Well before the onset of COVID-19, buying trends among consumers were already tilting towards a huge increase in digital shopping. Now, with all of us practicing some form of social distancing, digital commerce is more prevalent than ever before.
With that boom, of course, comes a corresponding need to practice exemplary customer service online. Your customers are likely pretty sophisticated, and they expect their needs and wishes will be respected by every business. It’s your job, therefore, to ensure that digital customer service is as comprehensive and effective as possible.
According to Kustomer, an omnichannel CRM platform, digital customers are people who use “digital channels to connect with businesses, consume branded content and make purchases.” Various channels range from mobile devices to business websites, social media and email. Given these tools, customers “may communicate with brand representatives over live chat, email, text or the phone.”
Here are five digital customer service tips to keep in mind:
1. Meet customers where they live.
Companies should do everything possible to enhance every customer’s online buying experience (i.e., a more user-friendly website, simpler checkout and purchase functionalities, etc.), because—at least for now—that’s where most of us are doing our consuming.
Customers routinely switch between channels as part of their purchasing journey. This means they expect to move seamlessly from mobile to laptop and back again, if they so desire. Your responsibility is to maintain consistency among all the channels you offer to your clientele.
2. Employ Artificial Intelligence (AI) to enhance the customer experience.
AI and other automated self-service tools can help you meet customers’ demands for outstanding service. According to Search Customer Experience, areas of value in AI include:
• Directing messages to appropriate customer service representative
• Gathering data to improve communications with customers
• Easing access to live chat or other helpful chatbots
• Monitoring social media for the appearance of key trigger words
Investment in AI resources “will help to deliver personalized experiences based on identified customer choices and preferences across the customer journey, where businesses can also track for ongoing optimization.”
3. Focus on prompt responses to social media activity.
Customers regularly use social media to learn more about products, check customer reviews, make inquiries, etc. Any business committed to great digital service must have the ability to respond as soon as possible.
You can also be proactive in this area. Armed with “the megaphone of social media, you can have a positive, and sometimes negative, impact on a broad set of customers in a short period time,” says Small Biz Resources. By linking social media to customer service, “explaining the features of a product, rather than simply pitching the product, you’ll make a viable connection” with customers.
4. Look at customer service as a growth strategy.
Too often, businesses think of customer service as attending to a complaint or other negative feedback. Instead, it’s more valuable to consider this as a potential growth area. By cultivating an online relationship over time, you can come to anticipate new and emerging customer preferences, and act on them accordingly. You can also better train your customer service team and give them access to personalized data that enables them to home in on specific needs and wishes. This, in turn, can lead to a long-term, fruitful relationship.
5. Invest in a world-class website.
Digital customers are just that—people who visit a business website and decide whether or not to make a purchase. That’s why it’s so important to invest resources into creating and maintaining a world-class website.
As an exercise, click on your business site today and work through it as one of your customers might. Then ask yourself:
• Is a call-to-action prominently featured on different pages?
• Are we highlighting new sales items or other customer-generating activities?
• Does the presence of flash, photos and/or video content slow the customer experience?
• Is it easy or difficult to navigate from one page to the next?
• What’s the level of ease-of-use in the final step of the buying process (that is, getting to “Purchase Now”?
It’s essential that customers enjoy every aspect of their digital experience with your business.
Want to learn more about meeting digital customers’ demands? Register for our free TAB Boss Webinar, “Great Customer Service is a Design Activity.”