As today's consumers look for more out of customer service than ever before, businesses may want to continue placing it as a top priority—or they stand to lose big.
Nowadays, customers simultaneously want the personal, human touch of decades past and options for self-service. Businesses have to manage these new customer service standards while dealing with the allure of relying on automated (and presumably less-personal) technology designed to power their operations more efficiently.
Businesses can return to their customer service mainstays while also freshening up their customer service approach. The following tips may help:
1. Use Facebook Live or other live video platforms to answer customer-service-related questions.
With live video emerging as one of the biggest social trends, the combination of live video and customer service is a powerful one. It can help businesses connect with customers personally and efficiently while creating a unique, out-of-the-box experience.
You can use the live video platform of your choice to answer customer questions. A platform like Facebook Live lets you save videos so you can provide a link to a video when the same types of questions get asked again in the future.
2. Master the art of customer conversations.
If today's customers are looking for a more human-based customer service approach, a great way to connect with them is through conversation. Mastering the art of the customer conversation is arguably one of the most underrated elements of providing top-notch service. A great conversation can profoundly change the relationship you have with your customers.
How can you help facilitate better interactions with customers? The seemingly small details matter here: Try using the customer's name in conversation, actively listening to the client and summarizing all pieces of information to ensure that you have understood everything correctly. All of these communicate that you care about the customer.
3. Interact with your customers on social media.
Businesses spend a lot of time connecting with customers on various social media platforms nowadays. The problem, however, is that many of these communication channels are often one-sided, with businesses focused on tweeting out company news, sharing their latest blog posts and so on.
Using social media as a customer service tool isn't necessarily a groundbreaking idea, but a lot of businesses, especially smaller ones, think that having a profile and updating it with promotional items is enough. It's not: It's the interaction that's key.
Nailing the more human side of social media can help businesses comfortably integrate more automated forms of customer service into their business, like chatbots—one of the newer customer service trends available today, and most commonly seen on e-commerce sites.
A benefit of chatbots is that customers can get immediate responses to their questions so that businesses don't have to leave the front lines. But since chatbots are automated, it is important that businesses also have the human side of social media mastered as well. That means taking the time to answer questions without using canned responses.
This balance between humanity and automation is a key to modern customer service.
4. Focus on personalization using technology.
The concept of personalized customer service is not a new one, but it has become less of a focus in recent years.
This is where technology can be of great value: You can track customer preferences, and then deliver highly personalized services as a result. For example, hair salons that use software to manage clients can store color formulas or pictures of previous cuts in the system. When the client returns, the salon can easily provide him or her a personalized experience as a result. This not only addresses the fact that the client most likely doesn't remember the specifics of their last experience, but also allows the salon to provide a repeatable experience regardless of the staff.
It also helps to customize your expressions of gratitude. This old-school customer service trick checks all of the boxes. It offers a personal, human touch and yet is rare in today's business world. Sending a personalized thank-you note or card (don't forget your signature) can help you stand out amongst all of the generic thank-you emails and newsletters.
5. Offer self-service options.
As much as today's customers want human-centric customer service, they also want self-service options.
Any opportunity that businesses can take to offer self-service options can help make them a premium service provider. For example, if businesses can enhance the customer service chatbot experience by giving it more human qualities, even better.
Today, businesses are tasked with providing a higher level of customer service than ever before. But if they can manage to provide their customers with the right balance of a human touch and self-service options, they may see a reward for their efforts.
Read more articles on customer relations.