How to Provide the Best Online Customer Service
Thursday 22nd September 2022
by Beth Perrin
How to Provide the Best Online Customer Service
Thursday 22nd September 2022
Now that you’ve mastered our Beginner’s Guide to Social Media Customer Service and laid the foundations for your brand’s customer care strategy, it’s time to delve into some top tips and extra considerations to help improve your standard of support even further. Whether you want to elevate your social media responses, assist shoppers in real-time with Live Chat or handle your online reviews more effectively, keep reading to find out how to provide the best customer service.
Offer Self-Service Options
It goes without saying that you and your team should always be there to help your customers, but it’s still a good idea to offer a range of self-service options that they can try first. In fact, 67% of people like to use self-service facilities when they have a query about a product. This allows them to resolve issues quickly and easily without needing to request additional assistance, and can be achieved by adding an FAQ section to your website or posting how-to videos and troubleshooting content on your social media pages. Users are actually three times more likely to watch a YouTube tutorial than reading a product’s instructions!
Personalise Every Interaction
Offering personalisation is one of the best ways to make your customer service stand out from the crowd. 71% of consumers are frustrated by impersonal shopping experiences and 84% agree that they’re more likely to buy from brands that treat them like a person, not a number - so tailoring your responses to their individual needs can really turn occasional shoppers into loyal customers.
Unless it’s not displayed on the platform you’re using, you should use the customer’s name when greeting them, and be sure to type out a fresh response each time instead of copying and pasting a generic, templated answer. Consider signing off each message with your own name or initials to humanise your brand too.
Always check your previous messaging history with a customer before replying, especially when dealing with an ongoing conversation that another member of your team may have handled prior to you. This will prevent the customer from having to repeat information they’ve already shared, which can be frustrating and time-consuming.
Use The Right Platforms
As explained in our Beginner’s Guide to Social Media Customer Service, the first step you should take before launching your customer care strategy is to carry out a comprehensive audit of your social channels. This is necessary to identify which platforms require the most attention. For example, there’s not much point in setting up a dedicated customer service account on Twitter if you’re only receiving a couple of messages per month on this platform, while on the other hand, you shouldn’t be neglecting Facebook if this is where the majority of your enquiries are coming through.
You should also keep an eye on any new and emerging platforms that you may not have taken into consideration when conducting your initial audit, as these may grow to become popular customer service channels for your brand or industry.
Respond to Reviews
It’s important to remember that the customer journey doesn’t end at the checkout - interacting with your audience after they’ve made a purchase or visited your location is essential for growing brand love too. This can be done by responding to the reviews your business receives online, both on social media platforms like Facebook and on dedicated review sites such as Trustpilot, Google and Tripadvisor.
As mentioned above, you should personalise your review responses by using the person’s name (if possible), and addressing the specific aspects raised in their feedback. If it’s positive, show your gratitude by thanking them for their kind words, and gently encourage them to buy from you again in the future.
If it’s negative, make sure to apologise first and foremost, before taking steps to put things right. If your business has an additional feedback form where the customer can share further information about their experience, send them a link and let them know that you’d like to find out more in order to help them. Alternatively, provide them with contact details of a manager or another key member of your team who will be able to assist. 95% of dissatisfied customers will actually return to a company if the issue they raised in their review gets resolved quickly and efficiently.
In some cases, it can even be appropriate to give unhappy customers a voucher, discount code or free gift as an act of consolation.
Add a Live Chat Plugin to Your Website
Depending on the nature of your business, implementing Live Chat on your website can boost your level of customer service. A Live Chat feature will give you and your customers an almost instant method of communication, and can be an excellent option for handling product questions and directing shoppers to the right pages. In fact, 51% of consumers are more likely to stay with or buy again from a company if they offer live support.
More than half of cart abandonments happen as a result of customers not being able to find quick answers to their questions, which it’s why it’s imperative that you’re available to chat to shoppers before they become frustrated and decide to give up on their purchases. Live Chat is also a fantastic way to personalise the shopping experience, as it enables you to suggest items that directly suit customers’ needs or even give them access to exclusive product bundles and discounts.
Don’t Use Chatbots
One of our biggest tips when it comes to customer service is to steer clear of chatbots! Sending automated messages and leaving your support strategy in the hands of AI can result in inaccurate responses, a lack of personalisation and wrong answers being given, due to its inability to fully understand human language. Plus, with 86% of consumers preferring to interact with a real person instead of a bot, it’s clear to see how customers feel about them. Learn more about the disadvantages of chatbots in this blog post.
Provide Community Management
When you’re not resolving specific requests and complaints, don’t forget to engage in general conversations with your customers too. Interacting with your audience and responding to comments on social media is known as Community Management, which is a perfect accompaniment to customer service and is a great way to increase brand love. Chatting with your fans and followers will humanise your business and show its fun side, ultimately strengthening customer relationships and making your brand seem more approachable.
As well as replying to comments where you’ve been tagged directly, remember to carry out Social Listening to find and respond to additional untagged mentions that you may have missed otherwise.
Reward Loyal Customers
While customer acquisition should of course be a priority for your business, retaining and rewarding your existing ones is also vital. Take advantage of Facebook’s Top Fans feature to identify and praise your brand’s biggest social media supporters, perhaps by adding them into an exclusive private group to show them that you genuinely care about their dedication. Consider creating a loyalty program which can include exciting bonuses such as discounts, free gifts and early access to new product collections. After implementing a loyalty scheme, the average order quantity of a business can rise by as much as 319%, and customers who become a member of it will spend 12-18% more each year!
Use Sentiment Analysis to Your Advantage
While sentiment analysis is most commonly used to find out how people are feeling about your products and services, it can also be beneficial for gathering opinions about your standard of customer support. If the majority of your incoming negative comments mention customer service specifically, it’s a clear indication that something is wrong and you need to re-think your strategy.
To monitor the sentiment of your Live Chat, you can include a customer satisfaction (CSAT) survey at the end of each conversation. This can simply involve a few quick questions about how happy the user is with the service they received, a clickable star rating or even just a thumbs up/thumbs down system. Many Live Chat software providers offer a post-chat form tool (such as this one from LiveChat) so you can easily add a prefabricated survey or customise it with your own fields. Just make sure to check your survey results on a regular basis to see how well you’re doing and if there are any areas in need of improvement.
We hope these tips and considerations will help you improve your brand’s customer support strategy. Which ones are you planning to implement? Tweet us @3sixfivepro to let us know, or to share any more useful ideas you’ve already benefited from. Don’t forget our expert team can provide around-the-clock Social Media Customer Service on behalf of your business if you don’t have enough time or internal resources.
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