How to use Technology to Provide Exceptional Online Customer Service
By: Corporate Training Options, Australia
10 Ways you can use Technology to improve your online Customer Service Interactions.
These days, most organisations need to provide online customer service. Let’s use the airlines as an example. I can’t remember the last time I spoke to a real person at an airline. That’s because I can search online for the flights I want, for the days and times that suit me. Then I can book and pay for my flights online, in one simple transaction.
That’s providing great online customer service, delivered when I need it.
It’s the same with ordering flowers, booking concert tickets, buying shoes or ordering home delivered pizza. I can find what I need online, order and pay for it, then have it delivered to my door, within a few minutes, hours or days – depending on the item.
So in a world where transactions take place automatically, how does customer service fit in? It needs to be provided online, because customers demand fast answers to their questions and fast access to support.
Your online customer service can be provided via email, your social media accounts or your website. Your customers need to be able to find answers quickly, in order to complete their online transactions.
Corporate Training Options can deliver a course for you on Customer Service in the Information Age, which is ideal for all staff who deal with customers online.
Many of the customer service skills required for the information age are the same as they have always been, so here’s some tips on delivering great online customer service for your customers, in the information age.
In the world of Internet Customer Service, it’s important to remember your competitor is only one mouse click away.
~ Doug Warner
Review Your Customer Service Skills
Basic customer service skills such as communication, active listening and fast response times are still as relevant as ever. Customers should always be made to feel valued, heard and understood. Be sure that you and your staff are trained in customer service fundamentals and that your systems and procedures are documented and reviewed regularly.
Use Web Based Support Systems
Your web site needs to be customer focused. And ensure that it is mobile friendly.
Try this tool on your site right now, to check your score on how quickly your site loads on mobile phones. Fast load times are essential for customers who require fast answers.
You could also have a support form available which your customers can use to contact you and explain their issue.
Ideally, have an online chat function. Information for your customers should be available in a way that is easy to use and understand.
Complement Software with Human Interaction
Although a lot of business and customer interaction is now done online, it’s important for your clients to be able to get in touch with a real person when they need to.
An angry customer can be soothed and then assisted, when a customer service representative really listens to them and shows compassion. Having someone who really relates to customers if and when it is needed, will always result in more harmonious interactions and a better customer retention rate.
Always include contact details on your website. A customer support email address is important. Your address and phone contact details should also be listed.
Be real to your customers. Keep your website and social media pages current, with regular updates, posts, blogs and videos. Your customers will feel more confident in your business knowing that they can deal with a real person if and when they need to.
Let Customers know that you Appreciate their Business
Your customers should know that they are not just another sale to you. Respect their time, try to keep wait times down to a minimum, get back to them quickly and really treat them as a valued part of the organisation.
A customer is the most important visitor on our premises.
He is not dependent on us, we are dependent on him.
He is not an interruption to our work, he is the purpose of it.
He is not an outsider in our business, he is part of it.
We are not doing him a favour by serving him. He is doing us a favour by giving us an opportunity to do so.
~ Mahatma Gandhi
Offer After Sales Support
Use multiple avenues for your customers to achieve after sales support. They should never be left to feel as though there is no assistance after the sale. They should be able to contact you online or through email at the very least.
Respond Promptly to All Online Requests
This includes emails. Personalise your email responses. On social media sites this is even more important – people have come to expect that they will receive replies very quickly.
Let your customers know when their initial query has been received with a quick personalised email or text message.
Use Everyday Language
Speak to your customers in layman’s terms about your services and products. Try to avoid using jargon whether online, over the phone or in person. Keep it simple, and keep your customers happy.
Customer Relationship Management Software (CRM)
Using a CRM software tool to manage your customer interactions enables you to track essential data about your customers. This could include information about the products or services they purchase, their place of work, the time of day when they usually shop or order, their average purchase price and much more.
By using CRM Software you can offer your customers products that will benefit them, and can also increase your organisation’s sales.
Click here to read our article on how a CRM System can power your customer relationships.
Have Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on Your Site
Having a list of frequently asked questions on your website can save your customers valuable time. Include questions that are often asked by phone or email, and perhaps basic product information. Make the information clear and easy to read.
We set up our FAQ’s on the CTO website by simply tracking the questions our clients regularly asked over a 3 month period. The FAQ’s were then uploaded to our site. Our FAQ list is updated whenever a new question is asked.
Click here to see the FAQ page on the CTO website. It’s set out very simply, with a white cross at the end of each heading leading to the Frequently Asked Questions listed in that category.
Take Customers Privacy Issues Seriously
Be sure to verify your customers’ identity when you’re assisting them. Don’t ask for personal payment information unless it is required to complete their transaction, and only if they are happy to provide it.
We are living today in a world of constant change, where customer service is more important than ever, but can be provided easily and simply online, in most instances.
However, the same rules still apply.
Be courteous, thoughtful and compassionate in your interactions with customers. Treat them with respect and have empathy for the situation they are currently in, or the problem they are currently experiencing.
Look after them at all times, and they will continue to look after you and your organisation well into the future.
It’s not what you say, but how you make them feel, that your customers will remember, long after an issue has been resolved.
How can you train your team in Online Customer Service?
At Corporate Training Options our course on Customer Service in the Information Age is ideal for all staff who deal with customers online.
This one-day course covers 5 main areas:
- Customer Service Basics – with a new century twist
- Customer service on the web
- Providing customer service via email
- Customer Relationship Management
- Effective automated telephone service
Corporate Training Options can help you and your team to excel in online customer service and streamline your customer service processes to benefit your business, your staff and your clients.
About Corporate Training Options
Corporate Training Options (CTO) is a Business Training Company, which provides you with training in essential business skills, via onsite and online business and professional development courses.
The courses provide a cost-effective way of ensuring you and your team develop strong skills in:
- Leadership & Management
- Strategic Business Planning
- Project Management
- Marketing & Sales
- Customer Service & Relationship Management
- Business Administration
- Finance & Accounting
- People & Culture
- Computer Software Training
- Personal Development
We look forward to working with you, to build your confidence, improve your efficiency and maximise your potential.
For more information on the range of Business Training Courses available, please visit the CTO website – cto.com.au
Corporate Training Options
Professional Training – Exceptional Results