How to provide excellent online customer service

Feb 24, 2017 by
How to provide excellent online customer service

In an era where people are trained to have exceedingly short attention spans, responding to customers rapidly is essential. People don’t want to have to call you on the phone and potentially be put through a voicemail maze, they want to communicate with a real person while they’re on your site.

Customers also expect fast responses if they contact you on social media. Here are some of the ways to supercharge your customer service practices so that your customers keep returning.

Implement a survey before the conversation

In order to provide an adequate response to solve your customer’s problem as fast as possible, it’s recommended that you integrate a survey into your pre-chat interface. Allowing your customer to pick between a variety of common issues means you can assign them to the most qualified customer service representative. This lets you deal with his or her needs quickly and satisfactorily.

Pre chat interface

Offer a transcript of the conversation

Once the conversation comes to a conclusion, always offer the customer a transcript of the conversation that they can refer back to at a later date. This can be particularly useful if the conversation involved specific technical advice or a step-by-step process which needs to be executed. Offering to send the conversation to the customer by email makes their lives easier and also encourages them to stay loyal to a company that cares about them.

Speak in plain language

Depending on your industry, there may be a lot of technical jargon which your customer is not likely to understand. Always put yourself in your customer’s shoes and use the type of language which communicates the information as effectively and simply as possible. It’s important to remember that your customer may not have the same level of knowledge that you have, so keeping things simple is always the best route. This also applies to sales copy, product descriptions, shipping information and pricing.

Create a FAQ list

Before a customer enters live chat or contacts you on social media, it’s highly recommended that you put a FAQ list of common problems together. This will allow them to solve their problems without having to enter into a (potentially lengthy) dialogue with someone. Always ensure that your FAQ list is up to date and easily accessible. Putting a link to your FAQ page next to your livechat button is a great idea.

Utilise email communication

Sometimes, a customer may want to contact you at an unsociable hour or may not want to engage in a live dialogue. In these instances, you can allow customers to send their questions via email. Consider sending an automated response to your customers to let them know that you’ve received their email and will be sending a personal response soon. By including the customer’s name in the response, this helps to make them feel as if they’re being looked after.

Go the extra mile when apologising

Mistakes are sure to happen in business, and customers will become unhappy from time to time. In these unfortunate instances. Always go the extra mile when you’re apologising (but be sure not to apologise if you’re not actually at fault). If the customer is not satisfied with your product and their complaint is reasonable, offer them the product for free and give them a discounted service in the future. Showing that you’re prepared to admit when you’re wrong isn’t a sign of weakness, it actually demonstrates humanity and compassion which makes your company more endearing.

Blogger and public speaker, Tom Searcy states that apologies are often underused in business:

I believe that apologies are woefully underused in professional communication. Hypersensitivity to liability, finger-pointing, entitlement, and a lack of accountability drive good people to avoid acknowledging mistakes, let alone apologizing for them. This resistance to apologizing does all sorts of bad things professionally. The longer issues are left unaddressed, the deeper the resentment and the harder it is to move forward.