Improve Online Customer Service
Proactive and reactive responses across all channels keep customers coming back.
You know that you can distinguish your company with superior customer service. Of course, these days, attentive service must go beyond phone support to include website and social media responses. In fact, 90% of consumers now expect businesses to offer a self-service customer support portal, according to 2015 Microsoft® research. The same research also found that 60% of consumers view brands more favorably if their self-service offering works on mobile devices. Step up your online customer service game with these strategies:
- Make it easy. Sure, many consumers still pick up the phone, but a growing number prefer to start online or with social media. In response to one humorous question on the 2015 Aspect Consumer Experience Survey, one-third of millennials said they would rather clean a toilet than talk to a customer service agent. To accommodate all generations, set up a customer support page on your website with communication channels that include email, telephone and social media.
- Answer questions before they’re asked. Answering frequently asked questions (FAQs) on a dedicated page or with instructional videos can solve a customer’s problem immediately, saving them time and you money.
- Respond immediately. A waiting customer can easily become a former customer. Monitor and respond within each channel — social, email, phone, chat, etc., and empower employees to provide a solution fast. In the case of email or social media, it may even be possible to resolve an issue before responding. That way your first response assures the disgruntled customer that a solution is in the works — a refund has been granted, a replacement item is in the mail, or some other appropriate fix is under way.
- Monitor and improve your processes. Whether you respond to customers by phone, in person or online, capture each interaction — not only to make sure that issues get resolved, but also to streamline and improve your service. Consider using a cloud-based customer support system, such as Zendesk® or Freshdesk®, to track support tickets and gain insight into your program’s efficacy.
In the social media age, you have more opportunities than ever before to keep customers happy and doing business with you — and just as many opportunities for them to make it known if you don’t. With the right mix of channels providing responsive customer service, you can avoid contributing to the estimated $41 billion lost by U.S. companies annually due to poor customer service. A transparent, multichannel approach can help you retain customers and earn new ones.
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“2015 Global State of Multichannel Customer Service,” Microsoft, retrieved from http://www.parature.com/13-customer-service-statistics/; once registered, access report here: http://paratureprod.blob.core.windows.net/wp-uploads/Global-State-of-Multichannel-Customer-Service-Report.pdf
“Report: Poor customer service pushes consumers away,” BizReport, April 6, 2015 http://linkis.com/www.bizreport.com/20/Otfk0; Aspect Consumer Experience Survey http://www.aspect.com/globalassets/hidden-files/aspect-consumer-experience-index-wp
“The Multibillion Dollar Cost of Poor Customer Service,” (Press release) New Voice Media, 2013 http://www.newvoicemedia.com/en-us/news/corporate/the-multibillion-dollar-cost-of-poor-customer-service
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