customer service

Considering how frequently people reminisce about the so-called good ol’ days, it’s surprising business owners don’t do it more often. After all, the pre-digital age was one where customers were limited to the businesses they could drive to, without dozens of easily reachable competitors in the way. And when customers wanted to complain they had to privately call in or write a letter, they couldn’t just hop on their online soapbox and blast their complaints to every single one of their social media followers.

Keeping customers happy is more essential than ever in this digital age, but with the right tools, excellent customer service is also more attainable than ever.

The first customer service tool to consider: chat bot

What it is: a customer care self-service tool that interacts with customers in a natural, conversational manner over a chat interface.

How it improves customer service: As reported by the Harvard Business Review, reduction of customer effort is the most important factor in customer loyalty. Since customer loyalty is one of the most important factors when it comes to customer lifetime value as well as word of mouth marketing, reduction of customer effort should be a bigtime priority for every business. That’s where the customer service chat bot comes in.

Instead of making customers call a number, write an email, go to a website, compose a Tweet and, worst of all, wait for a reply in order to get support, brands need to be where their customers already are. Currently that means messaging apps like Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and SMS text messaging. Chat bots integrate seamlessly with leading messaging apps to enable instant and almost effortless communication with customers, doing everything from answering questions to making product suggestions and completing purchase transactions.

The second customer service tool to consider: customer relationship management software

What it is: software that helps businesses manage many of the processes relating to the business-customer relationship, tracking leads, sales, customer data and customer interactions with the brand and its various channels and platforms.

How it improves customer service: As fantastic as technology is for customer service, there’s a reason customer service representatives have been instrumental to so many brands for so long. Customer service tools don’t seek to eliminate this human touch, and in fact tools like customer relationship management (CRM) software can help enhance it.

The more personal a connection a customer has with a brand, the deeper the relationship will be and the more readily that customer will consider that brand when a need or desire for a relevant purchase arises. CRM software helps facilitate that personal connection by collecting information on a customer and making that information readily accessible to customer service employees and salespeople. This allows for proactive customer service strategies like reaching out to see if a product is performing as expected, sending a 15% off incentive when a customer doesn’t book a service they’ve been partaking in regularly for months, or even just wishing a customer a happy birthday.

The third customer service tool to consider: a dynamic FAQ

What it is: a highly responsive search feature that uses natural language technology to instantly respond to customer questions with accurate and concise answers. A dynamic FAQ can also take customers exactly where they need to be on a company’s website.

How it improves customer service: Self-service is the name of the game these days. As customer service solutions provider Nanorep states in their guide to improving customer service, by the year 2020 customers will handle a full 85% of their relationships with a brand without ever interacting with a human being. And according to Nuance Communications, 67% of customers already prefer self-service options to interacting with a human representative.

Self-service is not only fast and easy but it also empowers customers and helps them feel as though they are fully in control of their purchasing experiences and brand interactions, and that’s a big deal. There’s no chance of sales pressure or influence, just the information they’re requesting served up as quickly as possible.

The good new days

The good ol’ days may have been simpler, but were also rife with missed potential. The internet has turned the entire world into one big marketplace, and with the right customer service tools and strategies, businesses can reap the revenue. There may be challenges that accompany all the technology available today, but the benefits are many, and they greatly impact the bottom line.