A well-designed FAQ that matches the look, feel, and tone of the business should be top of mind for any company with a digital presence. We know it's how customers search for information and it's often the first place would-be customers go for details when sizing up their options for goods and services.
But what about the impact of other channels, beyond the FAQ, on customer service? All companies should include input from the customer service team to maximize the impact of a website optimized for customer service—and savvy social channels that do the same.
Back to basics: wow-worthy website and UI
Customer service on a website shouldn’t be limited to providing ways to contact support. Additionally, it’s important to provide an environment where customers feel they’re taken care of before they've committed to buying anything. Even the most compelling company story, and the most top-notch product, won't stand out to customers without it.
Pepper customer service throughout the experience rather than containing it solely in one part of the website. For example:
- Install a chat feature that automatically pops up when the cursor hovers near the search bar or other preset conditions that suggest the customer might need help.
- Link copiously to relevant blog posts or how-to videos that explain how a certain feature can be optimized.
- Point customers to social channels so they can find the most up-to-date information about products, sales, and events.
Not being able to find contact information on a website is incredibly frustrating, and is akin to the way casinos hide their exits. Customer service experts know this and should work with web teams to make sure this mistake is avoided.
Place phone numbers, email addresses, and other contact methods prominently on your page. If you use a contact form, make the fields as simple as possible.
Customers want to know that the time they took out of their day to resolve an issue will be met by someone who vows to always be there when needed. Social media accomplishes this when it's used to improve the customer experience, not just to communicate accolades or new features. In marketing terms, social handles should be used for more than demand generation.
We've written about the power of social media for customer service, providing tips for not only having a social-media presence, but commanding a social-media presence in the name of seamless customer service. What we wrote then is even more true:
"The reality is that customer service expectations are rising year over year and consumers are looking to brands to create seamless customer support that spans the showroom floor to the Facebook timeline. Simply having a social media presence is no longer enough; you need to be a social media rock star."
Customers, especially if they need assistance, don't want to wait for inboxes to be checked and cleared. Social media checks some key customer-service boxes in this regard: by providing immediacy, transparency, and ease of use. Page admins receive notifications immediately, and the conversation happens for all customers to see. This appeals to other customers with similar queries, but they also appeal to Millennials and Generation Z, which increasingly support brands with higher honesty and transparency quotients.
As different channels start placing greater reward on certain types of content—for example, Facebook's algorithm is prioritizing video content—a holistic content and channel strategy that takes evolving social-media nuances into account is key. Do animated how-to trailers demonstrating your product in action make more sense than a snippet in your FAQ? What about videos about the services you provide, showcasing interactions with customers?
Chat me up
A content strategy and approach go hand in hand with a technical backbone. Many have emphasized the importance of real-time chat for customer service, and though the world has been instant messaging for decades, on-hold muzak is still more common than business-to-customer chat. Like, real chat—not something that looks like chat but is merely a static redirect to a section of the FAQ.
Think of it as one more channel to connect with your customers.
The "I" in team: internal structure
It's one thing to have the technical tools at your disposal, but how are your teams organized for customer-service success? How often does your blog editor collaborate with your social media manager? Is the person managing your social handles also responsible for checking and responding to public posts on your Facebook Wall, private Facebook Messages, and Twitter replies? If they're different roles, how aligned are their processes for taking the temperature of consumer dissent? The key is to provide a seamless experience, wherever customers reach you.
Learn more about what your customer expect from each channel, read The Multi-Channel Customer Care Report