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6 tips to offer the best customer support

Payfort presents 6 easy steps to providing the best customer service which might help even the smallest company compete in the market.
Payfort | 25.10.2015
Recommendations from customers are one of the most valuable tools a company has, and in the highly competitive world of e-commerce they have a huge impact on whether a lead converts to a customer.

For both new and established e-commerce businesses this creates opportunity: if you can’t out-spend your competition, out-support them. When you take the time to provide an incredible shopping experience, you start to see the impact “word of mouth” can have.

Even a small advantage can have a big impact on sales and that’s why we’ve put together six easy to implement tips that will help get your customer support on track.

1- Provide Information on Your Website:
One of the most visited pages for any new business (especially an ecommerce site) is the ‘About Us’ page. When a customer begins their shopping journey, they want to learn as much about your business as possible. Having a well written ‘About us’ page makes your customers feel safer and will allow your support team to focus on higher priority issues.

Your “About Us” page needs to include the following information:
When you opened
What you sell
Your business values
Pictures of yourself and your brick-and-mortar shop (if you have one).

If potential customers can find all the above, you’ll avoid a lot inbox clutter asking for information about your company; allowing your support team to focus on support rather than education.

2-Offer Multiple Contact Channels:
Customers love to have choices, and this extends well beyond products. Offering your customers a wide range of contact channels is a great way to make your support more comfortable and convenient.

You will often be limited by resources but you should strive to provide:
An email address.
A phone number for your support center.
An onsite live chat service.

Make sure all of the contact information is displayed prominently so that your customers can easily reach out, and be sure to communicate expected response times (emails) or availability (phone lines) clearly.

3- Keep Responses Timely:
The expected response time has been slashed in recent years, with most customers expecting an answer by phone or email within four hours; requests on social media are expected even quicker.

Your ability to respond to customers will depend on the resources you have available, but there are a number of strategies you can use to streamline your support process and maximize your results:

Identify common issues and develop pre-written responses.
Make sure you close out complaints – You don’t want the same customer coming back again and again for the same issue.
Set up effective filtering to prioritize complaints resolve large issues quickly.

Finally, remember that speed alone doesn’t mean good customer service. Make sure your responses address you customer’s concern, if more time is require to find a resolution, communicate that clearly in your response.

4- Monitor and Engage on Social Media:
Social media has become a significant component of customer service, especially for online only businesses lacking a ‘brick-and-mortar’ location. 78% of customers believe that social media should be a major component of a company’s support.

As a result you need to include a strong social media management strategy as part of broader customer service plan. By remaining active on all your social channels, you can identify customer complaints and provide solutions quickly.

Engaging with your customers regularly helps to create a customer community, which can often act as a first line of support for future customers. You can even reach out to individuals on your channel to act as ‘brand ambassadors’ to help with customer support and promotion.

5- Create a Strong Support Centre for Your Customers:
One of the most effective and efficient ways to improve your customer service is to help your customers help themselves. 90% of customers go to a company’s support centre before calling or emailing, so give them the answers they need.

When done right, your self-service support page can feel personal even at scale. When developing your support content, it’s helpful to view it as a top-tier reply from your support team made public for all to see and benefit from. Screenshots, videos, styling and more ensure frequently asked questions will get frequently loved answers.

While a robust customer service section will take time to develop, the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, and the journey to a useful knowledge base starts with your first answer.

6-Track Your Customer Interactions and Revise Your Support Strategy:
An important and often-overlooked issue in support is analytics. In order to provide your customers with the best results you need to be aware of not only the frequency of issues, but also the time it takes to address them.

There’s no point is relying on “It feels like we spend a lot of time on this issue…” or “I think this issue coming up a lot…” when a bit of analysis can take the guesswork out of your customer support.

Set up a procedure that allows you to keep track of all your customer interactions. It should include:
Customer ID or name
The issue faced
Time to resolve

It’s not enough to just record the information though, set aside time each month to review the data you collect. Overtime it will help you make informed decisions about your business identify where you can improve you service.

Effectively engaging with your customers and helping them to get the most out of your product, gives them a reason to tell others why they love your business. A positive recommendation from a friend can go a long way in separating your business from the competition and making you their brand of choice.

image via Shutterstock/Pressmaster