96% of people worldwide say that customer service is crucial in deciding which brands they’re loyal to. I’m going to let you in on a bit of a secret: the key to great digital customer service is letting your customers know they’re in charge. Want top tips on how to empower your customers? Then read on for what modern digital customer looks par excellence.
Making your communication channels easy to find!
Few things are more frustrating as a customer than having to waste time searching for answers to your questions and getting stuck in an infinite loop of web pages and instructions. In order to deliver a gold-standard of service to your customers, you must make your communication channels as easy as possible for them to find.
First and foremost, you need to clearly list your contact details – a contact page is an ideal place for this to go, but if you want to really help your customers you should go further than this. You should be using forms, social media, chatbots, and knowledge-base content in order to supplement your customer service efforts. Empower customers to arm themselves with the right knowledge.
Another (and perhaps less obvious) way in which you can communicate with your customers is by pre-empting their questions and answering them in the form of a dynamic FAQ page. If you really want to push the boat out, you could also add a submission form so that people can put their own questions to you. With the rise of machine learning assisted tools, you might even be able to build your own knowledge chatbot!
Keeping your customer promises!
The number one complaint made by customers is that companies don’t keep their promises – this could be anything from conflict resolution to opening hours. However, most complaints about broken promises are about the same thing – that the service you ‘guaranteed’ didn’t meet the standards you set.
There are a huge number of potential promises you need to keep if you want to give your customers great digital service, but the most important ones are:
- The true cost of your products: adding hidden costs is, frankly, terrible service. If you are going to charge a delivery fee then make it obvious (or, better yet, absorb the cost into your margins and keep the cost hidden from view)
- Up-to-date stock levels: Does a customer want to add an item to their basket, only to be told at the point of purchase that there will be a three-month wait for it to be in stock? Nope. Be upfront about stock levels and service delivery times
- Accurate delivery regions: Can I get this item delivered to Boston, MA? Will this software work in Singapore? Let your customers know straight-up what they can expect
The important point is this – be straight, upfront, and honest with your customers. Sleazy sales tactics are a turn-off.
Recognizing that you need to give your customers a voice!
Your customers don’t care about your business. Your customers care about businesses that care about them – and let’s be clear here, great digital service is about giving your customers what they want. So, how can you give them a voice? In the following two ways:
- Firstly, you can share your customers’ experiences with your business across your digital platforms. Your customers want to see what their peers think, so you should include genuine customer testimonials on your website and social media accounts.
- Secondly, you can replicate your customers’ voice by writing in the way that they actually speak and talk. For example, when your customers visit your website to purchase a pair of shoes, they want to imagine this item in their own lives — to understand how buying it is good for them (not your company). By using the same language that your customers do, good descriptive copy explains why your items add value to them, whilst showing that you care about them.
Responding not reacting (and doing so quickly)
Responding and reacting are the same thing, right? They’re both about giving someone a reply?
“Reacting is…Emotional. Aggressive and defensive. Tense. Fast and sub-conscious. Unaware of the long-term consequences.”
“Responding is…Soothing and non-threatening. Constructive. Conscious and self-aware. Considerate of everyone’s well-being.”
Now, I mentioned earlier that conflict resolution is part of customer service (trust me, I spent seven years working in customer service). When you have to tackle an angry customer you need to respond to them, in order to understand what’s gone wrong, what they want, and how you can help them get this – if you react you’re simply trying to defend your business and that’s the opposite of customer service.
While it’s essential you respond (rather than react) to your customers, it’s also vital that you do this quickly. This is not to say you have to go back to them with a resolution immediately, but you do need to let them know you’ve acknowledged them at the earliest opportunity. By doing this you can take control of the timescale for resolution while giving your customers what they really want – you to let them know you care about the problem(s) they have and that you wait to fix it/them.
Great digital customer service means a lot of things, but if you want to put it into a nutshell, it means one thing above all else – letting your customers know they’re the boss, and that you are here to give them the service they need.