When you think of customer service, websites rarely come to mind. Instead you probably envision smiling faces and helpful staff guiding customers through the buying experience or handling a question or concern for an existing customer. However, the world is changing, and many consumers want a new kind of customer service; they want one that is accessible to them night and day, without having to talk to or interact with anyone in person. That is where the website can actually enhance customer service experience.
Here are 5 examples:
1. Product information.
Consumers are more shopping savvy than ever, and do much of their purchasing online. This is largely because they want to shop around and research their purchases before actually committing to them without the annoyance of sales people pushing them to buy. Providing detailed product information on the site is the key to appealing to this type of consumer. Websites that provide extensive product information give customers first-rate service by letting them research the products in their own time and manner, whether it is on their smart phone or while on a conference call at work.
2. Access to account information.
Instead of waiting on hold to ask a question regarding an account, many consumers prefer to be able to look up their information on their own. The best customer service is often to actually let them serve themselves. Having billing statements and payment options available on a website allows these busy consumers to keep abreast of where their account is at on their own schedule. Make sure to offer ways for them to update their profile, which will save them the hassle of calling in just to change an address or phone number when they move.
3. Live chat.
A great way to combine traditional customer service with the web savvy consumer is to offer live chat on a website. Live chat services allow the customer to browse on their time, but still ask questions as they arise and receive instant feedback from a live representative. This allows the customer to multi-task without being tethered to a phone line, but also allows specific questions to be answered immediately.
Frequently asked questions and their answers are another way to give the customer what they want, right at their fingertips. All industries have common questions about their service or products that can be summed up in a convenient guide on a website. A great example of this is the IRS. As hard as it may be to get an actual IRS agent on the phone, the IRS website gives a huge amount of information to people through their FAQ section for all kinds of tax concerns.
5. Provide personal incentives.
Websites can be used to provide personal offers and incentives to consumers. Whether it is a first time customer or a returning shopper, websites can track preferences and offer suggestions based on the consumers purchasing habits. This allows a shopping experience that is geared toward the consumer’s individual wants and needs. Using the website interface to give the consumer better products or services, or to receive better discounts, leads to customer loyalty and satisfaction.
Although there are many industries that still require a face-to-face interaction, or at least a phone-to-phone conversation, many companies can enhance their customer service by having an interactive website for their customers. With more and more data being sent online and less actual conversations transpiring, it makes sense that even customer service should move onto the worldwide web. Ultimately, customer service is about providing the customer with what they need and want, so if what they want is online access and information, give it to them!
This article was first posted on Longhorn Leads.