The following is a guest post by Roy Rasmussen, co-author of “Publishing for Publicity.” Roy is a freelance copywriter who helps small businesses get more customers and make more sales.
In today’s mobile society, consumers have come to expect instant service. Thirty-two percent of customers who complain about a brand through social media expect a response within a half hour, and 42 percent expect a response within an hour. When it comes to phone service, two-thirds of customers are only willing to wait two minutes or less, and over one in ten customers aren’t willing to wait at all. Over 14 percent of customers don’t even bother calling customer service because they assume the wait will take too long.
These numbers mean that if you’re not handling customer service inquiries quickly, you’re risking losing a significant percentage of customers. Here are four ways you can boost your customer satisfaction and retention rates by providing faster real-time service.
Offer Self-Service Options
The fastest service you can offer customers is self-service. Ninety-one percent of customers say they will use an online knowledge database for self-service if it is provided and tailored to their needs. Adding a knowledge database where customers find answers to their most frequently-asked questions can drastically reduce your customer service workload, freeing up your representatives to respond more quickly to customers who truly need assistance.
You can identify customers’ most frequently-asked questions by keeping track of which queries visitors type into your search bar and by keeping statistics on what types of inquiries your representatives field most often. G2 Crowd provides reviews of today’s leading self-service software options, which include Zoho Desk, Zendesk, and TeamSupport.
Use a Cloud Contact Center
One thing that can slow customer service replies down is managing multi-channel inquiries. For instance, a customer may initially talk to one agent on live chat, then talk to another agent on the phone and end up following up with a third agent via email. If your customer has to repeat what they said to each new agent, it wastes time and can become frustrating.
You can speed up multi-channel ticket resolution by using a cloud contact platform that lets your customer service team manage all tickets from a single interface, where they can see what was said during previous contacts with the customer instead of having to ask the customer to repeat everything. If your team members are equipped with a fast, secure smartphone such as the iPhone 7 Plus, they can use their mobile device as a central interface for handling customer inquiries from all media. Capterra provides an overview of some popular cloud contact center solutions, such as Aspect Zipwire, Desk.com, and Freshdesk.
Offer Live Chat Support
One of the fastest ways to handle customer service inquiries is to provide live chat support. Automated chatbots can initiate live chat conversations with customers and handle frequently-asked questions while identifying inquiries that require a human response. Your human representatives can handle multiple live chat conversations at one time, resulting in much faster response time than other channels. Live chat is especially useful for handling customer questions during the purchase process. Forty-four percent of online consumers say offering live chat support during online purchases is one of the most important features a website can include.
Use Phone Auto Attendants
To speed up handling of customer phone inquiries, one of the best tools available is the phone auto attendant. Auto attendants enable you to offer menu options that quickly categorize customer inquiries and route them to the appropriate personnel, saving time and making optimal use of your human resources. Software Advice provides a guide to some of the best auto attendant options.
Self-service knowledge databases, cloud contact centers, live chat and auto attendants can all help you leverage automation to streamline your customer service management and expedite handling of service tickets. Delivering customers faster service in real-time is a sure way to boost your customer satisfaction rates, multiply your sales and grow your profits.