Why Online Customer Service is So Important to Your Business
Business over the last few years has shifted into the digital world. It is necessary for every business, large and small, to maintain a strong online presence. Social networking, blogging, and creating online content is essential to every marketing plan, but have you considered the immense importance of online customer service? You should. Here’s why:
- Customer service in general is a huge factor in customer satisfaction and loyalty. Technology and the digital age have brought us to a time where customers expect immediate results, mostly because they can. The internet has drastically changed the way we live our lives, conduct business, and find information. There is no turning back now; in fact, it would be wise to look a bit further into the future, or risk falling behind. More than half of retail sales are online – and we are just getting started. Some businesses operate entirely from the web. Even if the majority of your sales are not online, you need customer service that is. You may not have the resources available to answer questions around the clock, but your customers should have online options which exceed your normal business hours.
- Your website should be its own customer service center. Your content itself should be informative about who you are, what you do, and what you want your customers to do. Your products and services page should be thorough. Be sure that you have created a frequently asked questions (FAQ) page that gives the most detailed and up-to-date information your company has to offer. This resource should give answers to basic questions about products, services, and your business, eliminating the need for you to respond to multiple inquiries about the same thing. This page alone can save you time and money without ever actually having to interact with the customer first hand. Revise your FAQ page based on repetitive inquiries you receive and any information that changes with time, ensuring the information is accurate. If you are able, make an online representative available to answer questions or concerns via chat from your website.
- E-mail is a pretty basic way to offer solutions to your customers online. Try to be available as often as possible to respond to e-mail inquiries and issues. This allows your customers to reach you without an exact timeline, but with a quicker respond than waiting until the next business day. The worst mistake you can make is letting customers expect something they will not receive, including immediate customer service. Most companies will give a window of 24 hours for e-mail responses. This is more than enough time to get them the answers they need.
- Social media is the newest and truest when it comes to excellent online customer service. Facebook, Twitter, G+, and the like can be accessed around the clock from a computer, tablet, or mobile phone. It’s apparent that large corporations are very likely already beating you out when it comes to response time. Xbox, being one of the best companies when it comes to customer service, has an online response time of under 5 minutes. And that’s 24 hours a day. You may not be able to keep up with your tweets at all hours of the night, but you should have someone who does for the majority of the day and evening. With the speed of technology and the height of innovation, we can only anticipate the trend of constant contact and immediate gratification to increase. You have to keep up with the resources available to customers now, and plan for the future of online business.
Creating a complete customer service experience by offering a number of online resources will help your business stay on top and increase customer satisfaction. Value your customers, and let them know you do so by being available for their needs as often as possible and through multiple platforms.
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