The quality of customer support not only plays a big role in the profitability of a company but also determines the number of loyal customers. As recent reports suggest, 55% of customers are willing to pay more for a better experience. Although bringing in a new rush of customers makes sense, however, loyal customers continue to engage with a business, thereby compensating for the cost incurred on gaining new customers.
- In this age of unprecedented connectivity, it’s difficult to limit customer support to a single channel. Customers no longer prefer taking the conventional routes such as email and calls to reach out to a business. Instead, they look for avenues to establish instant connections and get their questions answered.
- If customers face a problem in reaching out to a business, it results in tremendous dissatisfaction; that transforms to a loss in revenues.
The smartest way for a company to avoid such a scenario is to be accessible via all major channels on which their customers are active and expressive. That accessibility can be exhaustive to manage without the assistance of customer support software. Based on their nature, different channels have varied modes of communication and so, the necessity for diverse support systems and software.
Website Based Customer Support
When purchase-ready customers visit a company’s website, here’s what they usually expect:
- Information about the product - features, limitations, how to get started
- Information related to purchase - cost, payment method, discounts
Many a time, customers who are ready to make a purchase back out due to lack of information or timely support. When information is presented well on a website, customers are more likely to get engaged that enhances the likelihood of conversion. The more transparent a company is when presenting product and purchase related information, the more trust it is likely to get from customers.
One of the best ways to establish trust with customers is by increasing support and accessibility. Companies that are inaccessible are often considered less trustworthy than those that are, unless they have sufficient automated communication systems to ensure customer satisfaction.
Tool Based Customer Support
There are two types of software that companies can use to provide excellent website based customer support - live chat software and website analytics software.
Live chat software
Live chat software such as ProProfs Chat can help companies simulate the retail store experience for customers, with live support while they “browse through” options. The idea is to provide instant answers and solutions for issues that customers might face while browsing through a website, leading to an instant boost in conversion rates.
If you aren’t convinced of why you should use live chat software, read “4 Interesting Reasons Why You Should Implement Live Chat on Your Website Today”.
Website analytics software
Website analytics software can help companies understand customer behavior on a website, allowing them to improve the experience using real-time data. The idea is to identify problem areas on a website and work for a solution to provide a gratifying experience to the customers.
Social Media Based Customer Support
Reducing customer effort is critical in improving a company’s customer support experience. This is why customer support over social media has expanded by over 250% in a short span of two years. It’s quite obvious why customers prefer social media than other channels to reach out - it’s instant, and provides a more personalized experience than conventional mediums such as email and calls.
When a company provides customer support on social media, here’s what becomes important:
Response speed. Customers drop their query or grievance message in a matter of seconds and they won’t understand why companies take hours to respond. Facebook even gives out badges to companies that respond quickly.
Empathy. When customers vent, they expect companies to listen. One of the reasons why customers choose social media apart from convenience is the hope of getting their concern addressed quickly.
It can be a challenge to keep track of all the conversations that customers have involving a brand on social media. Sometimes, customers may forget to tag a brand and simply type its name instead. Such a situation will not only leave the customer disappointed when they don’t receive a response but also leave the brand vulnerable to the interpretation of that customer’s followers.
When sales/customer support personnel personally reach out to customers via social media, it can have a positive influence on brand reputation. If a company has sales/support personnel who are influential on social media, they can even have a positive effect on brand exposure, awareness, and perception.
There are two types of software that companies can use to provide excellent social media customer support - content curation/social media management software and social media monitoring software.
Content curation/social media management software
Social media management software can help companies establish their sales/customer support personnel as informed and influential industry experts on social media. The idea is to use such a tool to curate industry news and trends and have the employees share them, with @mentions that the tool recommends to increase brand exposure and influence. These articles can also help customers who follow these employees get more value from interacting with a brand.
Social media monitoring software
Social media monitoring software can help companies listen and sort through conversations on social media. The idea is to identify the most important conversations and respond to them first.
Phone/Voice Based Customer Support
Voice-based customer support is one of the most traditional ways companies attend to customer queries. This type of customer support dates back to before when the internet was democratized. It continues to exist until today for specific reasons:
Voice-based support forces an instant response. If a customer calls a company, he/she stays on the line until a definite response or resolution is given. Some companies such as Apple offer customers the call-back option, eliminating even the smallest of hurdles on the call while waiting for a response.
Almost everyone today owns a mobile device. It takes very little for any customer to find a company’s customer support contact number and make a call. Google makes it even easier with its instant call integration.
One of the challenges of offering voice-based support is managing all the tokens. At any given time, based on the size of a company, it may have anywhere between 10s to 100s or 1000s of customer support calls.
Some companies find it beneficial to outsource the effort. While this could cut-costs and ensure a larger workforce to manage more calls, it can limit the extent of support each caller can receive.
Kevin Hale, customer experience whizz, suggests assigning customer support to engineers and other people responsible for the development of the product. This is done to ensure that bugs in software are fixed immediately and don’t recur as customer complaints.
There’s only one type of software can help you improve voice-based customer support, which is the call center or help desk software.
Call center software
Call center software help companies register and manage their customer support tokens. The idea is to ensure that all calls are attended to the best way possible. Some of these software also allows for call recording so companies can review the performance of their agents and help them attend to customers in a better way.
FAQ, Documentation & Video Support
FAQ, documentation and video support can resolve a lot of issues without consuming a company’s human resources. Ideally, this form of support should be treated as the last resort because it doesn’t allow for personal interaction and relies on static information, but it can still cut your customer support workload to half when implemented properly.
Effective FAQs have the following in common:
- They are well-organized. Common issues are sorted into the right categories and are structured according to a customer’s expectations.
- They only include actually frequently asked and not what companies believe are frequently asked. The best FAQs are a result of research and observations made from actual customer support queries.
- They also include anticipated issues that companies can predict their customers are likely to have.
- They are clear, detailed and visual where possible.
It is possible to turn FAQs into the video format to make it more engaging and effective.
Instructional videos can function as both support and product marketing, allowing a company to resolve common support issues while also selling product features. They may require more of a time and effort investment to create than text-based videos but can be more effective in terms of issue resolution.
It’s important for companies to supplement whichever form of support they choose with adequate documentation to clarify its statements. The more detailed or comprehensive the support documents, the less likely customers are to seek additional support.
Software to Provide Excellent Support via FAQs, Documentation, and Video
There are endless types of tools that companies can use to find common queries or create video content.
FAQ research software
One type is any software that a company can use for research. Keyword recognition software allows users to search multiple websites for specific keywords. This software registers and reports questions including mentioned keywords. Companies can use such software to run quick searches across competitors’ domains for the FAQ.
Video creation software
Video creation software help companies create videos easily, so it becomes less of a hassle to update videos or create new ones when there’s a software update. The idea is to eliminate the need for external help, so the videos are accurate, timely and up to date.
Email Based Customer Support
Email support is an important support channel, especially for eCommerce and SaaS businesses. Where volumes of support requests are high, or there’s a necessity for elaborate support, emails come in handy. Email gives a company time to respond, but it’s important not to take that fact for granted and wait too long before responding.
Great email based support has the following characteristics:
It’s fast. Customers are likely to wait longer for email support than social media support, so a company’s email support doesn’t have to be instant. Regardless, many companies choose to set auto-responders, just so their customers know that their request has been received and will be resolved.
It’s conclusive. Customers don’t like waiting for a response that doesn’t solve their problem. Even if the response takes longer than it would otherwise, it’s best to send a response that correctly addresses whatever a customer is facing.
It’s open-ended. The best customer support emails push recipients to write back if their issues are not resolved.
Managing customer support via email can be challenging because of large volumes of tickets. It can also be challenging if a company doesn’t have an effective system setup for internal communication and resolution.
Software to Provide Excellent Support via email
Based on the email service used, there are different software that can help with email support.
Help desk software
Help desk software can help companies log, sort and assign support queries within inboxes. The idea is to efficiently manage inflow and attend to all queries.
Companies that use Gmail can get similar benefits from using HiverHQ where emails can be labeled, sorted, assigned or scheduled to return to an inbox at a later time.
The ultimate customer support system covers important bases. It ensures that customers get the support they need, how they need it and when they need it.