happen?
Here are three simple things you can do to improve your customer service increase the lifetime value of your customers:
3 Tips to Improve Customer Service (and Increase Profits)
1. Implement a hard-and-fast “Customer is always right” policy
This seems like a no-brainer, but it’s actually a lot harder than it sounds. I once had a customer threaten to sue me because their $11 purchase (which was shipping from China) was two days late.
Seriously, they were talking about taking me to small claims court.
Now, if I’m being honest, part of me—for a variety of reasons—wanted to fire an email back that said, “Bring it on.”
But I didn’t, because I knew that golden rule of customer service: the customer is always right.
Also, “I’ll see you in small claims court!” does not have the coolest ring to it.
So what did I do about this highly unreasonable, threatening demand?
I comped their shipping charge and gave them a hefty coupon towards their next purchase.
Much of the hard work of customer service has to deal with stuffing our own egos away. As an entrepreneur, that can be hard since we often take our business so personally. If you have the resources, hiring an employee to deal with this aspect can be a great move.
Oh, so what became of coupon-guy?
They used that coupon and bought again. This time, a more expensive product. I turned their negative experience into a positive one, and those positive feelings turn into more profits. This is exactly why customer service matters.
There’s another big lesson to be learned here: Coupons are your friend.
That could almost stand in for this whole point. When in doubt, throw a coupon at ‘em.
Just don’t fall into the trap of expecting to make extra money because your shipping is slow ;). That actually brings me to my next point…
2. Don’t skimp out on shipping times
“You can increase your margins if you rely on slower shipping rates” is a classic piece of guru advice that absolutely comes back to bite you.
Do you remember the last time you ordered something you wanted, and you had to wait longer than you expected? I’m sure you worried that your order was lost in the mail, or that the company forgot to ship it. Maybe you even missed an occasion to use it (say, wear that new shirt to a party).
That’s a pretty surefire way to piss someone off.
We live in a culture of instant gratification. If your customer buys something, they expect to have it. If they have to wait, the joy of receiving it is tainted by that frustration. Even if they are satisfied with the product, they won’t want to purchase from you again because the experience was bleh.
On the flipside, if you get them the product quickly, they’ll add excitement and gratitude to whatever joy your product brings them. Then you can strike while the iron is hot and hit them with a follow-up email recommending another product.
You know what free or expedited shipping means? It means repeat customers.
3. Don’t spam your email list (Content is your friend)
One of the best ways to increase customer retention, repeat purchases, and the lifetime value of a customer is to put them on an email list. People won’t buy more from you if they don’t have a reason. You can very easily give them a reason by occasionally sending out friendly reminders about sales, new products, their purchase history, etc.
People usually get this part of the equation pretty quickly. The problem is when they take it too far.
No one wants to get spammed. Especially not by the Shopify site where they bought their shoes.
But you want so badly to keep that lead warm! Argh! If only there was a to let people know about your products without totally annoying them.
There is. It’s called Content. Let me explain by point of example:
What are you doing right now?
You’re not reading a sales email. Your reading a helpful article. Right?
But, news flash—the reason I’m writing this is because eventually, down the line, I’m hoping to bring people to my free class on starting a Shopify store.
Maybe not to you. But someone reading this. Maybe even your friend.
(PS. You really should tell your friend about my free class. But I digress!)
Content newsletters are the perfect way to engage your customers. Use them as a way to provide value: be helpful, useful, inspirational, or entertaining. And, at the end of the day, every email can be a sales email.
If your audience gets real value from your emails, they’ll be more likely to trust your company and your products. But that shouldn’t be the whole of it. Hopefully, your writing your emails for the same reason you’re selling your products or services: because you want to make someone’s life better.
Advice not just for Shopify entrepreneurs
I’m a Shopify entrepreneur, and that’s how I think and speak. I’m always talking about how you can make an ultra-profitable business on the platform.
But make no mistake—all the advice I just shared with you above can be readily applied to any business. eCommerce or brick-and-mortar, retail or service.
Like I mentioned above, I hope you have found this article useful, because I am genuinely invested in helping others succeed. And if you are interested in Shopify, do yourself a favor and check out my free class.
I won’t waste any of your time here except to say that Shopify is the best platform for new entrepreneurs. There’s virtually no startup costs, you can build and scale easily, and it can all be automated.
For all those reasons, it’s actually the best platform for any entrepreneur, new or experienced.
Was this article helpful? Was there any other customer service tips you wanted to see here, or customer horror stories you’d like to share? Let me know in the comments below!