One way or the other, most businesses have an online presence these days. Even if you aren’t an online retailer, your existing and potential customers’ experience with your brand is shaped by their online interactions with your company.
Customer support is a tricky beast to manage, especially when you are unable to continually maintain face-to-face communication. When clients contact customer support directly, this usually already stems from a negative place, resulting from a problem the customer is having with your product or services.
Understanding this already puts your company in a better position to better manage the overall customer experience.
How can you take your company’s customer support to the next level? It is a combination of mindset and services that will set your brand apart. Let’s dive in!
5 Ways to Improve Your Company’s Customer Support
Here are some basic but powerful changes you can implement today to improve the effectiveness of your customer support team.
1. Implement Chatbots
According to one survey from Econsultancy, 83% of online shoppers require support to complete an online purchase. Customers want to be sure the product or service they are purchasing is legitimate and suitable to fulfill their particular needs. Sometimes this is not clear just from the web copy.
Nobody enjoys calling customer service lines to get a single, quick question answered, which means they may give up on a purchase if their purchasing experience fails to go smoothly. Chatbots are a fantastic tool in helping existing and potential customers complete a transaction or resolve an issue.
Think about your offerings and your target audience. Are you able to quickly identify some of the most frequently asked questions? Those are the questions your chatbot could easily answer without your customers having to dig through a FAQ page.
Not only are chatbots a fast way to receive customer support, but they also enable you to provide a service to customers no matter their time zone or schedule. Hiring a 24/7 customer support team is expensive and inefficient.
A chatbot requires no time to sleep or eat, so it can be available around the clock to respond to clients in different demographics.
If a chatbot is unable to answer a customer’s question, the functionality allows that inquiry to be escalated to a live human being. Not only does this benefit the customer, but it also relieves the customer support team of fielding a high volume of calls, providing time to concentrate on the more complex issues.
2. Don’t Ignore Negative Reviews
A survey conducted by Bright Local reported that 82% of consumers read online reviews of a business, and only 43% of them would consider one that had less than 4 stars. In this world, you cannot afford to ignore the online reviews received by your business, especially the negative ones.
Just one bad customer experience can ruin your reputation. This may seem unfair, especially if you feel the review was unwarranted or exaggerated. Unfortunately, that doesn’t matter to a potential consumer.
The best way to minimize the adverse effect of a negative review is to address the issue head-on. One survey reported that 42% of consumers who complained to a company’s social media accounts expected a response within an hour. To revisit point number one, incorporating chatbots into your social media messaging can be beneficial, as it will ensure consumers receive a quick response.
After responding quickly, offer a solution. If you can, address the negative reviewers individually. Then, utilize the negative reviews as a marker of what your company could do better. Are you detecting a common theme in customer complaints?
Make changes to evolve towards a business that meets your customer’s needs and expectations.
3. Personalize the Experience
In this world of one-click buying and two-day free shipping, competing with other companies often feels overwhelming. The best thing you can do to set your business apart from the competition is to personalize the experience.
Ensure that all communication includes the customer’s name so it doesn’t feel too much like a canned response (even if it sometimes is). Customers can easily identify whether the customer service rep is really listening to them or just reading from a script.
Implementing a customer relationship management (CRM) system is a critical step to personalizing customers’ experience. The CRM serves as a central location for customer data and any records of their previous interactions with your support team.
By providing this information to all customer support staff, you will greatly improve an individual’s experience with the company. You can probably recall some of your previous interactions with a company that was lost or forgotten, and the frustration that it caused.
4. Make it Easy for Your Customers to Contact You
The more steps it takes to access customer support, the more frustrated and emotionally charged a customer will be by the time they make contact. Relieve that stress by providing multiple, clear channels of communication for customers.
Establishing email, phone, and chat options enables you to cater to a range of your customers’ personal preferences.
Since increasing numbers of the population prefer chat or other text-based options of contacting a company, it is no longer sufficient to solely have a phone line for customer support. However, even as the preference for chat rises, a portion of your consumer audience will always prefer to reach a live human being, so try not to eliminate the phone line entirely.
Once you have the means of communication established, make them easy to find.
Post all open communication channels on your website (with a clear “Contact Us” tab or link), your social media profiles, and any printed materials your company may use. A prompt on the website will help users find the chat function or your customer support email address.
However, to fully serve your customers, one of the best things you can do is develop a mobile app. According to research, the number of smartphone owners in the U.S. has now surpassed that of laptop owners. Reportedly 77% of Americans owned a smartphone in 2019, compared to the 74% who owned a laptop or desktop computer.
A customized mobile app for your business will help customers reach your support team with just a few taps or clicks. The app will allow you to collect user data and enable you to further personalize the customer’s experience. A few tips for developing the most effective mobile app include:
- Make it cross-platform. It should be able to operate on both iOS and Android systems, at least.
- Utilize cloud-based technology.
- Design an instant option. These load quickly with less commitment from the consumer.
- Low-code development. The app can go to the market more quickly and without complex and expensive programming.
- Security. Nothing can squash a company’s reputation quite like a security breach of sensitive information. Make it a priority to keep your customer’s data protected.
An app is a cost-effective way to upgrade not only your customer support, as well as a great way to improve your clients’ overall experience of your company. Make sure your development and support team has sufficient data about your users so that they can create a seamless and smooth customer experience and promptly respond to the market and tech demands of your industry.
5. Reward Customer Loyalty
To build long-term relationships with clients, your company needs to reward customer loyalty. Celebrate your long-time customers, while also showing new ones what they can expect from a long-term relationship with your company.
A few ways to reward customer loyalty include:
- Customer loyalty rewards program. The program could be points or time-based. Use it to provide discounts, freebies, or other exclusive offers to reward loyalty.
- Public recognition of loyal customers. Social media provides a fantastic platform to give credit to your loyal customers.
- Exclusive offers. For example, you could offer your long-time buyers early access to a new product (prior to launch).
All of these programs will help you nurture your relationship with existing customers, making them feel appreciated and thus more likely to continue doing business with you and referring you to other potential customers in their circle.
Your existing and potential customers’ perception of your business will depend on your online reputation. Even a single poorly handled negative review can snowball, causing irreparable damage.
That is why it is important to have an effective customer support service to help you manage your relationships with clients. The tips above will help you set your brand apart by assisting customers in addressing any issues that may occur and confirming the reliability of your business.
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