According to the 2015 Aspect Consumer Experience Survey, 76 percent of consumers say they view customer service as the true test of how much a company values them. Meanwhile, a survey from Lithium Technologies found consumers expect brands to respond within an hour when they have a complaint. That number is still high even if there’s not a complaint. Some 53 percent want a brand to respond to them even if they don’t have an issue.
Offering quality, consistent, around the clock customer service is no longer an option. Today’s customers expect brands to deliver, or will take their business elsewhere. Not sure where to start? Here are five tips for delivering 24-hour customer support.
Leverage Social Listening
Make social listening part of your overall customer service strategy. You’ll save yourself hours of frustration by zeroing in on what your audience needs and wants and address it in real time. For example, identity protection company LifeLock listens to its audience on Twitter and responds with tips and info and curates articles and resources their customers benefit from. Use a platform like Buffer to build a social listening dashboard and keep track of keywords and conversations.
There’s another reason you should be listening in on your customers that goes beyond customer service. The more you respond to your audience with the relevant info they need, the stronger your base of loyal fans become. It’s hard not to like and trust a brand that truly listens to its audience with customer service and support in mind.
Respond on Social Media
Nike has its own Twitter support channel, @NikeSupport. They typically respond within minutes to any questions, issues or complaints. The idea isn’t just to resolve customer’s problems, but to build public credibility and establish trust. Nike’s customers know where to go to get help and resources and are more prone to retweet their positive experiences and support the brand.
Create Customer Self-service Channels
You’re missing out on a valuable customer service channel if you’re not offering an FAQ section or other self-service channel. According to Forrester Research, 72 percent of customers prefer to use self-service support rather than phone or email support.
Create a robust collection of resources that best directs your customers. Think about text FAQs, online video tutorials, a section for commonly asked questions, troubleshooting tips and an online forum. Remember to make it consistent and cohesive. Don’t overwhelm your audience with too many channels, and focus on the ones that serve them best.
Offer Omni-channel Support
Customers expect to receive customer service with their channel of choice. That could mean self-service, text, web or social media. But the problem isn’t necessarily delivering options customer’s want, but rather creating a streamlined experience. Customers want to go from one support channel to the next and have the same, consistent experience.
If a customer opened a support ticket online, but then decide to call your customer service team, they expect you to have all of the information needed to resolve their issue. A service like Aspect Zipwire offers omni-channel support services to meet your customer’s needs.
Empower Your Customer Service Team
It’s impossible to personally supervise your customer service team 24-hours a day. Improve your customer service by empowering them to make decisions that benefit the customer. At one point, Ritz Carlton authorized their customer service team to spend up to $2,000 per guest to make them happy.
You don’t necessarily need to spend a few thousand dollars on your customers to make them happy. Instead, empower your team to make their own decisions within a framework of doing what’s best for the customer. Making customers wait for days or weeks to go through supervisory channels for a simple refund isn’t going to win you any favors. Let your team make informed choices about whether to send out replacement parts, a new product, coupons or a refund as needed.