Digital & Social Media

3 Ways to Improve Online Customer Communication

Just because you’re talking through a screen doesn’t mean your customers no longer deserve respect and care.

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Much of customer service is increasingly done online. Whereas customers used to have two options to reach out to your company—visiting you in person or calling you over the phone—there are now many avenues for customers to communicate with you. But even though customer communication is so often done online, you still need to make sure you’re providing customers with top-notch service. In fact, now that so much of customer service takes place on the Internet, it’s more important than ever to have your digital strategy under control and to make sure your customers feel cared for. Here are three ways to improve online customer communication.

Let Customers Know What to Expect

What is the key to online communication? Expectations. Make sure you’ve made it absolutely clear in your various social profiles whether you respond to DMs. Your website should let people know the hours your e-mail hotline is manned and when they can expect a response. Most people understand that online help isn’t instantaneous, but they also appreciate knowing how long they’ll be waiting. Create a standard response time, and try as hard as you can to stick to it, perhaps giving yourself a bit of a buffer (if you almost always are able to respond to e-mails within 2 business days, say 3 days, just in case. Better to let people think it will take longer and let them be pleasantly surprised.)

Get Things to E-Mail

One of the trickiest parts of online customer service is how discombobulated it can feel. You have multiple avenues of communication with people sometimes utilizing more than one. It can help if you have one central location where you try to pull all inquiries. For instance, if you don’t want to be dealing with customer service issues through Twitter, responding to tweets with your customer service e-mail address helps people know their message was heard but encourages them to redirect. It will help keep things clear and organized, and e-mail is one of the easiest places to see communication history and know where you are on an issue at any given moment.

Know that Everything Is Public

What about that e-mail, Instagram DM, or chat box request? It may feel private—but it’s not. Nothing is ever private on the Internet. Go into every single interaction knowing the possibility that the customer will share your words publicly. Cancel culture and public shaming are real occurrences in our modern economy, and customer interactions are rarely kept quiet. As quickly as a negative customer experience could travel by word of mouth, it can go even further in today’s digital age. Always know that anything you’re saying could be shared.