Behind every successful business is a winning customer service strategy. Today’s consumers expect a seamless experience, and in the crowded online market, anything less will see them taking their business elsewhere. Where brick-and-mortar stores have the advantage of face-to-face communication, internet businesses must find other ways to provide great customer service. Here are some crucial tools and strategies for supporting your customers and keeping them happy.
1. Utilize Social Media
Today’s consumer does not pick up the phone; they post on Twitter or Facebook. Whether brands like it or not, social media has become a crucial customer service channel – with queries, comments and complaints on show for all to see. Rather than ignoring this trend, use it to your advantage. Seize the opportunity to show just how seriously you take your customers; assign a dedicated team (or person) to manage your social accounts, and establish a rapid response policy. Social is a great medium for quickly resolving issues whilst simultaneously boosting brand image – win-win!
2. Go Live
Customer service is not just about dealing with complaints. It’s also about helping consumers to find what they are looking for – and where better to provide support than directly through your website? A live chat function provides an efficient, interactive solution – enabling real-time conversation without the need for a phone call. Live chat can be integrated into your online shop or website using either free or subscription-based software; this guide to live chat software gives a detailed overview of the main options available. An instant messaging system is perhaps the next best thing to in-person support and, most importantly, is extremely easy for the customer to use.
3. Be Proactive
Good customer service is proactive, so don’t just wait for the customer to come to you. Simple things like letting them know their order is on its way or that a desired item is now in stock can make a huge difference. Whether you do this via email, push notification or SMS, be sure to keep it short and to-the-point; the aim is to inform rather than promote. Keeping the customer in the loop greatly enhances their experience with your company – a crucial factor for securing repeat business.
4. Think Multichannel
Nothing is more frustrating than a company that is difficult to get hold of. Whatever you do, make yourself available – quickly, easily and through a variety of channels. Different consumers like different things; some prefer email, while others favor a good old-fashioned phone call. It’s in your best interest to cover all bases, so adopt a multichannel approach: be sure to provide a phone number, postal address, online contact form – and anything else you can possibly think of. The easier you are to contact, the quicker you can provide outstanding customer service and ultimately, set yourself apart from the competition.