People hate waiting in line to get help. They especially cannot stand it if they have other options, such as your competitors. To this end, it is important to make it easy for your customers to get in touch with any query – it is a crucial part of your customer experience. Their queries should be answered quickly and to their satisfaction.
Fortunately, it is easy and affordable to make it easier for customers to contact you. Here are some affordable and practical tips to get you started:
1. Train Your Customer Care Agents
Your customers recognize you as an expert in your products or services. To this end, you are the first person they call whenever they have a problem they need to be solved, and they expect you to have a ready solution. Unfortunately, customers have to seek out multiple solutions after lots of waiting because companies don’t train their customer care agents much beyond answering queries.
Your customer care agents should at least have a basic understanding of how your products or services work. To this end, it is prudent to give each of your customer care agents a crash course on your products before setting them up. It is also recommendable to host regular training classes to keep them updated on any new developments and sharpen their current skills. This is especially important if your products are technical and pose problems that require tech-savvy solutions to solve.
Ideally, your customer care team should have quick access to a manual on solving common problems. Additionally, you will need a database of common queries that account for most of the customer care department’s communications traffic.
2. Set Up a National Number
Most people with queries about their products or services prefer calling to other channels of communication. Calling is quicker than typing via channels such as email and live chat. It is also versatile, as your customers can direct the conversation in any direction they want. Most importantly, calling is reassuring as speech commands more trust than text messages.
However, calling is also more expensive than most other communication options. It also doesn’t help that most companies use expensive landline numbers. To this end, it is advisable to use a telephone number that is nationally recognized and doesn’t gobble up too much airtime – ideally, your customer care telephone line should be toll-free. 1800 numbers meet all these requirements and more, adding credibility to your customer support department.
3. Account for Time Zones and Language Differences
The world is open for business, and Australian companies are expanding their markets internationally. This implies that they are taking more international queries, among other things. Their international customers are not necessarily fluent in the Queen’s language, and the time zones differ, too. However, neither of these factors should be a barrier to communication – or the reason for failure in your expansion into international markets.
24/7 Customer Support Services
The international markets don’t sleep, and neither should you. Your customers could be calling at their convenience without realizing that it is 3 A.M. in Australia. Nevertheless, they expect you to respond to their queries immediately.
Consequently, it is necessary to set up a customer support department that runs day and night. You can set up one in-house if you have the resources, invest in an intelligent customer support bot (automated software), or outsource your customer care services to third-party service providers.
A Multilingual Customer Support Team
Language shouldn’t be a barrier to communication in today’s global world. Your customers should be comfortable speaking in their preferred language, and you should have a multilingual customer care team to match.
Your multilingual customer support team doesn’t have to speak all of the world’s languages. Instead, focus on your biggest international markets’ common languages. The team doesn’t have to cost a fortune, either, as multi-lingual support is one of the perks of outsourcing to third-party service providers. Alternatively, you can exploit advances in technology and use automatic translation software.
4. Establish Multiple Channels for the Customers’ Convenience
Ease of communication is one of the reasons why the world has become so globalized. Besides calling, there are many other options that are cheaper and more versatile. It is advisable to include all popular communication channels to suit all your customers’ varying preferences.
More and more customers are opting for live chats to phones, as the former option is free, just as quick as word of mouth, and more versatile. For example, you can share files such as images and videos via live chat portals, making it easier to demonstrate how your products work. Live chat is also cheaper and easier for everyone. For example, you can cut down on customer care agents, as one person can cater to multiple clients via live chat.
Besides live chats, other popular communication options include email, video calls, and popular social media platforms. It is recommendable to list all available options at the bottom of each page on your website. You should also have a dedicated customer support page.
5. Centralize Your Communication Channels
Having multiple communication channels is good for your customers, but it can complicate communications on your end. It can be difficult to track calls and chats via multiple portals, especially if customers follow up on one query through multiple channels. As such, it is advisable to centralize all your communication channels on one platform.
Have one portal where customer care agents can track all incoming calls and texts in real-time. Additionally, it is recommendable to assign fixed query receipt numbers across all platforms for customers who use multiple communication channels.
6. Make Your Communications Secure & Private
Customers can share sensitive and intimate details about themselves when seeking your help. For example, they can share their social security numbers, banking details, and private preferences. They expect confidentiality on your part.
Unfortunately, the recent increase in cybercrime, especially the theft and misuse of customers’ private data, raises concern. Customers feel like they cannot trust companies with their personal data, even if it is necessary for getting them the help they need. To this end, it is necessary to ease your customers’ concerns by implementing fool-proof cyber-security measures and privacy policies.
You can use a range of cyber-security options to secure your communications. For example, end-to-end encryption is effective and cheap, and it is freely available on apps like WhatsApp. Additionally, ensure that you disclose all your customer data policies as often as possible.
7. Organize & Prioritize Queries & Responses
The ultimate goal of a robust customer care department is closing queries quickly and successfully. The queries can come flooding in, making it difficult to track them. They can also pile up, making it difficult to concentrate on the latest queries. To this end, it is important to prioritize queries and respond to each one as fast as possible. Additionally, make sure that you close all solved queries to free up the queue and avoid confusion.
8. Set Up a Self-Help Page
Many of the incoming customer queries are usually common and recurring. They can also be surprisingly easy. It is redundant that they take up so many of your customer support resources. It would be easier for everyone – and cheaper for you – if there were a common directory where customers could get help for easy and common problems.
A self-help page is a practical alternative for your customer care department when it comes to easy and common problems. Many websites style it as a ‘frequently asked questions (FAQs)’ page, whereby guides are styles in a question-answer format. However, these pages should serve the same purpose: offering guidelines on using the product or service and solutions for overcoming common problems.
It is advisable to make the tutorials on your self-help page easy to understand. You can also use videos to substitute one-on-one real-time help. The page should also be easy to find – placing a link on the navigation bar and contacts page will make it more noticeable. It would also be advantageous if the self-help page offered guidelines in multiple languages.
Minimize the Need for Customer Queries
It helps to have a diligent customer care department to cater to your customers’ queries. However, it is more helpful to eliminate the need for customers’ queries. This entails making your products or services easier to use. It also entails making them more reliable by minimizing the number of known or potential problems with your products and services.
Making your products or services better over time is one of the golden rules of succeeding in business. What’s more, it will inspire customers’ confidence in your products, increasing its competitive edge, and bringing in more sales.
However, your customer care department should be as robust as possible until you achieve perfection. Fortunately, these tips are practical and easy to implement in any organization. They are also affordable, and they will strengthen relationships with your customers. More importantly, they will inspire more confidence in your credibility and attract more leads and sales.