[MUSIC PLAYING] I work for Help Scout. We create excellent customer service tools, including a really great help desk. But here's the truth, you might not need the help desk at all or at least not yet. Because no matter which tool you use, it's not going to create great service for you. It can best support you to make that happen. And if you jumped too quickly into picking tools and systems, you might end up with something that's not suited to you, and it's your customers who will suffer.
So if you're on a tight budget or you don't know what you're going to use, there's plenty of free and low cost options that can work really well. So would you have helped us set up, you're using email account or you using an elaborate system of smoke signals. It's time to think through your strategy and your approach before you get out the big checklist of features I need. Because the basic requirements, they are pretty simple. You need at least one way for people to contact you and a system for replying to them.
If you've got those, you can deliver excellent service. For e-commerce, start with email. It's free. It's open. Your customers understand it. There's tons of tools available. Email also scales really well. A single person can reply to a bunch of emails much more effectively than they can to live chat or phone support. So he your low budget customer service tool kit, a Gmail account, free.
Create a support account. Keep the emails separate from your personal staff and your general business stuff, your away. Gmail has got great spam filtering. You can use labels and rules to sort all those messages. It will be totally fine for quite a while, especially if you've only got a small team. A contact form also free. Chances are, the Shopify theme or your website's already got one built-in, you just need to point it to that support email address.
And if not, there's lots of free contact form options. Later in the course, we'll talk about how to make that form more effective. A knowledge base-- very early in your customer service experience, you'll discover you're answering the same questions over and over. If you start saving those common answers into a knowledge base, you can start referring customers over their first. Can start with a basic page on your website, or there's plenty of free knowledge base things that will give you enough structure and control to get started.
Whatever you choose, keep that knowledge base in a new tab on your browser. Whenever you write a good answer to a customer, paste it in is a draft over in your knowledge base. And then come back later, tied it up. And a customer community, pretty much free. Can you give your customers some way to talk to each other about your products, about how they use them. If that makes sense, get started with a Slack account or some online forum software, and let your customers help each other.
Social media-- you should totally own Twitter and Facebook accounts under your business name. Even if you don't want to use them to offer support yet, you can update the profiles, and direct people to where you can support them. And that's about it. With that small handful of tools, you can create fantastic customer service. And it's probably going to be quite a while before you outgrow them. And by then, you'll have a much better sense of the kind of support you want to offer, and you can make a more strategic choice of tools.
So let's recap. For e-commerce, customer services an opportunity to really stand out. By investing in support, you can turn that first purchase into a long term customer, or even a fan who will promote you to their friends and family. But you need to decide what great service means for you, but it should be timely, accurate, and human. And the good news is, it doesn't have to cost you much more than your time.
You can get started today with free tools. Next up, we're going to talk about ramping up customer service, hiring someone to help with support, and picking the tools and the systems that can grow with you. [MUSIC PLAYING]