You’ve heard it all before: be educated, positive and clear. That information is repeated constantly when it comes to customer service–but it only covers the fundamentals.
These days, it’s all about the customer experience. In actuality, it’s estimated that customer experience will be an integral brand differentiator by 2020 so it is important to look a little deeper into this, especially with it now becoming the number one strategy for internet businesses.
We asked a number of the greatest e-commerce and customer service specialists around to discuss what they believed will set online companies apart from the competition in 2018 when it comes to delivering a special experience. Here is what they came up with.
#1. VIP customer service 24/7
2018 is proving that client support is a broad term to show how a team can produce both success and experience –and these processes are becoming more intertwined as the years pass.
It has been said that 2018 is going to be the year they officially join with each other, leading to an emphasis on online companies to offer consistently great service from start to finish.
Nicole Leinbach Reyhle, founder of Retail Minded, explains her ideas on how to make customers that browse your online store Feel like they are VIP:
“Customer service does not end at traditional brick-and-mortar stores. These days, customers expect red-carpet customer support whether they shop in-store or online. Offer follow-up mails after purchases are made which offer an incentive for them to shop . Make sure that you provide chatbots or other opportunities to connect with store employees while they’re shopping online. While simplicity and enjoyment should always be a goal of online shopping experiences, improving customer service should be a priority also.”
#2. Understand customer personas
“A lot of times customer service gets left out of their discussions about customer personas. Ensure your reps fully understand your different personas and react to customers accordingly. It can help them craft answers that match the customer much better than a boilerplate template that was written for the CEO.” — William Harris, E-commerce Growth Advisor, Elumynt
William makes a good point here. If you let data around customer personas slip through the cracks, you won’t have the holistic perspective necessary to provide exceptional support.
With 24/7 customer service comes a need to have a profound understanding of that your shoppers are. Easy access to support is very good, but the cherry on top is being able to send the right message, to the perfect place, at the right time.
This approach will cause a huge increase in customer retention which is a vital part of an internet business’ lifecycle. This knowledge of the customers will come directly from the customer support team.
Getting to know customer behaviour through conversations and information not only provides you a lot of information about their character but also provides you an inkling in their preferred channels of communication.
As James Gurd describes:
“Customer support teams can improve customer communication by responding to customers via their preferred channel. A good example is via social media, by using tools such as Fullcontact you can append social IDs to your current customer record (based on email game ), and use this to build direct societal relationships and send useful, relevant information direct to your clients.”
#4. Hear the Entire story
“Listening” seems to be a tip That’s ubiquitous online when covering the topic of support tips–and yet, customer service expert Adam Toporek takes a different angle on it:
“One of the most effective techniques for working with angry customers is to let them’punch out themselves.’ In most cases, support reps listen for a while but finally feel the need to jump in. When customers are really mad, however, it is wise to let them go. And I mean really let them go–let them vent until they have nothing left to say. Though you have to be aware of ignoring other customers and you must beware of the small portion of consumers that will work themselves up even more by continuing to speak.”
That’s something to consider the next time you have a customer talking through their difficulty. Make them feel satisfied that they said everything they wanted before you end up the telephone.
#5. Stand out online with personalization
It is not news that personalized, fast responses are the standard in customer support, and if you do not already employ it in your strategies, you should! The point is that it all boils down to the customer data you have you could use to personalize the online shopping experience for your customers.
“To offer great customer service you will need to personalize your clients’ visits with curated product offerings according to their wants and desires. Customers don’t want to sift through a broad variety of your products to get what they need to buy. Artificial intelligence products that could look at a consumer’s behavior, demographics and research history can help an e-commerce brand deliver that personalized experience. Once it is possible to solve a customer’s needs quickly at a excellent value, you will make a bond with that client that only you can break.”
#6. Gratitude goes far beyond saying “thank you”
“Customer service teams would be well served to start listening for cues as to what customers are actually asking for when they call. Are they frustrated by the time something has obtained? Then time is of the essence to fix the issue, not to say’we’re sorry you’re frustrated’ repeatedly. Find a way to show gratitude for loyalty, not only say thanks. Clients do not always hear the words as truthful anymore. — Jeannie Walters
There are still human beings behind displays managing customer service for a reason–you can digest, analyze and understand emotion and detail in a way that robots won’t ever be able to. There is no need for people to be robots, too!
Add variety to your answers where necessary and determine what you could offer to loyal customers and provide for unhappy customers. Consistency until the very end should be your aim.
#7. Be authentic
“The best way to retain customers is authenticity. It doesn’t matter where you are in the sales process, do not make promises you can not keep. Have an interest in your customers by getting to know about them and their businesses and share some of your tales. This establishes a personal connection and helps you establish a better way to serve them. Additionally, it makes them feel more comfortable and confident when purchasing from you.”
Similar to Jeannie and Phil, Vladimir explains how empathy and authenticity can be just what clients need to be able to construct that trusting relationship between them and the service agent.
Ultimately, when you take the above factors into account, you are automating customer service to speed up the process, but still keeping it consistent and private.
CamMi Pham, Partner at ThinkRenegade, reiterates this point when she says:
“Automate parts of your customer service process so that your team can have more time to provide better support to clients. You can include a list of proposed support documents/FAQs from the auto-response after the customers submit the ticket. Eighty percent of the time your customers will find the answer they are looking for instantly. The other 20 percent will get better support because your support team will have more time to help them.”
Cammi Pham customer service tips
The tips above, accompanied by e-commerce support software such as xSellco Helpdesk, will not only give you the extra time to come up with more innovative solutions for your customers but will also improve your chances of generating happier customers.