Customer service 101: how technology can help you improve

Technology is a two-way street. It offers new ways for customers to reach out to you with a query or complaint. It also allows you to manage your customer relationships more effectively, helping you to keep track and respond to communications at the right time. With tools such as email and social media, you can even anticipate your customers’ likely needs without them having to ask.

From the ‘just browsing’ stage right through to keeping existing customers on board, we’ll illustrate how tech can be your best friend when it comes to keeping your customers satisfied.

 

Providing help to potential customers

Being helpful and attentive to potential customers, who are still in the process of weighing up their options, can go a long way in swaying their buying decision. Part of this involves giving customers all the relevant information they need to make up their minds. If you sell products online for instance, multiple clear photographs taken from different perspectives and a ‘pop-out’ function, can help to give viewers a true feel for your products. When you are writing your product descriptions, ask yourself, “What questions will a typical customer have about this product?” , and make sure you answer these questions in your descriptions. A dedicated frequently asked questions (FAQs) page on your site can also help with this.

If you are selling goods or services to businesses, a lead nurturing email campaign can be a good way of building up trust with potential buyers. Using email you can provide customers with the information they need, at the  and the precise point they are likely to need it.

Technology offers a range of ways your audience can use to reach out with pre-sales queries. On your website, a ‘Contact us’ or ‘Got a query?’ box on each page gives them the option of making direct contact with you. If your business has a Facebook, Twitter, or Linkedin presence, customers may also opt to use these to post quick pre-sales questions.

Customers increasingly expect a quick response, especially when it comes to social media: with one survey showing that more than half of us who try to make contact with a company via Twitter expect to hear back within an hour. Message alerts delivered directly to your smartphone can notify you whenever a customer is attempting to get in touch with your business via email, website contact form, or using social media.

 

Meeting the needs of existing customers

Using a spreadsheet tool such as Excel or Google Sheets, it is easy  to create a customer database of contact details, order history, and records of any service issues are stored in one place. This approach makes it easier to manage your relationship with individual customers. If they contact you with a query, for instance, you can instantly bring up their details and hopefully resolve their issues more efficiently.

Once the number of customers starts to increase, many small businesses can benefit from dedicated customer relationship management (CRM) software. These platforms allow you manage all customer contact channels in one place, including social media. They can give reminders when issues have been left unresolved for too long, and make it easier to assign and keep track of customer service tasks undertaken by your team of employees. It’s also possible to tie in your CRM system to stock control: ensuring that you are not left with a backlog of unfulfilled orders.

Examples of CRM platforms suitable for small businesses include Salesforce, Infusionsoft, and Microsoft Dynamics. 30-day trial periods enable you to see if the individual platform is right for your business before you buy.

 

Strengthening the customer relationship

CRM software is also useful for giving you insights on customer behaviour. In turn, you can use this information to provide better customer service. With reports covering areas such as buyer trends and typical re-ordering patterns, it becomes easier to second guess what type of products and special offers might benefit customers, without them having to ask for it.

Using your CRM data, you can segment your customers into different groups. With business email tools such as Mailchimp (as well as by using social media) you can send out targeted messages to different groups, such as special offers that take into account their specific buying history.

 

For further advice on the type of messages and social media content that can help you to grow a loyal customer following, head on over to our help centre. 

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