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.