Customer service ensures that your customers questions and issues are solved in a prompt and timely manner. Customers have more channels than ever to express negative experiences or to ask questions. Although the issue may not be directly related to your business, you will be the one that gets blamed. This means your business has to manage each of these channels, securing your brand by building customer relationships. When customers don’t get a response when they leave a negative review, they feel that their comment is justified and thousands of potential customers see that as bad customer service. Every moment a customer interacts with your business, think about how your customer service will be perceived.
The 10 essentials to success with online customer service
1. Respond to reviews quickly
When a customer takes time to write out a review, it’s a queue to your business to respond in a timely manner. Why? Not only does this build a relationship with customers, but also more than 88% of shoppers use reviews to make purchase decisions. This means that how you respond to reviews directly correlates with the likelihood of potential customers to buy from you. All reviews should be acknowledged, whether good or bad. The only exception being a star-only rating, with no comment, which commonly occur on Facebook and Google.
2. Provide a consistent experience
Depending on your business type, customers may interact with multiple people before or after the final transaction. All of these interactions need to provide a consistently positive experience.
For instance, why do you think people are so obsessed with Apple products? From their in store interactions, to the sleek and clean website design, to the user-friendly products, people know what to expect because it’s always consistent.
3. Understand your customer journey
How many clicks away is your customers desired action on any given platform? Go through your buyers process with seemliness in mind. Look through your content, sign up and login in, find and chat with your bot, etc. Note any rough patches along the way and make the necessary changes to ensure ease of use.
4. Engage in social media
Perhaps the most enjoyable factor for customers and businesses alike is that there is equal opportunity for either to have conversations through social media. Make sure to be present where your business is being mentioned, swooping in to provide value and direct customers in the right direction. Use your social channels to share useful content, share promotional info, excite customers with contests and ask customer-centric questions. But remember, don’t just talk, listen. Learn the ways that your customers like to be engaged with on different channels.
5. Make a high performing website
In our increasingly tech savvy culture, people expect to get to what they need quickly and easily. Load time factors into customers decisions, with nearly 50% of them expected a load time of less than 2 seconds. What happens if the page takes longer to load, they have already clicked back to find another site. The abandonment rate for viewers waiting to load video is equally as high. No one else but your business will be blamed if the customer is kept waiting. More on understanding and optimizing website speed here.
6. Open communication and transparency
Consumers aren’t fooled by sales pitches. They know when you’re trying to sell them on something immediately and that’s why it’s better to be up front about what your offering. Keep in mind that consumers have short attention spans, that will cut you out if you beat around the bush. Keep it short and to the point, only providing the information needed for the customer to take an action.
When you inevitably run into a problem that you can’t solve, customers will appreciate honesty and be less likely to turn away from your business. Customers will sense authenticity when you are being open and honest.
7. Get your listings right
If you’ve read any of our blogs, you’re probably annoyed by how many times we bring up listings. In the digital landscape, providing this basic information to a customer is a must. If your business fails at this, you will loose potential customers without even knowing it.
The easiest way to do this is to sync your listing information with the four major data aggregators which distribute listing data across the web. Set it and forget it, just make sure that it’s accurate and up to date at all times.
8. It’s all about positivity
An optimistic approach to situation that could otherwise be interpreted as negative, could have a huge impact on your customers attitude toward your business. Take these to options for example:
- Option one: It looks like we don’t have that product available this month. I’m sorry.
- Option two: That product will be available next week! Our team is working hard to add a few features that will be really helpful.
Abrupt, unconcerned language can be off-putting to a buyer ready to hand over their hard earn money, even when it’s not “rude”. Spread a culture of positive thinking through your company and customer relationships!
9. Use email effectively
If someone trusts you with their email, don’t abuse that right. Send well thought out communications that are focused on what your customer wants to get out it, not what you want out of it. Make valuable call to actions that above anything else, provide value.
An automated newsletter is okay so long as it’s not a ‘do not reply email’. Emails are a two-way street that customers should be able to reach you with if they have further questions.
10. The heart of customer service
Everyone wants the “best” product, at the “best” price. But what they don’t communicate that they really want is authenticity. A brand that consistently delivers what it promises and anticipates customer needs. Win the hearts of your customer with genuine customer service!