Posted: Tue 10th Jan 2012
It's a bird! It's a plane! No, it's a"¦ small business? Be a business hero and leap to the rescue of customers and clients, with three ways to offer help and support on your small business website. Here are our resident geek San Sharma's recommendations.
Formspring has cleverly put the "me" in online form building with a sister-site that's closer to Facebook and Twitter than its .com big brother. Formspring.me is a single-serving social network that allows you to send and receive anonymous questions and learn more about people you find interesting by following their answers. Like Twitter, it starts with a simple premise: "Ask me anything." You invite people to do just that and what you end up with is a stream of answers and questions that lets customers find out more about you and your service. Since you can choose which questions you want to answer, you can tailor this ongoing interview to be completely self-serving - ideal for the freelance consultant, for example. You can even ask yourself questions, since it is anonymous. And you can do all of this whilst offering help and support. Formspring.me integrates neatly with Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Blogger, as well with your own website, via an embeddable widget.
Perhaps more suited to small businesses with products or widely-used services is "People-Powered Customer Service" tool, Get Satisfaction. If you've needed help with web 2.0 services, like Twitter, you may have come across it at some point. What it does is give your customers a place to talk about your product or service, a way to support one another and ask you for help. Problems can be solved, features requested and relationships managed. It's not free though. You can try it out for free, but plans start at $19 a month. If you think you can justify that, get Get Satisfaction. It's really quite cool!
It won't cost you a penny, but using Twitter for customer services is a really effective way of getting help out there quickly and with a personal note. Just look at what BT are doing with @BTCare. Encourage your customers to file support tickets on Twitter and they won't miss being on hold and you won't miss the call.
What do you think?
How do you provide customer services in your small business? Do you have a phone number for it? Do you handle queries via e-mail? Or do you use Twitter? Let us know in the comments below. Photo credit: Amaury