When a consumer thinks of a positive customer service experience, they usually recall in-person interactions with friendly, knowledgeable employees.
In most cases, however, it is impossible to give direct help to your customers, and companies rely on phone contact and online methods such as Frequently Asked Questions pages, Knowledge Libraries and consumer forums on web sites and social media.
Can these automated, hands-off systems provide winning customer service that will satisfy most complaints and questions?
What are the most effective automated customer service methods that the company can adopt on the Internet?
- Frequently asked questions page
- Knowledge libraries or wiki pages
- Consumer forums or message boards
- Searchable company blogs
- Programmed virtual assistants
The above listed methods are designed to help consumers of your company’s products and services help themselves. All of these can potentially solve the bulk of customers’ issues without necessitating direct contact with the company employees. This not only saves time and allows consumers to learn more about the company and its offerings, but it also saves company time as they are not constantly fielding questions about mundane topics.
Today’s customers are comfortable with self-service customer service
Today’s consumers are mostly Internet savvy and can navigate their way around a web site, blog or social media site with relative ease. It is possible to win the customer without speaking to them at all. People enjoy solving their own problems if the path to the solution is simple and straightforward. As long as contact information is easy to find and phone operators are always available to help with more complex problems, the above listed web site additions can certainly increase customer service satisfaction.
Self-service, automated customer service delivers instant customer service
Frequently asked questions and knowledge centers or Wiki pages should have clear and effective search bars. Customers should be able to type in the question, product name or number, or a general key word about their issue and receive an easy-to-read list of possible solutions. When the company writes its Wiki pages, they must be careful to include proper keywords to make searching easier. The same goes for company blogs. While these will probably have more announcement type posts, they should be interspersed with helpful tips and product information that can help with winning the customer service game.
Recruiting customers to deliver customer service
Consumer message boards and forums can be a wonderful but dangerous tool to use when the company tries to win the customer to their side. While people who are satisfied with the products and services offered may post and offer tips and insights, it is much more likely that forums will get filled with questions and complaints.
To maximize the effectiveness of message boards on your company web site, an employee and moderator should be instructed to answer questions on the message board and remove spam immediately. This, of course, removes some of the Hands-Off, automated characteristics of this winning customer service tool.
Making hands-off customer service effective for customer experience
When it comes down to it, automated website pages, forums, social media sites, and virtual assistants can only do so much to satisfy the needs of your customers and clients. The Hands-Off aspects of winning customer service can make the process smoother and less cumbersome for both consumer and company, but to really win the customer into being a loyal, lifetime customer personal attention is needed when they have a complaint or other issue.