Customer service is a slightly vague but incredibly important aspect of running a successful business. Up to 88% of users who have a poor experience when it comes to the service on a website report that they would never return, obviously something your company wants to minimize as much as possible.
But what exactly is customer service, and what does it mean to a website? Online there isn't generally any face-to-face interaction, and many users prefer not to speak to customer representatives when they have issues, so compared to in-person businesses, that level of interaction isn't what we should always be focusing on.
Not to say that interactions between customer service agents and users aren't important at all. We just have more ways to provide excellent customer service to think about as well.
Here at Yext, customer satisfaction is our number one goal because we firmly believe that a positive user experience is the key to success. Here's what we believe excellent customer service is and how you can offer it to your audience.
What Does It Mean to Provide Excellent Customer Service?
Excellent customer service can mean a lot of things, and several concepts are universal. Taking care of your users, having multiple troubleshooting channels available, and optimizing everything on your website so that when they visit your page looking for something, it's easily found are just a few ways an online business can provide excellent customer service.
There's a lot of options online for users to choose from, regardless of what they're trying to do. Shop for clothes, make travel reservations, check restaurant reviews; there are hundreds of websites they could go to.
Make your website stand out by providing the information that they originally searched for and making it as organized and convenient to use as possible.
Putting in the work to ensure that any user who visits your page can tell that your business is determined to create the most optimized and personalized service available will increase the probability of returning to your site for data or content.
Anticipate Your Users Issues and Provide Answers Before They Need Them
When building your page and developing your content, keep in mind how someone may view it from the customer's point of view. Is your page navigation system difficult to use? Does it take an hour to reach your customer service team?
These are issues that will turn your users away so it's important to anticipate them and resolve them before the issue ever arises.
Value Your Users Time as Much as They Do
A majority of users expect help with a problem within an hour or else they'll back out of your page and end up on someone else's store site. This is why multiple channels of customer service are imperative to positive experiences. Your customer service agents may have their hands tied, but users still expect help, so what do you do?
Focus on prioritizing the issues that your human representatives work on by providing several alternative customer service options, such as AI chatbots, consumer forums, and FAQ pages. If your users have a relatively simple question, they'll actually prefer to answer it themselves and will appreciate the number of troubleshooting options you provide because it saves them time and energy.
Tools To Increase Your Customer Service Channels
Your website has to cover a lot of potential bases to provide excellent customer service. Still, we've got a list of tools and services you should provide your users to maximize their customer service experience.
Available Human Representatives
While a majority of users will prefer to solve their issues on their own, having a well-trained and properly staffed team of customer service agents is essential to any business, online or not.
The customers that prefer human interaction will flock to them, and even the customers that would rather resolve their problems on their own will end up wanting to speak with an agent if they hit a dead end.
Guaranteeing a positive user experience with a customer service agent can be a little tricky because they're more than likely already irritated by the time they get there.
But having agents that genuinely care about the customers' issues and have the knowledge and tools to take care of them is always appreciated by your customers.
While users may have an initial aversion to chatbots due to their clunky nature when they first became popular, providing the AI service is a great way to make sure your customers can have their questions answered 24/7.
With advancements in artificial intelligence over the last five years, chatbots have come a long way from their strict, robotic language. With technology, now AI chatbots can combine realistic human interaction with the immediate knowledge of a computer.
Chatbots are a great solution for users with relatively simple questions about products or services. By using them as the first wave of customer service before your human agents, you can make sure your agents have the time to focus on the customers who need them most.
Not to mention that AI chatbots save your business a ton of costs related to hiring, training, and maintaining a large staff of customer service agents.
Another powerful, self-customer service tool you can provide your users is a user forum. Creating a space for users to dialogue with other users about their issues gets them in contact with real people with relatable issues.
Peer-to-peer troubleshooting is becoming widely used to solve user issues and provide the space for your customers to speak with each other has direct benefits to your company.
User forums provide your market and development teams direct access to exactly what your customers are having issues with and what their wants are. Besides the added channel of self-customer service users can use to share their issues and answers, the analytical data they offer can be very valuable to your company.
A Well Designed Website and Internal Search Engine
While it might not seem like active customer service, having a well-designed and operated internal search engine is the key to optimizing a positive user experience on your page.
In fact, 70% of online businesses end up failing due to poor site usability. If users have a hard time finding what they want, then they won't hesitate to take their business elsewhere.
Customers visit your website because they know they want something that you have, and being able to quickly and easily find what they're looking for reduces the need for other customer service channels.
Providing excellent customer service can mean a lot of different things. A company has to know its audience and provide the best routes for troubleshooting that they require.
Some users prefer to seek out their information instead of turning to customer service agents. Providing them with FAQ pages and customer forums connects them with the answers they may need as well as to other users with similar issues.
Others might want to speak to someone instead of doing it on their own, and having a highly qualified team of customer agents who are available to help and genuinely want to assist your customers can be a shining light for users who are having issues.
Implementing the powerful technology that's available today adds a level of round-the-clock support. Whether it's an AI chatbot that offers your users help when they need it, human representatives, or an optimized navigation system on your page to allow users to streamline their experience.
Customer service is a combination of high-quality technology, preparation, and interaction on all levels, and with how much competition there is on the internet right now, customers base where they go for their content and data based on the experience they had.
At Yext, we're confident that with these tools, you can ensure that whether a user successfully finds what they're looking for or needs a little help, their experience is going to keep them coming back instead of turning away.