Whether you’re a person who owns a big company or a small business; or just a budding entrepreneur, you know that online customer service is just as important as marketing since most consumers have evolved to do everything online.
The availability of powerful smartphones has even made it possible for customers to complete purchases and inquiries anywhere and when it is convenient for them. While many customers may try to resolve issues on their own, you shouldn’t miss having customer support online.
Here are five ways to improve your online customer support:
1. Determine the support your customers need
No matter what kind of business you have, you need to take the time to research what your customer needs. Knowing their needs will allow you to have better communication and a higher probability of resolving their issues. It’s crucial in effective online customer service because recognizing their concerns and being able to provide a solution that hits the bull’s eye is a lot better than just taking a shot in the dark.
Maybe you’ve learned new skills on webmarket-123, or you’re a digital marketer; or someone with an e-commerce site. Customers of each one will have different needs. Ask some questions like:
- What are the common issues my customers have?
- What is the urgency of most issues?
- How can I reduce customer re-contacts to the support line and reduce their effort?
2. Provide multiple contact options
Providing multiple contact options ensures that you’re available to cater to your customers’ needs in every way possible. It’s a significant step to take not only for effective online customer service, but in influencing their overall user experience with your business. There are now various ways on how you can maximize customer service, especially when you’re an e-commerce site. Here are some ideas:
- Phone number – You can put in your business phone number where customers can simply ring for their queries or issues. The limitation is when your customer isn’t from another geographical location, and this might be expensive.
- Email option or ‘Contact Us’ forms – Some customers like to communicate through emails, especially when their concerns involve following steps or more complex solutions. Consider a form that is easy to find, without the need for the customer to scroll through a lot of things. However, a drawback seen with this is the response time from the company.
- Live chat on your e-commerce site – Live chat support channels are becoming popular because they get a response quicker than emails without the pressure to be staying on their phone the whole time like when calling up. Instead, a live chat can be inserted in between other tasks they might be doing.
- Social media platforms – With the rise of social media, it’s best to have a social media support team to cater to the needs of customers or potential buyers on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. When you have a Facebook business page or business Instagram profile, respond not only to direct messages but check on comments as well. This goes for Twitter too, where it’s best you respond to mentions or replies.
3. Enhance your FAQs or Help pages
FAQs and Help pages are the first things your customers will look for when they have concerns.
They usually initiate contact when they can’t find an answer themselves, or if the answers they get aren’t clear enough. These pages are important for customer self-service options to reduce the effort of reaching for further help. High customer effort usually leads to dissatisfied customer service, even if the representative he or she got was your best.
Here are ways to enhance these pages:
- Provide an FAQs page that answers to their needs, especially when you notice that the reason for contact are repeated questions.
- Offer self-service Help pages for several topics. For example, how they can return an item, how to claim warranty, etc.
4. Strengthen your team’s customer service skills
Your customer service representatives can make or break your business. Even if you have the best products in your industry, the lack of customer service skills can hinder your business growth. Where competition is stiff for almost every kind of service or goods, having a superior customer service can influence a customer’s loyalty compared to your rival’s. Here are qualities and skills you should continue to develop in your customer service team:
- Knowledgeable – In the end, customers will rely on your expertise with your product. Make sure your team members are credible and up-to-date with everything customers might want to know.
- Empathetic, adaptable and patient – Your customers will be a mix of different kinds of personalities. Regardless of how they feel because of the situation and how chatty or irate they are, you and your team must know how to handle each one of them without bias and always with excellent service.
- Communicates clearly – Communicating clearly isn’t merely being proficient in the language you use. It goes deeper into the ability to listen actively to the customer, to be able to comprehend what exactly he or she needs, and present the solution in ways that meet the needs of that particular customer.
5. Provide ways for customers to give feedback
Feedback is a way to continually gauge if the online customer service you’re providing is beyond customers’ expectations, at par with standards, or poor. This is a crucial way to determine which areas to maintain or to improve on. You can gather feedback through the following:
- Sending out surveys to customers after they contact customer support. Remember to create a survey that gathers the data you would want to see, and a portion for freeform text can allow them to express their experience more clearly.
- Provide invitations for product reviews or business recommendations. Along with star ratings, it’s also best to provide a box for freeform text.
Once you receive negative feedback, learn from it. Take steps to improve that area and don’t hesitate to give feedback or recognition to your customer service team.
As buying habits and preferences change, customers can evolve too. They will have communication preferences and different expectations. Remember to look into these emerging trends, adapt, and develop as needed. By making sure you have stellar online customer support, you will drive increase customer happiness that will ultimately lead to an increase in sales.