Authors Need to Provide Exceptional Customer Service

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Photo by Silicon Prairie News, Flickr

Whether you want to believe it or not, writing is a business. It’s a lot of fun but you should always remember that you need to make a profit in order to stay in the writing business. What do all successful businesses have in common? Exceptional customer service. Great customer service creates happy and loyal customers. Make them happy and they’ll keep coming back for more of your books. These sales generate profits. Treat your customers badly and you’ll ultimately go out of business.

Here are some ways to provide exceptional customer service as an author:

  • Use social media, e.g. Facebook and Twitter, to communicate with current and potential customers. Be polite, always. Don’t talk to them; talk with them. Engage in a conversation. That means replying to comments and tweets. Don’t post and disappear.
  • I know I’ve said before that replying to negative reviews isn’t a good idea, but there are always exceptions. Take Gary Vaynerchuk’s approach, for instance: Respond to negative reviews (on Amazon.com, for example) with an apology and offer to refund. I know this may sound radical, but you’d be surprised how much respect you will earn. Read this. WARNING: Never respond negatively to a negative review. 
  • Throw in a bookmark or some complimentary item with every book sold at your website. Sign the book and also the bookmark. Include a short note with your email address. Sign the note as well. Ask the customer to get in touch with you after they’re done reading. Let them know you’d love to hear from them. This is all about going above and beyond and winning customers for life.
  • Respond to your fan mail! When your readers email you, make sure to respond. This type of personal customer service will gain you many repeat “customers!” I’ve never understood authors who decide to use autoresponders or ignore fan mail. If someone took the time to send you a personal email, you should take the time to provide a personal response.
  • Book signings are perfect opportunities to display your exceptional customer service. You should always show up on time (early, actually, to help with setup). Authors who show up late to their signings are disrespecting their customers. You should make solid eye contact with each person who approaches your table. Also offer a hand shake. Finally, thank every single person for stopping by and supporting you!

J.J. Hebert, the author of this article, is the #1 Amazon bestselling author of Unconventional and Weepy the Dragon. He has personally helped thousands of writers nationwide, through consultations and publishing services, and regularly blogs on writing and self-publishing. He is also the president and owner of MindStir Media, a leading self-publishing company that offers services such as mentoring from a bestselling author, book design, illustration, editing, printing, ebook conversion, distribution and marketing.