Customer Service — List Relationship Marketing

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Connie Ragen Green — Customer Service — List Relationship Marketing

You will be able to achieve your goals as an entrepreneur much faster by by learning to do this yourself, instead of outsourcing it to others.

I’m not talking about setting up websites, installing complicated membership site software, or even about creating web graphics.

You will achieve your goals much more quickly when you learn how to do your own customer service.

My first year online several people advised me to let others handle this for me, but I had a feeling it would be a good idea to learn how to deal with people and to address their questions and problems head on. These people, experienced online entrepreneurs for whom I have the greatest respect explained to me in great detail how it would not be sustainable to handle my own customer service tickets. They insisted that a ticket system was best, and that maintaining office hours to answer these tickets was the accepted practice in the online world.

The longer they talked about this the stronger I felt about doing much of this myself. So I trained one of the virtual assistants who still works with me how I wanted my customer service to be handled, and instructed her to only help someone if I was unable to do it myself for any reason.

Even now, twelve years later and when my business is at a point I never imagined it could reach I still do most of my own client care. I prefer the term “client care” over customer service because I honestly care about the people I am fortunate enough to be serving every day. And it doesn’t matter if it’s a weekend, holiday, or after “normal” business hours.

Even though I have two people on my team who are assigned this task as part of their regular assignment, I call on them for help less than ten days each year. This is typically when I am traveling or speaking at my own or someone else’s live event. I estimate that I spend an average of one hour a week on this part of my business and it is well worth the satisfaction and results. This has also helped me immensely when it comes to dealing with people, especially when we are many miles apart, sometimes from different cultures, and are communicating through writing instead of on the phone or in person.

Perhaps I’ve helped you in some way since you’ve been a part of my online community, by answering a question or helping you with a log in or password for one of my sites. When I asked my community about this, several people wrote to share their experiences:

Tom W. shared these thoughts with me:
“One of the things — and there are many — I appreciate about you is the fact that you deal with me directly and quickly on support issues (in addition to other non-tech things we discuss)! At first I was astounded at your ability, given your large customer base, to do this. Now I’m “used to it” and can’t abide others’ approach to this key issue! I guess I have become spoiled, in a good way….
Not only is your method more personal, but it is WAY more efficient and effective. Support tickets, endless waits, people who don’t read my messages thoroughly but respond to certain keywords with useless pre-tailored responses….the list goes on. And worst of all, these vendors are basically telling the world that they DON’T want to interact with their customers….this is not a “hidden” message! This is one of the reasons that correspondence from you, among all IM vendors, is the only stuff I allow in my “personal” inbox….the rest goes to “promotional”.
Don’t ever change…”

Jeff had this to say:
“Many years have passed but I still remember being pleasantly surprised when my telephone rang on a Saturday afternoon and it was you following up on a question. That was our first conversation of many.”

And from Ron:
“I think you doing your own customer service creates a sense of relationship that makes you more trustworthy. While I understand why people outsource their customer service, it makes them less human and more commoditized. For sustained relationships over time, I think you’re making the right choice.”

I wanted a global business where I could serve others in a way that would help them to achieve their goals and to change their lives and this is one part of how I do it.

What are your thoughts on this? How do you handle customer service for your own business, whether it’s a brick and mortar or online?

I’m author, publisher, and entrepreneur Connie Ragen Green and would love to connect with you. If you are new to the world of online entrepreneurship please check out my comprehensive training on how to set up Funnels That Click and learn how to gain an unfair advantage when it comes to building a lucrative online business.

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Online marketing strategist, author, speaker, and publisher working with entrepreneurs on six continents.

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