It is impossible to overstress the importance of online customer service for a business’s success.
In the digital age and modern service economy, the customer is king and is expected to be handled in a friendly and efficient manner. Poor customer service will make your business lose repeat customers and therefore reduce revenue.
Good customer service is built on core tenets of expertise, amiability, and timeliness. Whether you’re operating live chat, email, on-site, social media, interactive voice, or self-service support, customers need their questions answered following these tenets.
Continue reading for more practical answers on improving your online customer service.
- Open Multiple Communication Channels
While not all businesses deal with the same online customer service problems, many are bogged down by the same basic questions. To alleviate wasted time answering each customer in a call or through email, consider developing a company blog, glossary, or FAQ.
Ideally, as businesses grow, they should adopt the following customer service channels:
- Live chat with connected AI chat
- Company blog and glossary
- FAQ and how-to guides
- Email support
- Voice support with Interactive Voice Response (for troubleshooting problems, service requests, ordering, etc.)
- On-site support
- Social media support
Keeping efficiency in mind, consider developing or purchasing an AI chatbot for on-site support.
In simple terms, an AI chatbot is a search engine that collects information. Instead of having a customer wait for an agent—or surfing the internet to solve their problems—a chatbot directs them to on-site articles and stores their conversation for an agent to review later.
Advanced chatbots optimize customer experience (CX) and integrate the aforementioned channels based on the problem’s type and urgency and the customer’s preference.
- Develop Your Team’s Communication Skills
Thanks to modern technology, you can track and record communications as long as you have customer approval. This means you can see deficiencies in communication skills for each of your employees—and your team as a whole.
If customers frequently leave when dealing with a specific problem or an individual employee, you can develop a new approach. Either train all employees on all contingencies related to that scenario or teach a specific employee to be more friendly and aware.
Have quarterly performance reviews for each employee to go over their stats. Most employee-specific issues are simple to deal with, but take time. So be patient.
- Always Get Feedback
Regardless of which communication channel a customer utilizes to get support, always give them the option to leave feedback. Whether that’s through a comment on social media or a survey after a voice call or live chat, the chance for feedback should always be available.
Customers who take the time to give feedback often have specific advice and rarely gripe about the customer service process in totality. Even if they do provide general feedback, it can still be useful.
General feedback, like average wait time (AWT) in a queue and how often a customer is switched between employees or departments, can improve efficiency in the long run.
Also, encourage existing clients and customers to leave business reviews and ratings online. This helps your business and Google Business Profile rank up in search engines.
- Look at Improving Online Customer Service to Scale
Issues with customer service should be handled part by part. Don’t expect enormous positive effects immediately, as purchasing new technology, launching communication channels, and developing employee skills takes time.
If you own a business and want to make changes in the long run, address your problems as soon as possible and create a plan. Track employee efforts and determine employee adherence (the amount of time they spend working) to create a personalized plan for improvement.
Neither a business nor online customer service can be run by one person. So, keep striving forward.