You might have a great product, you might have a superb idea, but if customers come to your site and leave feeling frustrated, your growth will be limited.
"48% of customers have switched brands for better customer service, and 94% say good customer service makes them more likely to make another purchase.*"
The question is: how do you turn every customer who uses your site into a champion of your business? If each customer recommended you to three others, you would soon be on a rocket to success, so here’s our top five tips on how to offer superb customer service.
Be there for your Customers
This is the most obvious form of customer service and a vital component of any company’s public image. There are various ways to offer customers interactive help:
Phone — It sounds simple, but make sure that anyone on the phone has a great understanding of your business, industry and the customers who you serve, including their needs and worries.
Email — Use various email addresses to allow staff to specialise in different areas and, therefore, offer a better service. If you have a small team, this will still help you to improve your efficiency in replying.
Physical Address — Not only will some customers still wish to contact you in writing, having a physical address also builds users’ confidence in the trustworthiness of your business.
Chat — There are many companies offering stand-alone chat facilities that can be easily added to your site. At Tutora, we used Pure Chat (www.purechat.com) and found that this was a very simple service, which also offered a way for users to contact us out of office hours.
Contact Forms — For the most regular questions asked by your users, build contact forms into your site with fields that clearly match the details you need and your customers wish to provide.
Don’t Take on Too Much
Customer service is vital, however, too much focus on this can kill a business. No business has endless resources, which includes the time of its staff, so you must decide which of these provisions you will offer to your customers. If you offer all of the forms above, you will naturally receive more contact than you would if you only had a phone number and email address. The biggest failing would be to offer services which you cannot reply to — having a phone you never answer is worse than not having a number at all. Similarly, if answering emails all day is meaning that staff have no time to complete tasks which grow the business, then the balance between customer service and development is wrong and ultimately you will let your customers down. One bad review is worse than ten great reviews, as it will leave an element of doubt in potential customers’ minds.
Signpost your Site
Many businesses feel that customer service is purely about talking to your customers, but online businesses are talking to their customers as soon as they come to their site. So, sites must make it as easy as possible for customers to navigate through their pages to find the goods and services they are seeking. Search bars must be intuitive, pages must be well indexed and have an intuitive flow from arrival to purchasing or booking.
There are many products that allow you to track and improve the user experience. Here are a couple of our favourites:
Hotjar — Watch videos of users on your site and see where they escape the funnel.
Google Analytics — Okay, so we all know about this, but it’s a vital tool in analysing the success of each page on your site.
Zendesk — This is a cracking new service which lets you manage your customer service accounts in one place.
If you get this right, you can offer fewer contact options, free up your staff and maintain a great level of customer service.
Be Experts in your Field
Customers will come back to you if they value the knowledge and expertise you can offer. It is vital that your staff are well-trained and knowledgeable when replying to customer enquiries. There are other ways to communicate this to your customers though. Writing great content which your customers will truly appreciate will build your reputation greatly and enhance each customer’s’ attachment to your brand. It may be appropriate to organise events for your users, at which you can demonstrate your company’s expertise, or to create printed resources to be left in venues linked to your target customers. However you can do so, build the expertise held within your company, show your customers and your business will grow.
Create a Community
Finally, everyone loves to feel part of a community, to both gain and give advice. By building a community of users, you can empower them to help others, turn them into brand ambassadors, and remove some of the strain on yourselves to deliver customer support. Social media is a wonderful tool for growing these communities, whether this is through Facebook or Twitter, where customers can interact directly, or video platforms such as YouTube or Vimeo, through which you can offer video tutorials or guides and users can post comments. You may wish to create interactive forums on your own site, or purely add comment features at the bottom of each blog post. Remember, users love sharing content as well, so give them that option with one click sharing buttons built into the site.
We hope that these tips have given you a fresh approach to delivering outstanding customer service!
This is a guest post by Scott Woodley from Tutora