How to improve your online customer service
Last modified: 2018/08/09 | Approximate reading time 5 mins
You’ve likely come across the common saying “the customer is always right” and it’s difficult to deny the truth that lies in this statement. Customer service is the golden ticket to making headway with your business, but with the rapid pace of technology, the customer's wants and needs are consistently changing.
For the most part, the customer is looking for an effortless experience, one that doesn’t involve working too hard to get what they want. As a business, how can you provide that? Well, we’re here to offer some tips on improving your customer service.
Here’s how to improve your online customer service!
1- Focus first on a concrete customer experience strategy
If you’re running a clear-headed business, then you know how large a role the customer experience plays. A company who puts the customer experience first is going to outrank one who doesn’t consider how to make the lives of customers easier. In many cases, a good customer experience can completely outweigh price and product.
Start by asking yourself what your clients require by way of support, and consider ways that you can go above and beyond to be available for them. This can come down to restructuring your website so that important information is made more readily accessible. This can include your FAQ page, pricing and product information, shipping details and so forth. Another great feature to think about using is a live chat function built into your website allowing for customers to get an immediate response for questions they might have. As mentioned, it’s unlikely that the customer will want to work for anything. Having a way for them to get answers to pressing questions instantly should convince them to stay on your website longer.
Another option is making a phone number or email address readily available so that customers can reach out with additional needs or inquiries. Many businesses still focus their attention on email support methods over leaving their phone number. However, if you know your customer base is small and mostly local or you have a support staff to field calls, it would be worth your while to leave room for phone calls.
Allowing the customer to take the lead in regards to how they navigate, buy products and interact with your website might at first seem like a hindrance. In fact, this belief would be incorrect. In general, if customers are looking to solve a problem, learn a new skill and so forth, they’ll turn to online search engines. With that in mind, most users don’t find forums or web service portals easy to use. From a marketing standpoint, your FAQ pages and customer forums might be heavily focused on the bigger picture whereas the user will be looking to get the most useful information in the quickest time possible.
What this means is that more focus should be given to offering the customer the tools to take on significant roles themselves. Start with a support portal on your website that is both easy to find and navigate. Bear in mind that not every customer knows exactly what they’re looking for, so try and get as deeply inside the customer's head when considering the questions they might ask as well as answers that will come across in the most helpful way. Use colloquial language over-formal language,
Another great way to explore the self-service user experience is to create how-to videos that clearly outline the functions of your products, site navigation tips or any other information that might be useful. Another area of attention should be problem-focused product guides that adopt regularly used language.
3- AI as a support system
As most business owners know, AI and bots are becoming widely used in online marketing services as well as a stand-in for employing a multitude of customers. Although AI can be used for a variety of things, it’s important to note that in some cases, it cannot stand in for organic interactions. So, when should AI be employed? For the most basic question and requests, you could employ a bot.
In other instances, AI can be used to support employees fielding real-time questions. This generally means that when an employee or agent is in conversation with a customer, AI can work by identifying the customer as well as pulling all relevant files which pertain to their previous interactions or history with your company.
Conveying empathy through text is very important when it comes to dealing with customers and this is a skill that AI lacks. Another great trait to employ when chatting online with customers is matching their tone. For example, when a person is using professional language, it’s important that you mimic this rather than speaking casually. With this in mind, it is helpful to think about ways where AI can work in tandem with humans instead of independently.
4- Timely responses and resolutions
With the integration of technology into all aspects of our daily lives, it’s made most people acutely aware of how long things take. Most customers won’t stick around more than 3 seconds to wait for a webpage to load, never mind waiting an excessive amount of time for one of your agents to respond to a question or issue they might be having.
The longer it takes for you to respond to your customer, the more time they have to investigate the options presented by your competitors. For this reason, it is paramount that you find ways to make sure your response time to questions and issues is quick and efficient. Start by collecting metrics on how long your customer waits for an initial reply. Next, what is the average resolution time for an issue? If you find these wait times are lacking, then it’s necessary to create concrete ways to improve and optimize them.
5- Employee approach and product knowledge
If you already have an online support team in place, then it’s important for you to encourage your team to be as customer-focused as possible. Even if they’re not dealing with clients face to face, you’ll want them to engage with both potential and returning clients in an informed, comfortable and direct way.
Your support staff should have solid product and service knowledge with the ability to be flexible. Of course, it’s not necessary for your employees to have all of the answers. Draw up a detailed procedure that deals with most situations so that all of your staff reacts in a consistent fashion and so that all customers are treated well and equal.
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