What Is Instant Customer Service and How To Implement It Perfectly?
“People love to buy but hate being sold to” defines a clear path that your business needs to follow. It means that instead of blatantly advertising your products just for the sake of getting profits, you should focus on providing quality services and treatment to your customers. Nowadays, people can’t be fooled with past tricks; they can easily spot your money-making schemes, negatively impacting your brand image. How do you make a profit then? Step up your instant customer service game!
U.S. companies lose $62 billion/year due to bad customer service, and 51% of customers say that they wouldn’t return to a shop after one bad experience. Small companies, especially the new ones, are operating in a confused state and trying to generate maximum revenue, so they often forget to build relationships with their customers. Let’s see how your customer service is benefiting or possibly harming your business.
What Is Instant Customer Service?
Customer service is the support and assistance you provide to your customers; it is not just available until the customer buys a product. After you have made a sale, you are responsible for ensuring that the customer has a flawless experience with your product. As electronic media has advanced rapidly in the last decade, instant customer services through social media and apps have become very popular.
Your response time in solving a customer’s problem is crucial to your company’s success. Nobody likes to wait! When customers have difficulty choosing from your products, they take help from your company’s customer service representative (CSR) to narrow down their choices. If you are unsupportive in this matter, customers will switch to some other company in no time. The need for customer service is so high that companies now have to add customers to waiting lists for calls and messages; you can get a fair idea of the number of people contacting a company at the same time.
Nowadays, having good instant customer service is considered a competitive advantage for a company. Small to medium-scale businesses have started investing in this area because this is the only way they can compete with big brands. While large companies claim to have the best customer service, most of them are just focused on extracting maximum profits. Let’s look at the qualities of good customer service!
Features of a Good Instant Customer Service
1. Ease of Contact
Your company should be reachable through different channels like social media, phone calls, and SMS. Not everyone uses social media, so having other methods for contacting you will facilitate the customers. It would help if you never preferred any specific customer support channel over others; it will damage your image as customers will feel they are being dictated to contact you in a certain way only. Business is all about accepting your customers’ demands; creating difficulties for them will cost you a lot of money.
Most business owners think that providing automated audio responses to FAQs will be enough. This is not the case! A customer will never connect with a robot. If your company’s CSR is available 24/7, a friendly relationship will be established, which will increase the number of repeat customers.
You would never want to leave a customer hanging because your CSR cannot solve his/her problems. Your CSR should have complete knowledge of all the products and services; you should provide special training to all the CSRs to improve their problem-solving skills.
Handling faulty items is an everyday task for business people. If your products are faulty, you should inform your customers through messages before they complain about them. In this case, a proactive approach would be to replace all the faulty products and let your customers know when the problem is solved! This will give out a message that you care for your customers.
Why Does Your Business Need Instant Customer Service?
1. Instant Customer Service Saves Time
Phone calls are a waste of time! The customer is asked to hold several times during a 5-minute call. Instant customer service on the internet is now another level; as soon as a customer clicks on the “Chat” button for help, websites ask them to fill a form that includes the basic information like name and nature of the problem. Using this strategy, CSRs are already aware of the issue even before the customer speaks, which speeds up the problem-solving process.
2. Increases Productivity
A CSR can’t handle 2 phone calls at a time, but he/she can surely send a text reply to 4 customers at once. This increases the productivity of CSRs, and customers don’t have to wait for their turn.
3. Instant Customer Service Saves Money
“Time is money,” but I am talking about the real money over here. Phone calls are costly. Most of the time, clients will call you to get their queries answered, but there will be a few instances where you would have to give them a call.
If you have promised your customers that you will let them know when the replacement for a product is available, you will have to make several calls for this purpose. On the other hand, messaging is a cheap method for handling such situations. You can subscribe to monthly SMS packages and feel free to engage with your customers.
4. Gives Better Understanding of the Problem
Instant customer services also support audio, videos, and images. A client might not have the technical knowledge to describe an issue over text, so he/she can shoot a video or take a picture to explain the problem clearly. Suppose a customer had bought a laptop from your company and cannot find the HDMI port in it. Instead of telling him to look at a specific location, you can send an image of the port with an arrow pointing towards it.
If you own a cleaning company, restaurants and hotels should be your target customers. When a restaurant manager approaches you to get a quote for the total service cost, your CSR can also ask for pictures of the restaurant to check the feasibility of providing the service.
How to Implement Instant Customer Service?
There are several steps involved in this process so let’s try to explore them all.
1. Explain Your Objectives of Instant Customer Service
To gain the complete benefit of instant customer care, you should be clear concerning why you’re offering an instant messaging (IM) option instead of other methods. Explain your objectives to guarantee that you take advantage of this process. Your goal is to reduce costs, increase productivity, and gain loyal customers. It’s a good idea to look closely into which of these three goals is your priority. That way, you can organize the components of your IM that relate the most to that goal.
2. Select the Right Messaging Channel
IM is a broad term, and you will have to choose from a lot of channels while selecting the ideal one for your business: SMS, emails, WhatsApp, and Facebook. You aim to locate the right channels to utilize and to capitalize on them. One approach to this matter would be to ask your clients which messaging channel would they prefer. Once you have your customers’ opinions, you can do your own research to narrow down your choices. Don’t forget your CSRs! Make sure that they are comfortable with the selected channel.
3. Find a Balance Between Robots and Humans
IM is cost-effective as compared to other client support choices because it can be computerized. Most of the customer inquiries will be repetitive, so that AI-driven chatbots will handle most of the work without the need for a CSR. However, you don’t need your IM service to be totally robotic. Clients prefer a personalized response, like the one on a phone call.
Regardless of how advanced chatbots and AI become, they can’t match the clarity of a human CSR’s response.
4. Sort and Organize Messages
When your IM service is ready to be launched, devise a strategy to organize the messages. Although there are meager chances of initially receiving a high volume of requests, you still need a plan for overseeing them. You can pick a first-in, first-out approach, which means noting questions in the order they are submitted. This approach is fair to use based on the first-come, first-served principle, but it still has room for improvement.
Once you have noted the questions, figure out their priorities and the concerned departments that will handle them. You can assign basic inquiries to chatbots, which can give a quicker reaction than human CSRs. Humans have good analytical skills, so assigning them complex tasks will help them achieve better results.
5. Get Feedback on Your Service
According to a report, just one of every 26 customers gives feedback on their customer service experiences; the rest switch to another company. An approach to handle this matter is to offer alternatives for client input over IM service. This will encourage customers to express their thoughts as they would know that a CSR is understanding their feedback and not just moving it into a junk folder.
Another benefit will be that you will get genuine input in a less forceful, disappointed tone than what might happen in online surveys or via web-based media. Customers will appreciate that you are giving them a voice and thinking about their sentiments.
6. Level Up Your CSR’s Expertise
Your CSRs will probably be used to of SMS and IM channels. They will utilize them properly in regular day to day work, so preparing for client support messaging is not about showing the CSRs how to operate the IM system; It’s about utilizing the channel expertly for expanding the business.
Each message sent by your representatives must make a positive impression of your image. The way you structure your message will speak volumes about your company’s standards. Emoticons and slang will give an impression of you being nonserious. You will have to instruct your CSRs on the kind of language and message formatting you do and don’t need them to utilize.
7. Use Multiple Channels for Instant Customer Service
Your customer service team might be at ease with handling a single channel, but your clients want more effort from your side. The major disadvantage of relying on a single channel is that it might not handle a lot of traffic. For smooth customer service, you should bring together multiple online and offline channels.
8. Exceed All Expectations by Following up with Clients
Solving your customers’ problems is not an easy task. You must race against time in discovering the problem and proposing a sensible solution. It’s even harder to follow up with them to make sure that your product is working smoothly.
IM service can also be incorporated into your company’s CRM software. By doing this, you will track every customer’s business history and identify the ones who bring the most profits. Your customer is never expecting you to initiate a conversation with them. If a customer hasn’t bought anything from your company in a long time, send him/her a message asking for the reason and offer a discount on your services.
Take Away – Instant Customer Service is the Pathway to Success
Customer service is the foundation of your company; make sure that it is strong enough to support your business. Most business owners are working in the wrong direction! Your services and products are not unique; every brand is offering the same products. Your customer service standard distinguishes you from your competitors, so make sure you earn your customers’ praise.