Customer service used to be relatively straightforward. Businesses would list a single phone number for people to get the help they needed. Today, things are a bit more complicated.
As companies make themselves available on a variety of platforms, channels, and mediums, technology has infinitely multiplied the ways that we are able to communicate. People want answers when, where, and how they want them – whether that means over the phone, by email or text, in a chat box, through Facebook, on Amazon, and so on.
For many small and mid-sized businesses, it simply isn’t possible to offer dedicated 24/7 support across channels by real living, breathing people. But you can still employ an omnichannel strategy to ensure your customers get the same level of support no matter how they reach you.
How do you do this without emptying the company coffers? Follow these five simple tips.
Self-service is the best customer service.
In fact, 75% of people say they find self-service convenient. 67% actually prefer finding the answers themselves over working with a customer service representative. This is great news for all businesses, because getting people to help themselves is the easiest, most cost-effective form of customer service.
So how can you use this self-service in your omnichannel strategy? Create a list of frequently asked questions or a knowledge database that people can access anywhere, anytime. On shopping channels that allow you to do so, upload the FAQ document itself. If you aren’t able to do this, include a link to it.
If the majority of people solve issues on their own using information you provide, it will improve the experience of everyone who needs help. Customers will appreciate not having to take the extra step of reaching out to the company – and those who do end up contacting you will have shorter wait times and more attentive sales people.
Provide excellent training and monitor communications.
You’re only as good as your customer service representatives. They should all be well trained – and trained in the same way across all platforms – so that everyone receives the same level of service no matter how they get in touch.
Additionally, it’s a smart idea to frequently monitor customer service interactions to ensure your brand is being represented the way you want.
Only offer support through mediums you can handle – but list contact information everywhere.
The idea of offering support through every medium possible – from email and chat to Amazon and Instagram – may sound like a good idea, but unfortunately, it’s not always feasible. You can spread yourself too thin. If you tell customers they can reach you in a dozen different ways but you really only regularly check two or three, it can do a lot of damage to your reputation.
The goal should not be to provide reliable phone service while email inquiries go unchecked for days at a time; nor do you want to respond in near-real time to Amazon customers while people trying to contact you through your main site never hear back. An omnichannel strategy means being consistent.
In this case, it’s better to provide excellent service using two or three main platforms – phone, email, and text, for example. Offer this information about how to get in contact with you for customer support on every channel where you have a presence.
What if your resources are tight but the specific site or channel in question requires you to communicate through them? Integrate them into an existing system you have. For example, make sure you have alerts set up to inform your email support team when a message comes in through Amazon, so they know when and how someone is trying to get in touch.
Document all interactions – and make them available to everyone in customer service.
One of the most hated aspects of going through customer service is being transferred from person to person – or department to department – and having to repeat information over and over.
You can alleviate this issue by maintaining detailed customer profiles that document all interactions in a central location – regardless of the platform on which those interactions occur. In other words, a single customer profile should contain information from phone calls, emails, texts, social media interactions, and so on. This way, whoever the customer speaks to will have all the information they need to help available right in front of them.
Keep track of all orders in a single location.
Did the customer order from your store? Your website? An online marketplace? Simply finding an order can be complicated if you don’t have a centralized system in place.
This can also cause problems with overselling, since it makes it more difficult to track inventory levels in real time. And few things are more frustrating than placing (and paying for) an order that never shows up, only to learn later that the order was cancelled or delayed because it wasn’t in stock.
You need a way to keep track of every order as you receive it. For example, GoOrderSync can pull data from a variety of online marketplaces (Amazon, eBay, and so on) and send it to your compatible shopping cart, such as 3Dcart, Magento, and Shopify.
From here, you can take it one step further. If your shopping cart platform allows you to do so, you can set up an automatic updates to notify customers about order status. This will streamline the process for both your customers and your customer service team – and isn’t that the ultimate goal of an omnichannel customer service strategy?