In today’s on-line, connected world it’s easy for companies to let customer interactions become overly automated and impersonal.
We have all experienced poor response time and either had our own, or heard stories from friends of botched customer service interactions.
To help your company from becoming one of those “stories”, here are a few ways to use automation to your advantage, but still give a personal touch to service.
Whether you are a sole proprietor or have several employees, when a customer gets voice mail or completes a customer service form they enter what I call “the black hole of customer service”. Make this transition easy for them by setting expectations and giving them alternatives. For example, in your message let them know how long it takes for you to respond. If your typical turn-around time is 24 hours, or if you make calls at the end of the business day, let them know.
But, also give them an opportunity to reach you more quickly if it’s an emergency. For example, letting them send a text message or a Tweet with “**” at the beginning lets you know to respond immediately.
A few years ago Harvard Business Review found that solving your customer’s problems or even going above and beyond in service situations wasn’t what lead to long term loyalty. Solving issues in the easiest way possible with the least amount of effort on their part is what made a difference. Give your customer options and make communicating with you easier.
Use Social Listening
Twitter asserts that customer service interactions on their platform have increased 250% in the past few years. In addition, the use of Facebook Messenger allows customers to easily reach out to businesses of all sizes. Make sure that you or your staff is monitoring social channels and responding quickly and appropriately. A Twitter study showed that the faster you respond to customer service interactions, the more customers were willing to spend. Again, adding automated responses on social media can set the tone for the interaction, so use these to your benefit and then follow-up in person.
Invest in entry level software programs.
If you have sales and service staff, purchasing software to speed up customer service and coordinate communications can be priceless. With the right software there will be no duplication of efforts, or issues falling through the cracks. Low cost examples would be Botsify (online chatbots), Front (email, text social), Dixa (chat, voice & email ), LiveAgent (varied communications and robust features). Chatbots can be a great way to automate your FAQs on a website or social media. And, many of these programs let you start small and grow as you need it.
When you get down to it, the combination of quick easy answers via technology mixed with good old fashioned live help will keep customers happy and hopefully spreading the news about your company.