Increase Your Customer Service

How to Provide Strong Customer Service in the Digital Age

Customer service in the digital age isn’t completely different than it was when every business was brick-and-mortar. Some rules of the customer-brand relationship—like “the customer is always right”—are unlikely ever to change. However, the fundamental approach to customer service has changed thanks to the internet and other technologies. Technology has given your customers a broader range of choice than ever before—which means that customer service matters more than it ever has before.

How can your brand engage modern customers, guarantee their satisfaction, improve brand loyalty, and give business a boost?

Be active on social media

Social media is ground zero for customer interaction. If customers want to praise your product or service, they are going to use Facebook or Twitter to do it. If they want to criticize your product, social media is their first stop, too. If they want to get in touch with you directly to ask questions or lodge complaints, they are going to start by trying to find you on social media.

The best thing you can do to build an effective customer service model is to be active and responsive on social media. Build a presence on Facebook, Twitter, and other popular networks and encourage customers to follow you and like your pages. Share news about your brand to let customers know about sales, discounts, and new products. Most of all, track mentions or comments and respond promptly and respectfully to customers who ask questions or raise concerns. Being reachable via social media will humanize your brand and make it easy for people to contact you in a casual, low-stress environment.

Respond quickly to their questions or concerns

It doesn’t matter whether you are doing most of your customer service work on Facebook and Twitter or through a messaging system on your website. Customers reaching out via phone, email, instant message, social media, text, or any other method all have something in common: they expect quick responses. Time is of the essence with customer service, now more than ever. If a customer asks a question and you don’t get back to them for 12 hours, there’s a good chance that person will just go elsewhere to find the products or services you offer. There’s a reason that some brands outsource their customer service to companies that offer 24-hour support. Whichever customer service system you want to offer, you need to make sure that you can respond in a timely fashion.

Update your website frequently with news and helpful, informative content

While many customers will look to social media to get the information they need from you, others will still beeline toward your website if they have questions or need assistance with a product. Updating your website frequently with new content—news posts, announcements, FAQs, tutorials, etc.—is an effective way of providing passive customer service. Your customers can get the help they need on their own time without having to contact you directly.

Think about the types of content that will be most beneficial for your customers to be able to access on your site. If you have product manuals, consider uploading them in PDF form so that customers who have misplaced their physical manuals can find them easily. Video tutorials are also incredibly helpful to teach customers how to access certain features or capabilities of a product.

Make it easy for customers to leave feedback (and listen to what they say)

Giving your customers a voice to provide feedback on products is one of the most important aspects of modern customer service. Customers today want to tell other potential buyers about their experiences with products or brands. Implementing product reviews on your website is a great way to ensure that customers have that voice. Product reviews are the best way of finding out what customers think of your wares and the overall brand experience that you offer. Positive reviews reinforce your instincts about product development and work well as testimonials to share on social media. Negative reviews identify areas for improvement and help with goal setting.

Allow customers to create helpful content

If you don’t have money in the budget for full-fledged product tutorials or other video content, let your customers create it for you. Implementing video reviews on your site provides all the advantages of text reviews and then some. With video reviews, customers can demonstrate products, show off features, and offer mini tutorials of their own. Your customers want to know a lot about products before they buy, but they don’t necessarily want to hear that information directly from your brand for fear of bias. With video reviews, customers can answer each other’s questions and provide valuable content. Most importantly, video reviews add other perspectives into the mix and give your shoppers a greater feeling of trust.


Product Reviews

Why Consumers Trust Customer Generated Video Reviews

In 2014, BrightLocal published a survey on the power of customer reviews. 88% of respondents said that they trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. In other words, nearly nine in 10 customers are just as willing to buy a product based on the praise of a stranger as they are to buy a product at the recommendation of a friend.

Consumer trust is at a low point. In the 2015 Edelman Trust Barometer, 16 of the 27 countries that the survey tracked recorded customer trust levels of under 50%. For Edelman, countries with trust levels of 50% or under fall into the unacceptable or “distruster” range.

The numbers from the 2015 Edelman Trust Barometer survey could spell doom and gloom for brands everywhere. How can businesses market to their customers if customers don’t trust them?

How Customer Reviews Can Save Your Brand from Customer Distrust

Implementing customer reviews is one of the easiest and most effective strategies that online e-commerce brands can use to combat customer distrust. When you give your customers a platform through which they can share their opinions on your products right there on your website, you harness the power of BrightLocal’s findings.

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88% of customers are just as willing to buy products because of online recommendations as they are to listen to recommendations from friends or family. By having a positive customer review on one of your product pages, you are giving many of your customers the equivalent of a product endorsement from their close friends. This strategy can be hugely beneficial for encouraging sales and boosting revenues—especially in an age in which so many customers are inherently distrustful of brands.

Why Video Reviews Are the Best Kind of Customer Review

Video reviews are the optimal way to build customer trust in this day and age, particularly for e-commerce brands. Video reviews provide all of the key advantages of standard text-based customer reviews. They show that your brand is willing to give customers a platform through which to share their opinions, they put customer testimonials right on your product pages, and they supplement product descriptions to give shoppers all of the information they need to understand and purchase a product.

There are a few drawbacks to text reviews that video reviews help to solve or circumnavigate. Here are the key benefits you get from video reviews that written customer reviews don’t offer.

They are easier to trust

Distrust of brands among modern customers has reached such a point that many shoppers don’t trust online reviews anymore. With text, anyone could be behind the words. There’s a chance that the person extolling the virtues of a product on a brand’s website is a genuine customer, but there is also a chance that the brand created the review. The spread of fake and paid reviews on sites like Amazon and Yelp has only made matters worse in this department. Video reviews are easier for customers to trust because viewers can actually see and hear the reviewer in addition to engaging with their words. Video is naturally a more personal medium than writing, so users feel more inclined to trust it. Video reviews are also much harder for brands to fake than written reviews, making them more trustworthy.

They encourage an emotional connection

Video is inherently a more personal medium than text: being able to see a person’s facial expressions, watch their body language, and hear the tone of their voice make video reviews feel like a window into someone’s day-to-day life. The personal nature of these videos encourages users to forge an emotional connection with the reviewer. They see someone who reminds them of themselves and therefore they feel inclined to trust that person. The trust created by that emotional connection ends up linked to your brand and your products.

They are engaging

Modern attention spans have dwindled, as has people’s willingness to read. There is a reason that sites like Buzzfeed have done so well with list-based articles that are made up largely of pictures. Many internet users just aren’t interested in reading large blocks of text—not because they are lazy, but because they don’t engage with it on any level. Videos encourage more engagement. It is easier for most customers to watch a two-minute video than absorb a three-paragraph product review. There’s a facet of accessibility to that play button that isn’t there with a lengthier review. As such, customers who would not have read or engaged with a written customer review are willing to watch a video review through to the end and use it to inform purchasing decisions. 

At Criteek, we can help you to implement video reviews throughout your e-commerce website, you can learn more here

Video Strategy

The Basics of an Effective Video Strategy

By now, you understand that video content is the future of marketing. However, understanding and implementation are not the same. There are plenty of high-profile sources out there that have gone on record highlighting the importance of video for brands. There are also plenty of brands that still aren’t using video as a regular part of their content marketing strategies.

We know that making the switch from written content to video content can be daunting. By following the steps and tips laid out below, you can master these basics and start enjoying the benefits of video content right now.

Implement both in-house and user-generated video strategies

The best video marketing strategies make use of both in-house video and user-generated video. There are some types of videos that only you can create. Brand stories, interviews with people from your company, case studies, and official product “how-to” guides are all going to be in-house projects. However, customer-generated video (which usually takes the form of video reviews and social videos) will deliver a lot of the benefits of other types of video without the production costs. Video reviews improve dwell rates, give shoppers extra information about your products, and offer great social media sharing power. Positive video reviews also double as customer testimonials, which are terrific for improving brand trust.

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Figure out what type of video content your audience wants to see

Before you film a second of video, sit down and brainstorm what type of video content you want to create. In order to do this, try to put yourself in the shoes of your customers. What stories do they want to see? Which “customer support” topics or frequently asked questions can you address with “how to” guides or demonstration videos? Could case studies of your company’s projects help you win over new clients? If you feel like there is customer demand for a specific video topic, then the corresponding video will benefit your brand.

Retain the human element

Brands often make the mistake of focusing their video content primarily on things rather than on people. For instance, an e-commerce company might have a product take center stage for the visual portion of a video and then relegate the narration to voiceover. Similarly, a construction contractor might feature shots of machinery or active project footage rather than giving a good amount of time to an interview with the project manager. While it is important to show your product or service in your video, it is also vital to retain the human element. People—their voices, their facial expressions, their body language, and their reliability—will give your video an emotional dimension that connects with customers.

Keep the content short and sweet

Long-form videos have their place in content marketing. For example, if you host a webinar, it’s obviously going to be lengthy. But for the most part, you want to keep your content as short and digestible as possible. One to three minutes is typically the sweet spot. That’s a tight target to hit, so make sure you are utilizing cuts and other editing tricks to keep the video slick and on-topic.

Create a spot on your website where users can browse videos

Too many brands spend time and money on their video content and then just dump it on YouTube. While YouTube is a good place to host your videos, you shouldn’t just upload them to your YouTube channel and then call it a day. You need your videos to be easily locatable to anyone visiting your website for the first time. Build a section of your website where you store all of your videos, or divide video pages into different categories depending on the content. You will reap more benefits from your video content (improved traffic, dwell rate, and revenue) and users will still be able to find your greatest hits on YouTube if they want to.

Start sharing

You also shouldn’t just upload your videos to your site and hope that customers find them. Instead, start featuring and sharing your videos everywhere you can. Post videos on Facebook and Twitter and encourage users to give feedback. Video content is extremely sharable, so you should see good numbers of likes and retweets on these posts. You can also make videos more visible on your website by featuring a few of them on your homepage or embedding them in your email newsletters to improve their reach.

Watch the metrics

Before you implement video reviews or start posting video content you have produced in-house, take note of your website and social media metrics. What do your dwell rates or conversion rates look like? What sort of traffic is your written marketing content getting? How many social followers do you have? How do your posts do on Facebook or Twitter when you share text-based content? Once you’ve implemented video, track all of these metrics and see how they change. You need to look at view numbers for your videos and stats about how many customers make it all the way through your videos. Comparing your site and social media performance before and after video content will give you a sense of just how much video is helping your brand.