6 types of online customer service you can implement today
Helping customers is such an essential part of your business strategy but did you know it’s also essential to your marketing strategy? As a business, it’s important to always think about how you can deliver value to both shoppers and customers. After all, your customers are your company’s most precious asset. If you don’t treat customers well, your reputation might spread, shrinking your customer base and dropping the size of your new customers.
Customer service is something you’ve probably thought about, yet it often gets pushed down the list when more important things are coming up. Especially if there is a different department you can pass the responsibility off to.
What if we told you that your customer service strategy could be immensely valuable to your marketing department?
The right customer service strategy helps your business keep customers happy, and brings your customer service team more insights on what works and what doesn’t, what can be improved, and how to do it. Your marketing team can then use your happy customers to improve their marketing efforts.
In this article, we’ll run you through the different types of customer service, and how you can create useful, unique and relevant content for each of them in order to create a seamless customer experience, and a flawless customer service.
The different types of online customer service
When your customer service team is repeatedly answering the same questions, it’s time to consider creating a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) section on your website. It’s a useful and easy way to add unique, relevant content and assist confused customers in the middle of their purchase journey.
An FAQ page lets you address common pain points to reduce the number of calls. We highly recommend organising your FAQ page by categories, to help your customers find the answer to their question faster, and understand your product or service better. It’s also recommended to make your FAQ pages accessible from any of your channels, such as a website, blog, social accounts. This will save both you and your customers a lot of time.
When first developing a FAQ, start by polling your customer service department and directly reaching out to customers to find the most common and important questions prospects may have.
- Make the FAQ page easy to navigate by creating different categories of questions and showing related questions on individual pages.
- Consider answering some of the questions in a tutorial, a short video, or by leveraging images to clarify your answers.
- Add a search bar that anticipates your customers’ questions as they type.
Help videos: demos or webinars
If you’ve recently spent some time on social channels, you’ve probably noticed that video has taken over. Video is a great way to share information quickly, clearly and efficiently. It’s also extremely useful for visual learners.
To keep your viewers engaged, aim for 1-minute long videos when it comes to demos, tutorials, or help videos, and half-an-hour for webinars, which can be dedicated to teaching customers how to make the most of your service or product.
- Create short explainer videos to help your customers find what they’re looking for, or to simply explain your brand’s concept.
- Keep the videos short to keep your customers fully engaged
- Share your most popular and useful videos on social channels
Check out this Pinterest video to see an example of a good explainer video.<iframe width="100%" height="" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/oJzD4vF5dFA" frameborder="0" allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" allowfullscreen></iframe>
As you can see, Pinterest keeps their video short, under two minutes, offers visual guidance on what they’re explaining and is great at communicating what Pinterest is and how people use it.
Your social accounts might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of customer service. However, when looking for answers, customers will be checking all of your brand’s channels. If they’re using Google to look for you, your social channels might be one of the first ones to show up, so it’s important to make sure you’re meeting expectations.
Social media has become an essential tool to reach out to customers and to help them too. Your social media manager or community manager should be trained to answer any question your customers can have or to guide them to the right place to get an answer to their question. By being responsive and helpful, you’re publicly showing potential customers how committed you are to your audience.
- Make sure that someone is constantly monitoring your social accounts and responding to customers as quickly as possible.
- Recycle your FAQ’s content and share explainer videos on your social channels
- In doubt, always share your customer service team’s contact details
See how Contextly quickly offers help to newly acquired customer.
Letting your customers speak for themselves
Word of mouth is one of the most powerful tools a company can leverage today. The truth is, 84% of consumers do not trust advertisements anymore. Instead, people trust UGC (user-generated content) more than anything else. Adweek found that 47% of millennials trust UGC, compared to 25% which trust content owned by brands.
By encouraging and sharing UGC, you’re letting your own customers create amazing content that will help other customers who are looking for answers. This can also help in creating a community place where customers can ask questions and get answers about your brand’s products and services. Online communities reinforce customer service, and help you create brand advocates out of every customers.
Passionate and loyal customers willing to help with basic questions add so much value to your brand image, and are important to the success of your community.
- Start small by utilising your social channels to engage with customers and activate your most passionate fans.
- By creating an online community, you’re showing new customers that existing customers support the brand beyond purchases.
- Consider choosing one of your brand advocates to manage the community and ensure information shared with other customers is correct and as helpful as possible
On-site live chats are another great customer service tool to engage with your existing and potential customers. They offer real-time convenience to customers and help your customer service team build stronger relationships with online shoppers.
Answering your customer’s questions and helping them out live and directly on-site means your business is more likely to resolve their issue quicker, keep them engaged and interested, and increase their confidence directly on your product page.
This keeps them focused and more likely to convert or complete their initial intent of purchasing. Kissmetrics found that “44% of online consumers say that having questions answered by a live person while in the middle of an online purchase is one of the most important features a Web site can offer.” They also suggest implementing live chat on any pages that are converting at a 2% rate or less.
- Don’t make the access to the chat over-complicated. Ask for your customer’s email address and order number, that should be enough to get the conversation started!
- Make the chat a pop-up widget on the right-hand side. You don’t want your customers to be looking for assistance, you want them to know it’s always here for them if they need it.
- Make your chat accessible outside of working hours. Not everyone shops and needs help from 9 to 5!
Is email too impersonal to deliver great customer service?
We don’t think so. Email is a great way to know you will be getting an answer to your question, especially when faced with closed live chats and closed phone lines outside of working hours.
Ever needed to chat to a customer service team after 6pm? Yes, we’ve all been through this, and it’s a struggle.
This is why the safest way to contact a customer service team is still email.
The key to a great customer service via email is to come across as a friendly brand who actually cares. Things are easily misinterpreted by email, so be extremely careful. You should also ensure that the first reply comes as soon as possible. Even if the message is merely to let the customer know they’ve received your message, it shows that your customer’s question or issue is being addressed.
- Use your customer’s first name, and whatever the issue is, always, always apologise.
- Offer one or more (ideally, more) solutions to your customer’s problem.
- If the customer replies to your email, make sure the same customer service assistant picks up the conversation. There’s nothing worse than having to explain your problem all over again.
Zappos, well known for their exemplary customer services replies to their customer in a whimsically entertaining way while still solving their customer’s problem. It’s this kind of reply that can go viral and improve a brand’s reputation dramatically.
Example of Zappos customer service email
Collecting reviews is an easy way to create fresh, up to date, and helpful content every day, as well as build a strong customer service using your own customers’ voice.
Some common questions are often answered in your customers’ reviews such as product quality, delivery, or a company’s return policy. Utilising reviews as a customer service tool allows you to answer some of your visitors’ questions via user-generated content.
Customer feedback is also another great way for you to assist customers having issues with their order, or thank loyal customers. Third-party review platforms allow you to interact with customers leaving online reviews, answer their questions, and help solve their issues.
Furthermore, you can use UGC across your marketing channels to improve engagement and conversion rates.
- Use online reviews to answer any questions your customers might have, or solve their order issues
- Use your customers’ feedback as insights to identify what your customer service team could improve
- Use user-generated content to answer some of your new visitors’ common questions
Providing different types of customer service will help your business achieve a great customer service, convert more visitors into customers, reduce churn and turn existing customers into loyal brand advocates.
Find out how both good and bad reviews can help you improve your customer service, download our 'Bad Reviews' report below.