Customer service is one of the most critical aspects of your business. This is truer today than ever before as customers can so easily leave online reviews that can either help or harm you. In the age of social media and smartphones, customers are also getting more demanding, expecting fast if not instant answers to their queries. If you want to stay competitive, you need to provide outstanding customer service. Here are some of the leading customer service trends that will help you keep your customers happy, so they keep coming back.
1. Mobile-Friendly Customer Support
As more and more of your customers use mobile devices, it’s necessary to make sure your customer support is mobile-friendly. The simplest way to do this is to offer phone support. A toll-free number is always appealing. It’s equally important to have a responsive website that’s mobile-friendly. If you offer live chat or a chatbot on your website, test it to make sure that it can be easily accessed by mobile users.
Another way to make your customer service more mobile-friendly is to offer support via SMS or text messaging. Many smartphone users today prefer texting to calling. Texting is often more convenient for noisy environments. There are various SMS services that let you offer text messaging support to your customers.
2. Customer Support Via Social Media
Today’s customers appreciate the convenience of customer support on social media. Many businesses use social media only for promotion but don’t use these platforms for support. If your customers are following you on sites such as Twitter and Facebook, it makes sense to offer support there as well.
The most important point is to respond to customer support queries on social media even if they can’t be solved right away. In such cases, you or whoever is monitoring the social media page can either forward the question to the appropriate person or direct the customer to call or email customer support.
Offering social media support has several benefits. It lightens the load on your other customer service channels. It shows all your followers that you’re committed to addressing issues. Additionally, the answers you provide may answer questions for other customers as well. Of course, you can’t expect to solve every issue on a Twitter or Facebook thread. For issues that require more personalized attention, customers should be directed the appropriate customer service channel.
3. Real-Time Customer Feedback
Paying close attention to customer feedback lets you offer the best possible support. The most valuable feedback is that which is collected during or right after a transaction or interaction. Research indicates that customer surveys and other types of feedback are far more reliable when conducted in real-time. Delays of even a day reduce their accuracy.
Getting real-time feedback also lets you address issues promptly. You can identify problems before they become more serious. If a customer is dissatisfied about something, it’s much more effective to address the issue within minutes or hours than days or weeks. Given how quickly trends and preferences change today, it’s important to collect data that’s as timely as possible. If you use results from a year ago, it could already be obsolete. That’s why you need to continuously collect and analyze customer feedback.
4. Hybrid Customer Support
Chatbots have gotten quite a bit of attention lately as one of the dominant trends in customer support. A chatbot has some key advantages, providing 24/7 support and immediately engaging with customers on a website. However, they also have their drawbacks. Customers get frustrated when chatbots can’t answer all questions. Furthermore, people still appreciate human interaction.
Rather than looking at chatbots as a complete solution, it’s better to see them as one of your many customer support tools. The emerging hybrid model of customer service combines the best of machine and human intelligence. It’s most helpful to program chatbots so they can quickly direct customers to a human agent when necessary. When agents are available, this could be forwarding the visitor to live chat or giving them a phone number. When no one is available, chatbots can send visitors to a page where they can fill out a support ticket.
5. More Personalization
One of the keys to providing exceptional customer service is to personalize interactions as much as possible. A “one size fits all” approach to customer service is no longer adequate. Here are some ways to customize service to the needs of individual customers.
- Offer support on multiple channels. People prefer different ways of contacting you. If you provide support by phone, chat, email, and social media you’re giving people more choices to contact you the way they prefer. Customer support apps such as Zendesk can make it easier to manage your support on several channels.
- Minimize scripted answers. People can always tell when customer service reps are reading from a script. While you need certain policies and guidelines for your reps to follow, encourage them to be spontaneous as well. This goes a long way in making customers feeling valued as individuals.
- Segmentation helps you personalize customer support. Segmentation for your social media channels, email lists, and other marketing channels helps you target your audience more precisely. This should extend to your customer service. For example, if have several email lists, you can provide a separate support email for each list. Segmented social media pages let you provide the appropriate type of support on each platform.
Customer support is becoming an increasingly important issue for businesses of all sizes. People are often willing to forgive mistakes as long as they feel that you care about them. If they have trouble reaching you or are dissatisfied with the support they get, however, they are likely to abandon you in favor of competitors. The quality of your customer support also largely determines the kind of reviews you get. Keeping these customer service trends in mind will help you improve your reputation and attract more loyal customers.
To find out how Sysomos can help you integrate social media channels into your customer service strategy, book a consultation with one of our social specialists today.