The Dos and Don’ts of Customer Service When Selling Online

customer service tips

Is your business a customer service ‘do’ or a ‘don’t’?

When you’re running a business, your customer service skills can make or break you.

This is especially true since all it takes is one customer leaving a terrible review to make other people hesitant about buying from you. So, it’s absolutely critical for you to make customer service a huge priority.

Don’t put the business you’ve worked so hard to create at risk – check out these handy customer service tips to keep your customers coming back for more!

Dos and Don’ts: Shop Policies

  • Do: Make your shop policies clear.
  • Don’t: Leave customers guessing as to what is and isn’t allowed.

When you’re selling products online, your customers are bound to have issues with you from time to time. The good news is that a lot of these issues can be diminished or even resolved if you take the time to create shop policies and make them clearly visible to your buyers.

The trick is to always think ahead. Ask yourself what could go wrong. Think about what customer disputes are likely to happen. Then, build your shop policies around those key points. That way, when an issue arises, you’re covered – your rules are clearly listed in your shop.

This leaves little to no room for confusion – your customers will know the rules for purchasing from you.

Dos and Dont’s: Customer Issues 

  • Do: Resolve customer issues as quickly and kindly as you can.
  • Don’t: Ignore negative reviews or customer concerns.

I’ve seen companies get in major trouble with their customers by ignoring bad reviews/comments. One business I used to follow on Instagram even developed a nasty habit of deleting all negative customer comments. They still do it, but now they get called out on it all of the time, and they’ve even got a growing group of haters who spread the word about how awful the company is.

Ouch. Can you imagine the blow that their poor customer service has dealt to the image of their business? There’s no doubt in my mind that it has affected their sales too.

While it may seem like a good idea to keep negative comments invisible to prospective buyers, it looks better to actually address a disgruntled customer’s issue and resolve it quickly. By doing so, you show that you’ve got integrity and are willing to go out of your way to keep your customers happy.

Dos and Don’ts: Speaking With Your Customers

  • Do: Use positive language when talking to your customers.
  • Don’t: Use negative phrases like “I can’t” or “I won’t.”

Instead of using words like “can’t” or “won’t,” try to find new ways to state something negative/unpleasant. Here’s an example of what you should/shouldn’t say to a customer:

Don’t say: “No. I can’t do that.”

Do say: “While that conflicts with my shop policy, I’d certainly like to help however I can. Let’s come up with a solution that works for both of us.”

Did you notice how the second one sounds a lot nicer and makes you seem like you actually care? Your customers will notice too, and they’ll become more likely to want to buy from you in the future.

Dos and Don’ts: Trustworthiness

  • Do: Only make promises that you can keep.
  • Don’t: Lose your customers’ trust by disappointing them.

If you assure your customer that they will receive their product on or before June 30, then you need to make sure you can deliver on that promise. Otherwise, they’ll become understandably irritated, and they might even leave a bad review.

If you aren’t absolutely sure about something, then don’t make any promises. People don’t want to buy from people who can’t be trusted, so make sure your customers can rely on your word.

Dos and Don’ts: Keeping Customers Happy

A little bit of extra care can go a long way when it comes to your customers. Make sure you’re doing something special for them to show your appreciation. Not only will this keep them shopping – it’ll set you apart from your competition!

For example, if you’re selling soaps, you could include a small handwritten note with each soap telling them to enjoy their bath. You could even include a small sample of one of your other products, like a different soap or some bath salts, with your note.

Either way, make the note friendly and personal – address your customer by their name and be sure to express how thankful you are for their business.

Customer service can be tough sometimes, but it’s not rocket science. If you find yourself struggling with a customer issue, simply remember to treat that person the way that you would want to be treated.

What customer service tips have worked for you in the past?

About the Author

Jorden Roper

Jorden Roper is the founder of Cutthroat Copy, a copywriting team that specializes in helping IT/Tech companies reach their goals with strategic content marketing. Follow her on Twitter for marketing tips and more!


  1. says

    Some great guides on ways to keep customers coming. Customer service is everything! If people have a bad experience with that, no matter how much they like your product, they probably won’t be coming back. Thanks for sharing this.

  2. says

    It’s funny you use a soaper as your example. That is what I do and I ALWAYS include a chicken scratch, er, handwritten note thanking them for their order. I also include a couple bookmarks for some of my husband’s novels (cross promotion, yay) and if the order is over $10 I include a lip balm or a sample size bar of another scent. Customer service is, IMO, one of the most important parts of a business. Anyone can go to shows and sell things, but especially online, customer service is what will get you repeat business and great reviews will give prospective buyers confidence to shop with you. Thanks for your awesome article.

    • Jorden Roper says

      Sounds like you’re really going the extra mile to add a personal touch to every order – that’s awesome! And yes, I completely agree that excellent customer service is often what will cause a customer to consistently choose you over your competitors, especially when you’re selling products online. Thanks so much for reading!

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