The quality of your customer service is one of the most crucial factors that will make or break your business. You only have one chance to execute it right, or you may lose a customer for good. It’s actually more challenging to implement good customer service now in the digital age because it can only take one displeased customer to ruin your reputation. That person may just type a few characters on their devices, click “Post”, and the next thing you know, a hate post about your service has gone viral.
As dreadful as that sounds, it’s the reality of many small businesses. But improving customer service isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. Depending on the nature of your business, your products or services, and market, your approach should differ. But there are common denominators to every impeccable customer service, namely high-quality offerings, engagement, and responsiveness. Without those three, your customer service style may feel flat and forgettable.
And what better way to provide all those than technology? These days, it takes more than just a pleasing personality and calm demeanor to secure a customer’s trust, respect, and loyalty. Every business should utilize the right technology, some of which are the following:
1. Mobile-friendly Website
Many small businesses may only rely on social media or e-commerce platforms, but if you want to boost your legitimacy, buying a domain is the way to go. Creating your own website is a basic solution to serving your customers better. It provides a place for your catalog or menu, reviews, payments, and inquiries. If it’s mobile-friendly, you’d impress your customers even more, because they can access and navigate your website from any device without issues.
2. Mobile Apps
You can take your mobile-friendly website to the next level by offering an app version of it. After all, it’s easier to use apps when browsing from a smartphone. Plus, apps contain the necessary information about your business and the tools that allow you to interact with your customers. Sephora is a good example of an effective website and app. You can order products from it, track its shipping status, and view sales and deals the same way you would on their website.
If you visit a website (usually of a retail store or professional service) and see a pop-up on the side with a message greeting you, that’s a chatbot, an AI-powered tool that allows businesses to interact with their customers 24/7. Though only a bot will answer your questions initially, a customer service staff will eventually see it and respond. Many businesses are utilizing this technology already, as it speeds up response time.
Note, however, that the bot or virtual assistant cannot solve a customer’s problem, or handle their complaints. You still need a human staff for that. The chatbot only provides a faster channel for customers to relay their needs.
4. Customer Service Software
Customers, especially young ones, don’t usually call businesses anymore to inquire or complain. They now prefer communicating online. Hence, consider investing in customer service software to manage your customer relations with sophisticated data-collecting tools.
An example of an effective customer service software is ServiceNow. It is a ticketing tool that processes and catalogs customer service requests. With it, you can communicate with your customers in real-time, and provide solutions. The software is also useful for your company, as it lets you monitor your employees’ workflow.
Integrating ServiceNow in your business, however, is a little complicated, so you’d probably need a company that specializes in ServiceNow implementation. Your initial investment may be hefty, but it’ll yield returns of more satisfied customers and a more productive support team.
5. Big Data Analytics
57% of customers are willing to share personal data with companies that promise them personalized offers and discounts. As such, you need big data analytics to collect these useful data and keep them secured. Your customers’ personal data will also allow you to figure out their preferences, spending patterns, and expectations. From there, you can create offers that perfectly suit their behaviors.
Big data analytics can also help you predict your customers’ problems, allowing you to come up with a solution before it affects your relationship. The tailor-made solutions you’ll conjure will thereby earn you your customers’ increased trust and loyalty.
These technologies may sound intimidating for a startup, so don’t pressure yourself to have them right away. The basics, which are emails, instant messages, or direct mail, still work effectively today in serving customers. So while you’re not yet ready to go high-tech, utilize the basics and build a solid customer base from there. By the time you upgrade your technology, you would already have a promising number of loyal customers.