Long gone are the days when a customer would call your direct line or walk into your store to resolve a problem with their service. With various new avenues available to customers requesting support – including your website, social media page, call center, and more – the process of handling customer service has drastically increased in complexity.
However, with the right technologies, you can not only manage your customers’ support needs, but provide them with a better customer service experience than ever before.
The prevalence of business websites and social media profiles means that more and more customers are reaching out to businesses via these new channels – instead of through phone calls or in writing (now practically obsolete). Maintaining an active presence online is now one of the best ways to not only provide customer support, but to gain new customers and promote your business brand.
- Engaging in social media requires just that: engagement. Your social media profile is not a static page that you can fill with content and then abandon. You need to consistently provide new content and, even more importantly, you need to monitor customer comments posted to your profile. Don’t be part of the 70% of companies who don’t engage with their followers.
- Customer complaints that are publicly left unanswered not only drive away the original customers that complained, but also make new visitors to your profile reticent about engaging with you. The corollary to this: if you address customer questions and concerns as they’re posted, you’ll keep the customers you have and end up gaining new ones in the process.
It’s easy to keep track of customer purchases, complaints, and interactions with specialized customer relationship management (CRM) software. In recent years, CRM software has made numerous advancements in its functionality and capacity for integration with other software.
- You can invest in a cloud-based CRM program which enables you to access the software from any computer or mobile device. Or, you can purchase and install your CRM package on-premise and integrate it with your POS system, maintenance management software, website analytics, or other business programs for an all-encompassing dashboard for your business.
- CRM software can interface with your website ecommerce software to track a customer’s search history, time spent online, operating system, connection speed, and more. This provides your customer support reps with the context they need to fully understand a customer’s particular situation and address it accordingly.
Even in the wake of email, chat, and social as a means of contacting customer support, 90% of US consumers still would rather call you on the phone than by any other means (American Express 2011 Global Customer Service Barometer). Utilizing technology in your call center – whether it’s located in-house or outsourced – will provide your customers with the best possible customer support experience.
- Employ a virtual response system that will automatically siphon calls to the right representative based on the customer’s stated needs. Customers don’t want to be bounced from call rep to call rep – they’re happier when the first person they speak to is the one with the ability to solve their problem now.
- For customers who don’t know what they need – or who prefer to skip the automated menu – be sure that the first item on your menu enables them to directly access a live representative.
The many possibilities offered by technologies like social media, CRM software, and call center software will elevate your customer service to a level that is better than the rest. When you utilize emerging and established technologies in your business’s customer support processes, you can more effectively manage your customer relationships and provide a better overall experience.
Megan Webb-Morgan is a web content writer for Resource Nation. She writes about small business, focusing on topics such as business sales. Follow Resource Nation on Google+ and Twitter, too!