January 12, 2015 4 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
Customer satisfaction is a crucial component of running a successful business.
Consumers demand fast customer support these days. They don’t want to wait on hold to speak to a customer representative on the phone. When they have a question or a complaint they look for help on the company’s website or they turn to social media.
Here are seven tips to help provide the highest level of customer service online.
1. Eliminate common questions immediately
A well put-together FAQ (frequently asked questions) page on your website will eliminate a lot of common questions before they clog up your support channels. This can include warranty information, return and exchange policies, installation tutorials and any other common question pertaining to the product or service being sold.
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You should be able to create a list of common questions fairly easy and you can poll your support staff to identify more commonly asked questions. Eliminating common questions right off the bat frees up your support channels to quickly handle more urgent requests.
2. Respond instantly
Have you ever submitted a support request online and received an auto response stating that someone will be in touch within 24 to 48 hours? This is completely unacceptable. If your customers have to wait an entire day or two for a response there is a good chance they will find another company to do business with.
Instead of establishing that you will respond within a certain timeframe just implement an internal policy to respond as quickly as possible.
3. React even quicker on social media
Almost half of U.S. consumers ask questions, complain or report satisfaction via social media. You don’t need to solve the request through social media — simply reply quickly with a way for them to get fast help. Providing the individual with a dedicated customer-support email address or a link to your customer-support ticketing system will satisfy the initial social-media request and allow your team to properly help the customer.
4. Take customers’ privacy seriously
I recently contacted a company via live chat support after my order arrived incomplete. The live chat representative asked me for my full credit card number to look up the order. I refused and after a back-and-forth battle the representative was finally able to locate my order. I will never do business with this company again because of their complete lack of security when it comes to personal and sensitive information.
Never ask your customers to provide this information in order to help them. Asking for this information will not only put them at risk, but it will also cause them to lose trust and potentially never do business with you again.
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5. Tone down the technical jargon
Make sure that your customer-service representatives understand that not every person they communicate with is going to have a full understanding of technical and industry-specific terminology. Attempt to answer all questions using very clear and direct replies. If the response requires a lot of detail break it up into smaller pieces that are easier to digest.
6. Use third-party customer-service software
It can cost a small fortune to develop a custom backend customer-support system — and most businesses don’t need a full-blown custom solution. There are several platforms available that provide great organizational and time-management tools to help deliver excellent customer service.
My company is involved with a new startup that is being documented for a marketing case study and book — and after looking into all customer-support options we went with Zendesk. It is one of the many third-party customer-service software options packed with great features.
7. Be human
A ballistic, pissed-off customer can quickly change his or her tone if the customer-service representative shows compassion. Your support team needs to have thick skin — there undoubtedly will be a situation at one point or another that involves an irate customer cursing and out for blood.
If the rep on the other end replies along the lines of, “I’m very sorry you are experiencing this problem, and I completely understand why you are upset, so let me help you correct this problem,” it will calm the individual down and allow your team to resolve the issue.
Do you have any other suggestions to help improve online customer support? Share them in the comments section below. We would love to hear them!
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