7 Tips for Improving your Online Customer Service

7 tips for improving your online customer service

Nowadays, almost every brand or business can be found online, whether it is through their official webpage, or on one of many social media platforms.

Business is done on as many channels as it is possible, but with many channels come issues – mainly concerned with customer care. Everyone wants a phenomenal customer care, right?

Well, that mainly rests on your ability to put the tools at your disposal to its best use and take some simple steps which will increase your overall customer service and customer care in many ways.

So, from all the choices, what is the best thing you can take?

What should you use to take your customer experience to the next level?

First of all, the most important thing is to start with the customers themselves and follow how they interact with you. Take the role of the customer, immerse yourself in the interaction and observe.

Following this idea, we have created a list of seven of our best tips and tricks to enhance your online customer service.

1. Ask yourself: What are my customers’ support needs?

This question is a tough one, especially when you are just starting out. You create a product, you get it out there, and then you try to think like a customer and try to find out what the customers typically need from your support personnel.

For example, if you need hosting for your company’s website, you want to check if they offer live chat or phone support as you need an instant response in case your website goes down. Ticket system or community support is not a viable option in that case.

Still, some companies are perfectly able to provide an exceptional customer service even without the live chat or phone support, but that’s because they understand their customers’ needs and know how to act upon them. You should, too. 

Focus on those channels where customers really want to initiate contact and ask for your help. It’s usually much better to provide great support on few channels rather than spreading out too much and being present everywhere but not really available when needed.

2. Get out of your customers’ way... 

If implemented well, self-service is an amazing way to provide outstanting support without actually interacting with your customers through the traditional support channels.

Automated self-serving tools often turn out to be beneficial for both customers and customer support agents. Most customers love it when they’re able to take care of things and fix the issue on their own. Let them. If they can’t do it, there is always a way for them to contact you.

Besides, most AI self-service tools have that option built in where they directly connect a customer to the agent if self-service does not solve their issue.

This way, agents don’t have to deal with the same question over and over again and they will have more time to focus on more complex issues rather than rushing from customer to customer.

3. … But don’t stop at knowledge base documentation

The knowledge base is an awesome source for customer support, whether it’s self-service or direct contact. It needs to be well organized and the articles should address the issue directly. However, don’t stop there.

Offer blog posts, e-books, webinars, guides and tons of others resources which will benefit your customers and make the daily job of all your agents much easier.

4. Respect your customers’ time

“Please hold. Your call is important to us. The first free agent will answer your call. Estimated wait time is 17 minutes.” Do you like the sound of this? No one does.

How long do your customers have to wait before they can interact with a real person? What is the average time needed to solve a request? How many times does a customer need to contact you before their problem is finally fixed?

Think about it this way: Those 17 minutes above is the time that the same customer will browse the web and see what your competitors have to offer. You probably don’t want that. Respect their time.

5. Recognize that ‘online service’ ≄ ‘robotic service’

Talking over the phone is not the same as live chat or email conversation.

A phone call allows you to set up a pleasant, respectful tone, while text on the screen will not always look like that. One neat trick is to match your customers' tone. It lets the customer know you are on their side and that you understand their problem without having to explicitly say that..

If they come to you with a formal tone, remain professional. If they’re more relaxed, feel free to be more casual, or even tell a joke.

Mirroring builds connections and increases understanding on both sides

6. Beef up your product knowledge

In most interactions with a customer, you are able to take a look at the knowledge base, follow the script, or ask a colleague for help. However, you should not rely on that. Take it as a last resort.

Be proactive and learn about your product or a service and know the answer before your customers even raise the question.

Of course, it is understandable that you cannot possibly have the answer to every question, even if you’re there from the very start of the company. Have all the notes, articles, guides and scripts handy in case you need them.

7. Empower your entire team to help customers

Everyone should do support. That’s how a great customer-centric environment is created. Don’t force your agents to answer questions only developers understand, have a developer answer them instead.

Having every member of the team deal with customers takes your customer support to a higher level.

Plus, the system where everyone knows how to deal with a customer give your employees a certain degree of authority to make decisions and overall have a better experience in their workplace.

It’s a win-win situation.

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