7 Effective Ways to Improve Your Online Customer Service

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Great customer service is paramount for every customer-facing business. Online customer service can be challenging because of the lack of face-to-face interaction, but the fundamentals remain the same. You need to keep your customers happy by delivering a consistently excellent service experience.

96% of customers report that they’ll leave a company for better customer service. Even if you have a great quality product, you won’t be able to capture the market share you deserve if your team doesn’t provide a service worthy of retaining your customers and developing a loyal customer base

Doing business online involves interacting with customers across multiple touchpoints. This can complicate the customer support process, but it also has its advantages, allowing you to seek customer feedback

There are also many valuable tools at your disposal that you can use to build a strong customer service strategy.

Here are seven of the most effective tactics you can employ to improve your online customer support and keep customers coming back:

1. Take an Omnichannel Support Approach

An omnichannel support approach involves engagement with customers across a vast range of touchpoints. True omnichannel support is more than simply communicating with customers on every channel. You must provide consistent service across communication channels that allow one conversation to start where the other ends, no matter what channel a customer or agent is on.

Your organization should be able to meet customers on a variety of channels to enable a seamless support experience. An omnichannel support experience provides agents with context about all of the customer’s previous interactions with your business across all touchpoints. If you’re able to do this, it will ensure customers won’t have to repeat themselves leading to potential dissatisfaction.

2. Focus on Your Team’s Customer Service Skills

Empower your support agents with the right skills to play their part in the customer journey. You need to promote a customer-first culture and reflect this in your customer service team’s training – an effective strategy in reducing churn rate

Poor customer service skills can be a hindrance to your business. Conversely, excellent customer support can be the competitive edge your business needs. When asked to describe the most important attribute of exceptional customer support, 65% of people said that it was simply being treated like a valued customer. 

If you want to retain customers, these are the skills your customer support team needs:

  • Empathy – The ability to put themselves in the customer’s shoes and understand their concerns.
  • Knowledge – They need to be extremely knowledgeable about your product.
  • Communication skills – Customer support personnel must be able to communicate clearly and put customers at ease.  
  • Etiquette – Being polite and courteous can make a vast difference in how a customer complaint works out.·   Ability to listen – Active listing is a skill that helps you identify what the real issue is.

3. Ensure Customers Give Feedback

Asking for feedback and acting upon it must be ingrained in your customer support standard operating procedures. Negative reviews should help you to develop your customer support strategy, affording you an in-depth understanding of weaknesses and how to make up for them. Feedback can also be used as social proof to boost your brand’s credibility.

Receiving feedback and making the right changes is a continuous process that benefits both your business and your customers. It shouldn’t be limited to improving your offering but also the entire customer journey as a whole.  

Ask for feedback through short surveys and questions at different points in the customer journey. For example, you could email your customers to ask for feedback or use pop-up surveys on your website. Social media platforms like YouTube and Instagram also natively allow you to survey your subscribers and followers. Make sure to reward your agents when there’s positive feedback about them providing an exceptional support experience.

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4. Enable Knowledge Sharing

Customers get in touch with support teams for many reasons, not just with problems and complaints. They could contact you if they want a product recommendation, a solution to a technical issue, or need some direction on how to use your products. If you allow customers to exchange ideas with each other online, you can save your customer support team some valuable time.  

Creating an online forum for customers to ask questions and receive answers helps you publicly document fixes for common problems. It also helps more experienced customers share their knowledge and builds an online community of brand loyalists.

Knowledge sharing on a public platform among customers or even prospective customers is a creative and mutually beneficial solution.

5. Have an FAQ Page on Your Website

An FAQ page is a critical element of your brand’s website and self-service tools. Your customers will come here first when they have any concerns. If resolutions to their problems aren’t available on your FAQ pages, they can then initiate contact via phone, email, SMS or live chat. FAQs pages enable a form of customer self-service, empowering prospects to find solutions that have already been documented. Recent research shows that 88% of consumers expect brands to now offer at least one self-service option and FAQ pages are a great place to start.

Ensure that your FAQs page answers fundamental and common questions, addressing topics like delivery options and return terms and conditions. It’s also wise to organize your FAQ page by categories so customers can locate their relevant questions quickly.

6. Use Chatbots

Chatbots are another self-service tool that can help you scale your customer support efforts. In fact, omnichannel chatbots have been developed to resolve issues, answer common questions, and help with purchasing decisions on your website and social media pages. Chatbots can help you 24/7, compared to your human customer support team that needs to eventually turn in for the night.

Chatbots are an integral part of the future of CX because they are able to provide support both in real-time and at scale. When you want to deliver assistance to many customers at once and you simply don’t have the human resources to do so, chatbots can be a lifesaver. They provide instant help which offers the chance to increase conversion rates by engaging online visitors, elevate the customer experience, and reduce your website bounce rate

Chatbots can solve simple problems quickly and also help reduce support tickets and traffic on your phone lines. You should ensure production tests are carried out before you roll out your chatbots for your customers to optimize the user experience. AI uses historical data to train the chatbot to answer common questions, but it needs intensive testing before you start using it to engage customers.

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7. Invest in a CRM System

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems should be used alongside call center solutions to centralize all your interactions with your customers. From prospect to lead to customer and, lastly, brand ambassador, your CRM will document the entire journey and help you nurture your customer relationships.

CRM software connects customer service with sales and marketing. It also helps maximize productivity by connecting with other essential tools you use to interact with customers like cloud VoIP solutions, email, social media and more.

Another major advantage of CRM is that it gives visibility to the entire team to see the status of every customer. This makes it easier for anyone from the team to help the customer and allows the team to exchange information seamlessly.

Ready to Delight Your Customers?

The seven techniques listed above can help you deliver prompt online customer support while reducing friction between the stages of the customer journey. Boost your customer satisfaction by providing consistently stellar online support and focus on the human connection to strengthen your relationships with them. The customer might not always be right, but it costs nothing to make them feel important. Research indicates customer satisfaction leads to a better bottom line, so focus on your customers and improve your ROI.

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Author:

John Allen – Director, SEO, 8×8

John Allen is the Director of SEO for 8×8, a leading communication and providing the best VoIP service for home, with its integrated contact center, voice, video, and chat functionality. John is a marketing professional with over 14 years experience in the field, and an extensive background in building and optimizing digital marketing programs across SEM, SEO, and a myriad of services.

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