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Customer service (CS) doesn’t just rely on you being able to react when consumers have an issue. It now involves being able to predict issues before the customers discover them – basically being one step ahead at all times. If you’re showing your customers that you care from the moment they access your website, you are more likely to create a happier customer relationship and have them coming back for more.
But how do businesses go about offering CS that doesn’t depend on the customers contacting them in the first place? We compiled our favourite methods to help you provide CS information before you’re even asked:
Real Time Monitoring
Setting up monitoring of your customers’ activity while browsing your website can help you learn a lot. It can make you recognise any parts of the website with occurring issues, like a shopping basket that doesn’t update, or even just a dodgy hyperlink. If you can see a customer was in the midst of the purchase process and then abandoned their basket, by monitoring it in real time you can swiftly send them an email (or target a post to them) asking if they need any help with that particular purchase.
You could, for example, do this by setting up Google Analytics tracking for your website and monitoring your website’s behavior flows as customers move between pages. This will help you understand if there’s a particular page that’s causing a blockage or if your shopping basket isn’t allowing people to complete their orders.
Many clothes retailers contact customers who are logged into their accounts when browsing to remind them of their baskets so that they, one, inspire them to complete the purchase and, two, can direct them to customer services if they need any help. And if it works for them, then it can probably work for you too.
You can even go so far as to implement a webchat facility on your website. This means you can jump in whenever you see an issue, rather than sending an email that people might miss. It can even lead to customers returning to your website, with 63% more likely to return to a website that offers live chat.
Keep Customers Informed in Crisis Situations
If you do come across an issue on your website, rather than waiting for your customers to fall into its trap, you can act proactively by alerting them before they find it out. For instance, if you know there’s a certain feature that’s currently broken, you could have some simple text nearby to tell them that you’re aware of the issue. Or if your website is going down for maintenance, inform your customers in advance by email or posting up a message on the website in the hours beforehand.
You can even send notices out on your social channels or send individual SMS’s with an apology attached, possibly including a discount or refund to make up for the time lost – ASOS are a particular fan of this one after their website crashed during one of its famous discount codes!
Gathering Customer Feedback
Gaining feedback from your customers is a great way to identify common customer pain pointsand then fix them. You can gather this by setting up surveys, emails, asking during a sales call or just have a simple form to fill out after a customer has completed a purchase in their online shopping basket. You can also collect feedback by creating a post-chat survey at the end of any webchat conversations on your website. This gives them the chance to rate your service and let them know of any further issues they may have not thought appropriate to bring up at that time.
Once you know what’s causing an issue, you can do something about it. It could be anything from fixing a bug on the website to updating a product user guide. Those little updates could make the difference between a sale and an abandonment.
Make Answers Accessible
Some questions don’t need you to answer them – well, of course they do, but you don’t necessarily need to do it using people/man-hours. The key to this point is to be prepared for at least the most common questions in advance. Providing answers to frequently asked questions (often known as FAQ’s) easily has a number of benefits. By putting answers in an easy-to-find, quick-to-understand place, your customers may not need to contact your CS channels, saving them (and you) time and effort.
Having these sections available means that questions can be answered any time of the day or night, even if it’s a national bank holiday and no one is working! To do this you also need to optimise your website content constantly. This is so you can be sure your FAQ’s are well-organised and appear on the results page whenever someone searches for a relevant topic or phrase and irrelevant of the device they’re browsing on.
An inbuilt search function on a website can also be a great insight into the mind of a customer. Getting a lot of hits for questions you haven’t added to your FAQ’s? It might be wise to put them in and avoid unnecessary time on CS channels.
By watching your customers go through the motions on your website, keeping them in the know before anything goes wrong, and gathering constant feedback from them, you can start to introduce CS that doesn’t rely on a customer having to contact you first. Being aware of situations before they arise, and offering support so customers don’t need to come to you in the first place, can help build up strong customer relationships and maintain trust. Knowledge is golden and providing your customers with as much of it as possible can only be good.