Providing top-notch customer service can seem like a daunting task. This is especially true if you’re a very small business. Thankfully, today there are so many tools that you can use to help boost your ability to provide great customer service that small or big, you can be amazing. Being remembered for caring about customers will go far in giving your business an edge over other businesses.
Here are some of the best tools, hands down, to provide the best service
1. Knowledge Base – Having an intuitive knowledge base is an excellent way to provide top-notch customer service in a self-service capacity. People like being able to answer questions themselves before escalating an issue. Give your customers the tools at their fingertips to fix minor problems and they’ll feel as if they have the best customer service around. This is also known as an FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) section and it can be on your website to help customers find the questions and answers they need.
2. Ticketing System – If they can’t find the answer in your knowledge base, they should be able to escalate the issue up the ladder on their own with an advanced ticketing system – almost like they get a place in line or a turn to ask a question. Tickets should be answered quickly and promptly and if they cannot be the customer should be notified of the issues. Tickets are typically filled out online and sent to email and can be answered with email, but a record is kept within the online software. This can be a great way to start and then fill out your FAQ’s. You will find similar questions and be able to use “canned responses” that contain the answer and help with getting back to someone quickly.
3. Online Chat – In the past, it’s really been hard for a small business to have an online chat because of the software needs and staffing needs. Now, another option for some customers is to give them a chance to chat with a customer service professional while they are on your website. The technology exists today to add this to your website easily, with multiple agents at the ready to chat with your customers and deal on the spot with problems. Records are kept and transcripts are made and emailed to the customer. This can be your staff or you responding to chat requests and you can even turn requests into tickets many times to allow you to get requests after hours.
4. Toll Free Calls – If you have a high volume business, don’t discount having a toll free number staffed with people to answer it. Today you can hire a firm to deal with your customer service at reasonable rates. Even the smallest business can now afford live agents. No need to buy a bunch of phones either as most calls can be taken through a PC. It’s amazing how people will call and ask simple questions or get basic things resolved and you can turn them into repeat customers and lifetime buyers just in how you treat them.
5. Virtual Contractors – I know it might seem strange to hire a virtual assistant to manage customer service, but at times you are busy and can’t get to the website or Facebook questions quickly. Having someone scheduled to go on and answer questions, respond to social media inquiries and keep the peace gets you a long way, and doesn’t have to cost a lot. Each of these solutions can be built and managed by virtual contractors. You don’t have to employ someone full time to accomplish top-notch customer service. There are firms that you can hire, but you can also buy software like LiveAgent.com, and hire your own agents.
6. Social Media – You can use social media to have a conversation with, and develop relationships with your customers. The more you can relate to and with your customers, the more they’ll perceive your business as offering top-notch customer service. Because customer service isn’t just about when a customer has a problem; it’s about avoiding problems in the first place. Social medial such as Facebook, Twitter and Yelp are great places to hang out and respond to comments made about your products. You can even encourage your customers to post on Facebook with comments on things they loved in your shop. Social media requires monitoring to keep up with and you can have a virtual assistant do that.
Many software programs offer all-in-one solutions, but many others offer just one solution. What you choose depends upon what you think you need. You can always grow and change the tools that you choose to use at a later date. The important thing is to implement what you can, when you can, so that you are always providing the best customer service that you can afford.
Keeping customers happier is a lot less expensive than having to find new customers, so remember that as you create your budget for customer service tools.
Toll Free Calls
See our guide to customer service for more great tips.