6 Key Steps to Digitising Your Customer Care Strategy
For customer experience and marketing leaders, digitising customer service is now more important than ever before.
Written by Colin Groves, Customer Services Director at FedEx UK
Expectations, especially those of the powerful millennial generation, for faster and more exceptional service continue to grow. Customer queries that until a few years ago had a 3-5 day turnaround now require a response within only a few hours, or even minutes when it comes to social media.
For many customers, getting contact information from a website is the first step to contacting a customer service team when problems arise. However, with the wide array of solutions now available, there are numerous avenues for businesses to explore providing exceptional digital customer care. From websites to social media interactions, each point of contact is important to your customer's experience, and can greatly shape how an individual views your business.
When competitors are offering many similar products and services, sometimes the only way to stand out is with additional tools and support. How your business reacts to and handles customer questions could be the defining moment, turning a one-time consumer into a true brand advocate.
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In order to improve the digital customer experience you provide, here are six top tips to guide you through some options.
1. Highly Efficient Website
Typically, a customer will go straight to your website when a problem arises, even if it's just to find contact information. Each webpage should be appropriately branded and simple to navigate. Most importantly, your contact information should be clearly listed on the homepage.
Why this helps: A well-organised website encourages your customers to make use of the self-service features and provide feedback. Constructive and even critical feedback can help you improve your customers' experience. When a customer first begins to explore your company and all that it offers, it's imperative that the information they're searching for can be found quickly and easily.
2. Virtual Assistant
The Virtual Assistant goes beyond using search engines for help. This programme, represented by a humanoid figure or avatar, is an interactive guide that helps your customers easily navigate your website and find the specific information they're searching for.
Why this helps: The instantaneous responses offer a more personalised service for your customer. Direct requests can be made to the Virtual Assistant, who then provides answers or guides users to further information which might help. This is a user-friendly, more advanced approach to the traditional FAQ sections of websites.
While the Virtual Assistant is more technologically advanced, the traditional FAQ is still essential for companies to provide quick solutions to common issues and questions. The best way to create an FAQ section is by analysing your customer service logs to see which questions are most frequently asked. Keeping a record will also help you update your FAQ section as issues change with the growth and development of the company.
Why this helps: A clear, comprehensible FAQ section allows your customer to solve basic issues on their own, regardless of the time of day. Self-service tools are an effective way to free up your customer service agents, who in turn can spend more time helping customers with more complex inquiries.
4. Social Media
Social media has become an indispensable marketing and communication tool for businesses including Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest. In some instances, customers may bypass company websites and head straight to social media for information, so having these options available can help attract and increase customer base.
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Why this helps: Social media is a great way to engage directly with customers and keep them continuously engaged with your brand. It enables personal connections with your customers and allows them to converse directly with the people behind the branding, creating valuable relationships. You can also use social media to ask for feedback and reviews, so that you're constantly aware of what your customers want and need.
5. Live Chat
The live chat function operates via an instant messenger platform featured on your website, which allows customers direct access to customer service representatives.
Why this helps: This mode of communication allows customers direct access to your service centre and is time-efficient for both parties. Though this sort of function requires more resources and maintenance than other options, it does offer you a chance to engage one-on-one with your customers without word counts, character limits, and at a time and place that suits them.
6. A Combination of the above
As recently as a decade or two ago, customer service was fairly straightforward: A phone call, a posted letter, or maybe even an email, would be the contact channel of choice. Fast forward to now and there's an expectation that a myriad of interactive tools should be readily available for immediate access to customer service.
By using a combination of the solutions mentioned earlier, you can have a choice of contact points available around-the-clock, meeting millennial expectations with an on-demand service, as well as the baby boomers who tend to gear more towards traditional (digital) channels.
The one thing to ensure is that all contact points are integrated into a single omni-channel strategy. Consistency is key, and whether your customers ask you a question on Twitter or pick up the phone, they should be receiving the same service through each available touch point.
About the author: Colin Groves is the Customer Services Director at FedEx UK.
Joining FedEx in 1997, Colin was initially responsible for the FedEx contact centres across all corners of Northern Europe, Middle East and India.
With over 18 years of experience in customer care, Colin now leads both Domestic and International Customer Service Operations in the UK and Ireland.