Amazing online customer service is essential to the success of your brand. Social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter have changed how brands interact with their customers. When a brand has an interactive social media presence, it feels relatable and more like a person rather than a soulless, inanimate entity.
This also means that your brand’s reputation is much more vulnerable as social media makes it easy for customers to speak their minds. When customers have a negative experience, they are likely to post about it on social media, especially if they felt that their concerns were inadequately handled or completely unresolved. Someone with a lot of followers could make a post about a mishap with your brand which could not only result in financial losses but reputational harm as well. All the more reason to ensure that your brand’s online customer service is always on-point. Fortunately, there are many ways to develop an efficient customer service team with effective policies. Here are seven ways to provide excellent online customer service every time:
1. Personalize the online customer service experience. Automatic responses may be convenient, but they come across as uncaring and cold. Generic messages that are sent to everyone who reaches out do not convey the importance of customer needs. Correspondence must reflect that the interactions with customers are valued and taken seriously.
One of the ways you can do this is by personalizing the customer service experience. To start, make sure that the customer service team addresses customers by their name. This sets a positive tone from the very beginning as it infers that your brand cares and notices personal details. Another way to add personalization is to implement a loyalty program where customers can earn points for the purchases they make that can be used towards discounts or free products and services. If you have a newsletter, ask customers for their birthday so when they sign up, a coupon for a discount or free product or service will be sent to them during their birth month. Customers love these programs and they have been proven to create repeat sales.
2. Use casual language across all platforms and interactions. One of the reasons why Instagram influencers are so popular is because they feel like real, everyday people. It is easier for customers to imagine themselves with the product or service if they see someone who looks similar to themselves talking about it. The casualness of the influencer is what makes them feel trustworthy to customers.
This same effect can be had if casual language is used by your brand’s customer service team. Casual language makes interactions feel genuine. This translates into trust from the customers as they won’t feel hesitant to reach out and engage with your brand. Encourage your customer service team to use casual language while interacting with customers, whether it is through live chat, email, text, phone, or social media. Your team must be approachable because you want customers to feel that they can trust your brand with their problems. Trust is essential to brand loyalty and this should be kept in mind at all times when delivering customer service.
3. Engage across multiple social media platforms.
Social media can be a useful tool for online customer service, which is why your brand needs a presence across multiple platforms. This way, customers can easily get in touch and interact with your brand in the ways they prefer. You should stay up to date with the latest in social media technology so that you can quickly establish your brand’s presence when new social media platforms arise.
Public interactions between your brand and customers on social media can showcase your brand’s online customer service. The online customer service team should respond quickly to comments and questions posted, as this shows potential customers the quality of service and interactions they can expect to have with your brand. The way your brand is perceived handling problems is an advertisement in itself.
Reward customers when they follow your social media accounts or write a review. Post discount codes and sales exclusive to social media followers. Contests are another way to engage with customers and reward them for their loyalty, as well as to encourage followers.
4. Incentivize customers to send feedback.
When it comes to obtaining customer feedback, incentivization is key. Generally, customers love the opportunity to speak their minds, but they are more likely to do it if you give them a reason. This also makes the customers feel appreciated and rewarded for their input.
One of the easiest ways to do this is with a follow-up email after every purchase that contains a link to a survey with a reward to be granted upon completion. This reward can be a coupon, free item or service, or sweepstakes entry. Keep the questionnaire short as this should not feel like a laborious task. About four to six multiple-choice questions and an opportunity for open-ended feedback is generally a safe format.
Make sure that every customer who submits feedback receives a response addressing what they said. This makes customers feel heard, respected, and trusted. Even when they have a bad experience, a genuine response of concern might be the reason why they give your brand another chance.
5. Make sure your brand’s website functions smoothly.
A website full of errors and broken links comes across as careless and lazy. Frustrating user experiences will chase off customers as well as your profits. This is also a symptom of poor customer service, as usability is a major part of the online customer experience.
Investing in a professional web developer will make it certain that your website is running properly. If a problem comes up, be sure to address it quickly. An easy-to-use website with quick and uncomplicated processes means that customers are more likely to spend money on your brand’s products and services.
Also, consider the accessibility of your website for people with disabilities. Those with hearing impairments need subtitles, so this option must be available on all posted video content. Use image tags on all photos and graphics so that people who use screen readers for visual impairments can also access your site. Work with a professional web designer to ensure that your brand’s website is accessible to everyone.
6. Provide accurate and detailed descriptions of products and services.
Customers do not like it when the product or service they purchased did not live up to their expectations. No one wants to deal with the time required trying to get a refund. One of the ways you can provide good online customer service is to make sure that all product and service descriptions are as detailed as possible.
Reducing the rate of returns means a reduction of the workload on your customer service team. By giving customers adequate and highly detailed information, they can make the best consumer choices to bring themselves the most satisfaction. Keep in mind that the best customer service is a smooth transaction without any problems in the first place.
You can also encourage customers to leave reviews and rate products or services. Allow customers to upload photos, videos, and speak using their own words so that future customers can better imagine themselves using the product or service. Additionally, these reviews can make customers feel more trust in your brand as it shows confidence in the brand’s perception and quality.
7. Make it easy for customers to get in touch.
It should not be a hassle to get in contact with the customer service team of your brand. This is why you need to have more than one way for customers to get in touch. Aside from social media, other avenues of contact are phone, email, and live chat. Having many options available across multiple time zones allows customers to reach out in a way that is easiest for them.
Try to offer 24/7 support whenever possible. If this is not feasible, you can accomplish this with a self-service help database that allows customers to look up answers to their questions. You can even let customers submit questions that can be answered by other customers, as long as your customer service team can oversee these answers.
Multiple means of support make your brand look trustworthy and professional. The live chat options should involve speaking to a person and not a bot. When customers have problems, they want to be assured that they will be solved and taken seriously, not that they are going to get the runaround.
Now that you know how to provide excellent online customer service, your brand is sure to stand out from the rest. While most may see the product or service as the brand’s star-player, the customer service team does very important “behind the scenes” work. Not only will these tips improve the interactions and trust customers have with your brand, they will also lead to profit increases and future successes.
If you have any questions, our team would be more than happy to help. Call us today at (484) 893-4055.