Good customer service is crucial to have a successful business. In the United States, customer service cannot be understated: customers are willing to pay up to 17% more for a business with better service.
It is estimated that, due to lack of good customer service, American companies lose more than $62 billion annually.
Because of COVID-19 and the increase in the use of smartphones, many customers have migrated to online shopping. But it doesn’t matter if your business is in the construction, logistics, or food industry; offering excellent online customer service is vital.
That’s why we have created this article: to help you solve all the questions you might have about offering customer service in the digital world. We are also sharing the best tips to improve your online customer service.
Traditional Customer Service vs. Online Customer Service
Most of us are used to dealing directly with clients. The success of your business depends on our ability to communicate with our clients. And I don’t know about you, but I pretty much rather hear and see the other person. And there lies the most obvious difference between these two.
In one, you have face-to-face contact with the customer; the other is completely virtual.
But the reality is that there are other more subtle differences. For example, one of them offers a more personalized experience. Do you know which one?
Believe it or not, online customer service is more customizable (despite being through a screen and not face to face).
You can send emails with the customer’s name, you can offer personalized offers depending on purchases they made in the past. On the contrary, it’s more difficult to know all the customers’ names or exactly what they have bought before in a physical store.
Another difference is that traditional customer service is not as proactive.
For example, when you go to a physical store, you are at the mercy of whether the employees have the necessary information or whether they are available. But online customer service is different: you can create blog posts or videos that solve customer questions and problems even before they arise. That is why it’s proactive.
Maybe now you’re feeling more convinced about offering online customer service. But where to start?
The Economic Benefits of Having an Online Customer Service
It is said that 70% of the shopping experience is based on how the customer felt treated. Excellent customer service is a huge advantage that can differentiate us from our competition.
When a customer is not happy with their shopping experience, they will most likely change supplier.
Businesses that offer quality customer service have a profit of 4% to 8% higher than other businesses in the same industry.
Customers recognize and reward when we treat them well. The relationship between profit and customer service is obvious.
52% of customers claim to have repurchased from a company after a good shopping experience. Repeated customers translate into an increase in profits only when we have good customer service.
Times have changed. Today, most of our clients do everything on their smartphones and expect businesses to offer customer service on the internet. That’s why you must also adopt the digital transformation and adapt your business.
Where you can offer online customer service
Today, there are many, many ways to interact with our customers. So, it’s easy to lose sight of our clients if we’re unsure which channels we can use.
At Camino Financial, we have detected the most common channels that people use to communicate with businesses:
This is possibly the most direct way clients have to solve any situation or problem. While this method is not online, per se, we included it in this list because there’s no face-to-face contact with the client.
It is increasingly common for businesses to have profiles on social networks because they are a great way to communicate with customers.
Many people prefer to use email to communicate and write their questions or comments.
If you have a website, a live chat is a fast and direct way to solve customer questions and concerns in real-time.
Many people are comfortable communicating via text messages (think on WhatsApp, for example).
People like to rate their shopping experiences using sites like Google or Yelp. These platforms are also a great way to create a dialogue with customers.
As you can see, there are many communication channels. And the truth is that many customers prefer these online options to more traditional ones.
How to Start Offering Online Customer Service
Don’t worry; it’s very easy. Here are some recommendations to start you on your digital customer service journey:
- Your current channels: What are your social networks? How can you communicate with your clients? Can the public find your contact information easily? If you don’t have any ways to communicate with clients, go to the next point.
- Open new channels: If you don’t have any social profiles, now is a good time to start (we recommend using Facebook). If you already have them, it may be wise to focus only on the important ones. Remember, it’s important that your business information is on Google so anyone can find it.
- Make a list of your most common cases: When a client contacts customer service, what do they need? By listing your customers’ most common needs, you can give better service and train our team to serve them as they deserve.
At Camino Financial, we don’t want anyone to be left behind. That’s why we have business loans with which you can leverage new customer service strategies.
10 tips to improve your online customer service
1. Incorporate a signature in your email
A digital signature with your name and the branding of your company can help give credibility to your business and improve the customer service experience
What is a digital signature? It’s the banner that usually is found at the end of an email. It tends to have basic information about the sender and their business.
You don’t need to be an expert designer to have a professional-looking signature. Use this free email signature generator.
2. Breathe new life into social media
Try uploading content to that forgotten Facebook page you created some time ago. It is important that you always share fresh content on your social networks so that customers can find what they are looking for.
IMPORTANT: You should check your social media several times a day (not just once or twice a week). Answering messages or comments ASAP can be the difference between good and bad customer service.
3. Don’t forget other sites
Make sure you also pay attention to Google and Yelp.
Remember to check your reviews on these search engines. The thing with reviews is that it’s always better to answer all of them: both positive and negative.
4. Everything must be up to date
Ensure your contact information is up to date and add your social networks and email address in all your channels. This way, you will achieve that your clients manage to contact you when they need it. From Google, Facebook, Yelp, email, and any other channels you have, make sure to always have updated information (like telephone number, website, etc.).
5. Automate your customer service with an application
Many tools can help you automate your online customer service (and thus making your life easier). Don’t worry; there are solutions for all budgets and business sizes.
For example, for telephone calls, there’s OpenPhone, that transforms your smartphone into a call center.
Hootsuite, Zendesk, Freshdesk, Atomat, ClickDesk, and Reply.ai can help you do several things: from answering messages on social networks more easily to creating bots and having better management of customer needs.
What are bots?
They are artificial intelligence programs that automatically answer messages. Just imagine that they’re robots that are trained to chat with your customers.
6. Create communication etiquette
Always address customers with a pleasant tone and seek to provide the best possible service. Create an etiquette manual for you and your employees. This manual should talk about both online and traditional services.
7. Train your team so that everyone knows how to give excellent service
It is important that clients feel that they are being treated well, no matter which person on your team is talking to them. Make sure to train your entire team so they know how to act with customers and how to react to certain situations.
8. Learn from your mistakes
The truth is that absolutely all businesses have complaints and bad reviews. But you have to try to understand them and try to find ways to solve whatever problem created that complaint. It is not about making excuses but about finding a solution that works for both parties.
All businesses have lost customers due to a mistake, that’s normal, but it is our responsibility to prevent that from happening again.
9. Conduct satisfaction surveys
To better understand customers and their needs, you can ask them some questions to let you learn more about their experience (you could send this survey in an email). The information you obtain should be used to improve your customers’ shopping experience.
This is proactive customer service!
10. Maintain an open line of communication with your clients
Let them know that you care about them and make them feel like they can reach out to you whenever they need you, for whatever reason.
Keep growing your business
As you can see, online customer service is crucial to the success of our businesses. It is very easy to implement, and we invite you to give it a try.
We also understand that the digital world might be something new for you, and it is not so easy to adopt all these changes overnight. But don’t worry; we are here to help you smooth out the process.
We invite you to read more about technological challenges small businesses face and how to enter the digital age with our guide:
We know that adding new services or buying software or apps can represent an unexpected expense for your business. At Camino Financial, we don’t want any business to be left behind, and we offer loans that can help you leverage new strategies in your company.
We can help you grow your business.