For many digital businesses, their website is the front line of contact for any customer queries. As a result, these companies may focus on offering digital-only customer service options: e-mail, chat, and video support. For businesses operating with online-only support options, it’s important to be focused on the right factors to ensure customers are satisfied and don’t go running to the competition. Here’s a closer look at how to keep your customers happy when they can only contact you online.
Response times matter: Timeliness is always a factor in customer service, and when customers are contacting you online it’s even more important. The top fears customers have when dealing with a digital-only business is whether or not your business is legitimate, and if their e-mails are going into a black hole. Put those fears to rest by creating clear policies on when they can expect to hear back from you—and ensure those policies are honored. Consider a timeline of no longer than 24 hours for any query received during business hours or the next business day for a question that comes in on a holiday or day off.
Create an automatic acknowledgement: How many times have you sent a message through a website contact form and then wondered if it was received? Avoid this common issue with online support by creating an automatic acknowledgment. An automated message should go out to any person who e-mails your company or uses a support form. The message can simply say their communication has been received, and reiterate your company’s customer service response times.
Humanize your agents: It’s easier to build trust when a customer is speaking to a named representative of your business. “Lori A.” immediately builds more trust than an agent known only as “Agent 1.” Consider the best way to build rapport with customers who are using online support options such as chat or e-mail. Displaying your customer service agent’s first name, photographs a location, or something that shows whether they are online now can all send the right signal.
Know when to escalate: If a customer service issue is not being resolved in the course of normal correspondence, it is important that agents know when to escalate a support request. For example, some companies successfully limit phone calls to customer service cases that require manager intervention; all routine matters can be resolved through e-mail or chat. Only when a customer is truly unhappy or the resolution to a problem is complex will a manager set up a phone call. This saves the company critical time and money, and it ensures that customer relationships, which may be in danger, are treated with the utmost care.
It is possible for businesses to offer customer support primarily online and still deliver a high level of customer satisfaction. By ensuring that responses are timely, thorough, and clear—and that customer service policies and managers are available when needed—you can control costs while giving each and every customer who contacts you a top-notch experience.