Great customer service is not just about being pleasant on the phone or warmly welcoming a customer in person. With the Internet, the customer service game has changed dramatically.
But first, why is customer service so important?
• 86% of customers quit doing business because of a bad customer service experience
• 78% of online customers recommend a brand to a friend after a great customer service experience
• 40% of customers say that better interaction with service employees is the key factor in deciding to spend more money with a company
Quality support and service is absolutely crucial to business success. We’re assuming here that your customer service team is helpful, friendly and knows your product or service inside and out. If not, forget the rest of this post for now and come back to it once you’ve dealt with that.
Now let’s look at customer service online and the 10 mistakes you may unknowingly be committing…
1. You’re not shouting your contact information from the rooftops
Some businesses are tempted to bury their contact information on their websites, social or other online profiles. “If I make my phone number hard to find, then no one can bother me” or “if I hide my contact page I won’t have to field as many email requests for help” might be the motivation.
This is not clever, or effective. Showing a willingness to be contacted, with phone numbers, emails and contact buttons sprinkled liberally through out your site, is what engenders customer trust and positive customer experience.
2. You don’t use social media for customer support
Rather than instructing a customer to direct their inquiry to the support team, which equals more work for the customer, get support involved with social media (but before, read our previous article about social media!) . Yes, it might be a bit more work for you (training, having the resources available, etc.) but if you’re on social media, there is the expectation that you will serve customers. It doesn’t matter if you think to yourself that customers should contact the customer service department and not post on Facebook. What matters is how your customers prefer to get in touch with you.
3. Your responses are slow
Customers expect fast responses online. They’re thinking in terms of minutes or hours, not days or weeks.
4. You don’t respond publicly
Thanks to the Internet, customer interactions no longer happen privately behind closed doors. It could be a tweet. A Facebook post. A review on Google+. Either way, the interaction is public and so it makes sense that at least some sort of response or acknowledgement be public.
Think about what it says about your business when there is a question, comment or complaint sitting online without a response. What does that say about your customer care? If you’re going to respond privately, say so, making it clear that you dealt with the query. And if someone has praised your service or product, for gosh sakes say thank you!
5. Your website is completely void of interaction
A whopping 90% of online visitors want a human touch when visiting a website. So how can you provide one?
Live chat tools are a huge boon for businesses, especially those making online sales. Just look at these stats around Click to Chat:
• 77% of chat users report a good experience with the business
• 27% higher purchase likelihood on a site with Live Chat
• And when they spend, they spend 38% more
Interaction tools such as live chat, or click to call if your business revolves around telephone communications, help your website visitors get the assistance they need and fast, right when they are at the point of making a purchase decision. Need we say more?
6. You don’t provide the content your customers need
No matter what type of business you have, your customers are sure to have lots of questions.
Are you constantly being asked about your shipping charges? Or what your return policy is? Think about how you can better bring this info into your online presence.
Ensure that your content has the customer in mind and leverage a blog, FAQ page, video tutorials, and other forms of documentation and web content to address what your customers need and the questions they are asking.
7. You’re lazy about updating your website
As with excellent content, you absolutely must make keeping your website up to date the highest priority. Have your prices changed? Is that promotion over now? Update it. There’s nothing more frustrating for a customer than to find information online, only to find it inaccurate.
8. Your website usability sucks
Is your website easy to navigate? Do your potential customers know immediately what you do? Can they find what they are looking for super fast? A poor user experience on a website = bad customer service.
9. You’re addicted for template responses
Should you have template responses for dealing with customer service? Absolutely! It makes things way more efficient. However, you should still add a touch of personalization to each and every communication when possible. Especially when you are posting online. People will be on to you pretty fast if the response is the same every time and they will definitely not feel valued.
10. You’re wasting your customers’ time
Your customers are busy. They want answers to their questions quickly, as we’ve already touched on. Now think about a business model that revolves around a website visitor making an appointment. If they are at that stage, they are poised to either become a customer if you charge for the appointment, or have very strong potential if the meeting is the first step to them becoming a paid customer. Why would you want to hold up this process?
Which is essentially what you’re doing when you don’t have online scheduling functionality on your site. Rather than seeing the available times, choosing the best one and booking, they first have to call you. Hopefully you’re there to answer. Or they email you. And then you go back and forth a few times to find a time that fits. Everybody is wasting their time. If your competitors don’t offer this, talk about a leg up. If they do, you just might be driving customers into their arms.
What other ways do companies fall short in providing great customer service online? What great service experiences have you had via the web? Share in the comments!