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Four Ways to Improve Your Customer Service

By Drew Hendricks June 22, 2016

It should come as a given that pleasing customers is key for good business. Providing consumers with a service or product and making the whole transaction easy and beneficial to them increases the chances that those customers will return to your business and that your business spreads via word of mouth. In fact, 3 in 5 American consumers are willing to switch companies if it means finding a better customer experience, and it’s estimated that U.S. businesses lose $41 billion every year to poor customer service alone.

In today’s world, customer service is the battleground upon which every business war will be fought. It’s no longer enough to give a phone number or email address and let customers contact you if they need assistance because the nature of consumer trust has changed. Instead, consumers are skeptical, so businesses need to engage them every step of the way, anticipating their questions and providing them the right resources and tools to convert them into paying and returning customers.

To better convert and support your customers, here are 4 ways to improve your customer service.

1. Help customers help themselves

The first step to creating great customer service is to provide consumers with every resource they might need. This means including FAQs, search bars, and customer service contact information on your website. Make sure to regularly monitor customer behavior and search patterns through web analytics platforms like Google Analytics so that you can understand what users are looking for and the search terms they use. Then, you’ll be able to create a sophisticated text search for your site, ensuring that when a consumer types a query into your search bar, they can find what they are looking for, even if their keywords don’t entirely match your product descriptions. Not only does this ease the burden of your customer service team and save them time, but it also makes for a better customer experience. 67% of consumers prefer self-service help options when available, so give them the tools to help themselves and keep your customer service platform leaner at the same time.

2. Offer a live chat

To increase your website’s conversion rate, offer a live chat for visitors. The live chat window should be sticky and stay in the same place on the visitor’s browser regardless of what page they go to on your site. If they have a question, visitors can ping your live chat window and get an answer to their question quickly, without having to leave that web page or go through any hassle. Studies show that live text chats can do everything from boost customer satisfaction to increase sales, so utilize this tool and get ahead of businesses that don’t yet offer a chat window. Don’t forget that a live chat is financially beneficial too because it reduces interactions that go through a contact or call center, and one representative is able to handle multiple chats whereas a phone representative can only help one person at a time.

3. Start an SMS campaign

Did you know that 98 percent of text messages are opened? Compare that to an average email open rate of roughly 30 percent, and the huge potential of customer reach through SMS is readily apparent. You don’t want to spam your customers’ numbers, though, so use SMS sparingly and for appropriate situations. Texting customers is most effective when the message is short and conveys information that is immediately useful to customers, such as a reminder for an upcoming appointment or a notification for such special short-term offers as daily discounts or promotions. Make sure that customers sign up for SMS notifications and that it is easy for them to unsubscribe if they so choose, given that text messages can be an invasive form of communication of unsolicited. However, if consumers sign up for it, an SMS campaign is a great way to engage your target audience and is worth the investment; SMS campaigns have a click-through rate of 36 percent, which is much greater than the roughly 3 percent rate for email campaigns.

4. Show proof of positive customer experiences

If you have great customer service, flaunt it. In today’s world, consumers care as much about their experience with a business as the benefits of the service or product they purchase. 55 percent of customers are willing to pay more for a guaranteed positive experience, and that guarantee can come in the form of publicly showing previous customers’ positive experiences. Utilizing video testimonials on your website or linking to your Yelp or Trustpilot page help to humanize your company and show that you care about your customers and work hard to satisfy them.

Improvements in customer service ultimately require a focus on your audience and making sure their needs are met. Use these tips to improve your customer service, but don’t forget that great customer service depends on two factors: caring about your customers and listening to what they have to say.

Edited by Stefania Viscusi
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