Leveraging the Web for Better Customer Service
While most companies are aware that customer service is important to maintain business, they might not fully understand the real cost of bad customer service. When it comes to customer service, people favor interacting with a real person in order to get solutions or provide feedback. This assures the customer that their complaint/problem was heard and that they will be taken care of. More often than not, when a user calls a company, they are met with some kind of automated system to help guide them to their solution. An American Express survey found that 67% of customers have hung up the phone out of frustration of not interacting a real person. For some organizations it is not economically feasible to have a live 24/7 call support center to handle customer complaints. Fortunately, a website can provide a company with all sorts of tools needed to give consumers a great customer experience.
Did you know that for every customer that takes the time to complain, 26 other customers remain silent? One key to great customer service is that customer feedback should not be ignored and submitting this crucial feedback should be a painless process. A message board on your website can provide your consumers with the means necessary to provide feedback, good and bad alike. With this tool, your company could get real time feedback from customers and respond to their problems in a timely fashion. Other customers who might also have the same complaints could also view the message board and see that the problem is already being addressed, giving customers peace of mind and reducing the amount of feedback a company would have to sift through.
A websites message board could also be combined with a workflow process to provide customers with up-to-date issue tracking. For example, when a user orders something online, they can use the package tracking system and know where there package is currently located, letting their customer know that their package is moving through the system and preventing a potential phone call/message being sent. Using a message board in conjunction with a workflow can give your consumers the same peace of mind and transparency when it comes to their complaint. Each stage of the workflow can be communicated with the consumer via messaging or email, allowing the company to take an active approach to customer service.
Up to this point, we have been focusing on customer service as a means to help dissatisfied customers, but there is much more to customer service than this. What if your customers have questions on how your product works before the purchase is even made? According to an American Express survey, 78% of consumers have bailed on a transaction or have not made an intended purchase because of poor service experience. This kind of loss can be prevented by adding a blog to your website in order to answer these frequently asked questions. A company can create blogs with ease that users can search for by using key tag words. If a user has lost an instruction manual, a document and media library can be leveraged to allow users to download a copy whenever they want. It is these types of services that will keep customers happy and allow your company to thrive.
According to Alan Weiss, as a business you should ask your customers to be part of the solution, and don’t view them as part of the problem. Let me use an example to describe what he means. As a car guy, whenever I have an issue with my vehicle, I can usually find the solution posted by another car guy on a community forum. This forum, written by a customer for other customers has saved me time and money and has saved the company from several complaints as well. What should be taken from this example is that creating a community for your customers is key to their satisfaction and a forum is the perfect tool for it. A forum will allow users to discuss your product and allow others to comment on their posts. If you have a community that values your product or service, then they will want to help others with their issues as well and make your product grow.
If you find your company lacking the tools required to provide superior customer service, you should consider looking into portal technology. A portal framework would give your company website all the modern technology mentioned above in order to provide excellent customer service.