Time isn’t the main thing. It’s the only thing. - Miles Davis
Real-Time - A word so overpowering, that if you combine it with anything - customer support, communication, or collaboration, it completely changes the meaning of the entire concept.
Take, for instance, real-time customer support.
Customer support is something various businesses are good at, but here, we are talking about real-time customer support - which needs to be delivered at lightning-fast speed, without delays, and that’s the hard part.
With technology making in-roads in the lives of people today, expectations have increased, perceptions have changed, and most importantly, the way of living is drastically different from what it was before.
So, what separates successful brands from mediocre ones? It’s how prompt they are in delivering support and how well and timely they acknowledge their customers.
In short, it’s all about serving customers in real-time.
This blog will explain how the emergence of the self-help concept, social media, and smartphones have helped organizations ace real-time customer support. It will also uncover the benefits provided by real-time support and how you can excel at it.
The Rise of Self-Help
Technology has made people self-reliant. Flashback to 20 years before, people didn’t have the power to solve queries or troubleshoot problems all on their own. Life wasn’t that easier and simpler then, as it is now thanks to the rampant technological developments.
It’s the increasing percolation of technology that has given customers the taste of instant gratification, and since they have started liking it, its demand is constantly shooting up. This is one major reason companies across the globe are embracing the self-help approach as it’s the sure-shot way to give customers what they need in the shortest possible time.
If numbers are to be believed, customers not just in the United States but across the globe are increasingly expecting brands to have an online self-service help center. A whopping 88% of customers in the United States alone prefer brands that provide self-service options.
What better way to provide real-time support to customers than a self-service help section on your website where they can find all answers to their questions in a matter of seconds?
The Social Media Trigger
As discussed earlier, there was a lot of hard work involved in the simplest of tasks, some 20, 30 years ago, but things have changed for the better. And one of the biggest drivers of this change is the social media storm.
Come social media platforms, and suddenly there was a spurt in the expectations of people, as they started realizing the possibility of brands to connect with their customers, acknowledge their issues, and address them in real-time.
Take any social media portal - Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook, all of them provide you enormous opportunities to connect with your audience, reach out to them easily, and provide answers to all their questions in an instant. The more active and quick you are on these platforms, the more your customers are going to like doing business with you.Also, besides the real-time support on social media that your customers are going to love, do not forget the enhanced visibility and increased top-of-the-mind brand recall that this will help you achieve.
Social media is one space where the concept of real-time customer support was born, given the high flexibility and freedom it provides to both customers and brands alike.
Leverage it well, and you will rock real-time customer support like a pro.
The Emergence of Smartphones
Talking about real-time customer support and no mention of smartphones? That’s not possible!
Smartphone technology has penetrated across the globe to the extent that life without these devices is implausible.
Thanks to smartphones, people have the power to get instant help, make decisions quickly, and be closer to your brand.
Just being online, or present on social media is not sufficient, given today’s hyper-active ecosystem. The fact that people today, like being on-the-go, and getting everything on their fingertips, indicates how crucial it is to make your brand easily accessible on smartphones.
As smartphones came, they brought along the concept of mobile applications. Today, there is an app for everything right from ordering food and shopping for clothes to booking movie tickets and getting a salon service at home. Smartphone applications give you the opportunity to strengthen the strings with your customers by giving them instant 24*7 self-service customer support.
Leveraging the capabilities of smartphones and mobile applications help you understand customers, the issues they are facing, and address them quickly.
Similarly, it gives customers the power to use their smartphones judiciously to stay in touch with your brand and get help whenever needed.
So, self-help, social media, and smartphones are some of the major drivers of real-time customer support. Giving them the central role that they deserve, and devising strategies focused on them can help you tremendously in being real and improving customer service.
Let’s now look at some of the significant benefits of real-time customer support.
Benefits of Real-Time Customer Support
- Instant query resolution
- Increases customer satisfaction
- Cuts down customer support costs
- Helps you capture customer feedback in real-time
- Provides a personalized experience to customers
- Strengthens the brand-customer bond
- Helps in marketing and selling your products faster
- Reaching out to millions of geographically-dispersed customers gets super fast and easy
Real-Time Customer Support - 3 Ways to Champion It
1. Capture Real-Time Customer Data - Both Current & Historical
Having complete know-how about your customers’ present queries and the issues they have raised in the past, is of paramount importance, as it gives you a holistic view of customers’ journey with your brand.
Knowing what they did yesterday is crucial to understand the actions they are taking today. This helps you make informed and smart decisions while serving your clients. When your support staff is abreast of the customer’s history with your brand, they will be equipped with the right knowledge while dealing with customers.
Live chat tools, such as ProProfs Chat, can be of tremendous help here. It keeps a track of customer conversations - historical as well as current. Besides customer chats, the tool also keeps a check on customers’ browsing history, canned responses, email IDs, and geographic locations.
This will also help enable you to find out the best ways to pacify disgruntled customers by providing them relevant solutions.
2. Be Super Fast
The world’s moving fast, and you have to catch up, or else, you will miss the race. Research suggests that 42% of customers who share their complaints on social media expect a response within 60 minutes.
In a scenario like this, can you afford a laid-back behavior? Obviously no.
Social media is a space where rumors spread like wildfire, so imagine the kind of negative attention you will garner, by not responding to customer complaints, or not acknowledging their queries.
The best way to avoid situations like these is by having a dedicated social media team who is responsible for maintaining your social media image, informing respective teams about the complaints shared by clients, and making sure that your social network grows with time.
3. Be Forward-Thinking
Providing real-time support is essential, but is that enough?
As time passes, customers’ expectations will sky-rocket, requiring you to be better equipped to anticipate their future needs and make efforts to meet them.
Predictive analysis works best here. It allows you to keep your eye on the present while also estimating the next actions of your customers. Being futuristic in your approach, actions, and decisions can help you look beyond real-time customer support, anticipate customers’ needs, and provide them the right solutions.
Real-Time Customer Support - The Ultimate Game Changer
Real-Time Customer Support provides countless opportunities to stay connected with your customers, brew beautiful and long-lasting bonds with them, provide instant answers to their questions, and, most importantly, understand their future needs.
The two extremely important things for improving customer service are - time⏳ and speed⚡.
As per Forrester, 66% of customers feel that valuing their time is the most important thing a company can do for them - this speaks volumes about why time is so crucial when it comes to customer support. In fact, it’s a timely manner and the speed at which you serve the customers that differentiate you from others in the industry.
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