As more and more people turn to online markets to fill their needs, the nature of customer service has shifted. With endless points of contact between your customers and your business, it is imperative to find solutions that produce the best possible experience of your brand to stand out among the crowd.
Add the pandemic to the mix, and this whole trend, years in the making, has been accelerated even more. Here are some effective communication best practices for bringing your customer service to the next level.
1. Uniform experience across all channels
More than half of all consumers start their journey scrolling on their mobile phones. To the unwary, this might seem like a note to really beef up your mobile platform. While it’s important to have a good mobile platform, customers tend to move between mobile, desktop, and tablet interfaces when completing their orders. If you can’t offer a smooth transition from one device to another, you will find yourself losing sales and customers.
The best solution for this is integrating Omnichannel interfaces with your customer experience. Not only does it create up to 89% customer retention, but it also simplifies your customer service work. A good omnichannel platform will integrate your invoicing, inventory systems, and data support all while giving the customer real-time contact with your customer service team should they need a little help.
2. Keeping it simple
This is layered. It’s not just about keeping the options in your store simple, which itself leads to a much higher conversion rate. Rather, “simplicity” should be your guiding principle for all your systems and communications strategies. From point of sale to direct contact; the less complex you make it, the more your customers will want to keep coming back.
3. A personal experience
Gone are the days of the one-size-fits-all customer engagement strategy. No two people are the same, and so no two interactions can be the same, either. Fortunately, we live in an age where data on individuals’ spending habits, political views, and personal preferences are readily available. Using in-app survey tools, it’s even likely that people will tell you what you didn’t already know. In a study, nearly 90% of customers were found to be willing to divulge personal data through rewards and consumer loyalty programs.
Customers want to feel heard. They want to feel valued, like the brands they frequent are a loyal friend rather than just some service provider. If you do personalization the right way, you will find customer loyalty jumps up considerably, and new customers come to you through consumer advocacy.
4. The human touch
There is a growing push for the tech industry for CX to embrace automation. With chatbots, automated call screening, and AI getting more and more advanced, it can be easy to buy into the hype. On review, however, most customers still prefer human interaction to AI. As of 2019, that was a full 86% of customers preferring human agents to AI systems.
That means while integrating smart tech into your customer engagement systems is a good idea, at least for the foreseeable future it makes more sense to use those automated systems to triage your customer service department. Having chatbots connect your customer to a specialized agent who can navigate the nuances of the customer’s issue in real-time, without needing to repeat themselves again and again, is the key to this. If you’ve implemented a simple system, you’ll find this easier to achieve.
5. Compassion in difficult times
The year 2020 has been a very difficult year. So many people have lost their livelihoods, lost family members and friends, and had their way of life completely up-ended. Worse still, the culture of outrage and confusion which has spread from these reasonable fears and anxieties has shaken people to the core. More and more people have turned to online markets to meet their needs for fear of going out. That means more money for e-commerce platforms, but it also means less human interactions for everyone involved.
The best customer service for times like these is compassion and understanding. Creating room for direct communication with a live agent, actually following through and implementing customer feedback, and responding with empathy to customer concerns not only shows your customers that you hear them; it shows you care. In an epoch of anger and fear, genuine compassion stands out like the sun on a cloudy day.