Customers at many businesses envision a smooth experience from beginning to end. When they have questions, concerns, or issues, they expect assistance to be easily accessible.
When considering a customer experience plan, having a contact number is important, but not the only tool that a company should deploy. We have a few recommendations when it comes to tools that businesses should consider implementing for better customer experiences.
Top 5 communication tools
- A phone number is essential
No company should be without a dedicated customer service phone line. Despite the advancements in digital technology, there is nothing that can replace hearing the voice of a human on the other line. Besides being more reassuring, it can lead to resolved issues quicker than email or chat services. If your business receives many calls to its customer service phone line, ensure you have a call-back option so your customers don't need to physically wait on hold.
- Email or forms
If your concern is not time-sensitive, sending an email is a great alternative. Even though most customer service related phone calls are recorded for training and quality purposes, emails can provide customers with a "paper trail" of their situation. It can be a great way to follow progress or call out an error when promises are not kept. Almost as common as phone numbers, most businesses offer dedicated customer service email addresses or forms on their websites.
Did you know? Marketing emails such as newsletters are very effective when it comes to communicating promotions or news with your clients. In fact, a recent survey of millennials revealed that 62 percent said email was their number one choice of communication with retailers.
- Around-the-clock live chat
Another great way to interact with customers is through an online chat service, embedded directly into an organization's website. These systems have become highly sophisticated and can be manned by a live person, automation, or both. This can be a quicker solution than email communication with the ability to send a chat to yourself after it is completed. Automated systems can help a customer navigate a website and even answer basic questions about policies, shipping, and more.
Did you know? Smallbizgenius has pulled together a few important stats about worldwide automated chat services, or "chatbots" as they call it.
- Banking: It is predicted that 90% of customer banking interactions will be automated by 2022
- Availability: 64% of internet users say 24-hour service is the best feature of chatbots
- Speed: 37% of people use a customer service bot to get a quick answer in an emergency
- Social media presence
With so many individuals using social media these days, it is no surprise that businesses have come on-board ready to both promote their offerings and assist their customers. For larger organizations, such as airlines, that field many customer inquiries daily, social media provides quick assistance to the customer and relief for other support lines such as email and phone. On Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram, customers can inbox, chat, and comment to get answers to their questions.
Did you know? Southwest Airlines has one of the most active presences on social media when compared to other U.S. based airlines. They have a staff of approximately 40 employees who aim to respond to customer inquiries within 15 minutes or less.
- Send us a text!
Text message technology is well over 20 years old now, but it is still one of the preferred methods of contact people use to stay in touch with friends and family. But what about staying in touch with your favorite business? Companies can set up text services to run surveys, confirm appointments, and even send promotional messages. Before doing so, be sure to refer to your region's privacy laws. Beyond that, dedicated text lines are a quick way for customers to get basic information.
For example: TD bank in Canada recently offered a text-in phone number for clients to ask a live agent basic questions regarding products, services, policies, and more. They have since upgraded to a 24/7 chatbot named Clari.