Digital customer service – do you pass or fail?

Often a digital channel will be the first interaction with a potential customer so it is vital that you give a great first impression.

Most of your digital enquiries will come via email and social media so regular monitoring of these channels is the first step in digital customer services and should form part of your sales process. You need to set up systems and processes to make the customer experience one that is enjoyable and fits with your brand’s personality. Start with these steps:

  1. When you get an email enquiry, DO NOT just answer an email with only what someone asks. Take it the next step and give them additional information. Plus don’t send a form or automated response. (automation is OK as a first email but it needs to be clear they will you will be giving a personal response to their enquiry). Go above and beyond and really listen to what the customer is asking. Ask more questions if you need to in order to answer. And whatever you do, do not call someone Babe or Honey (yes has happened to me with the company in question not understanding their audience at all)
  2. Reply quickly. Sending an automated reply that says you’ll respond in 3-4 days is NEVER EVER acceptable and just bad service (something I recently experienced with a well known fitness company) We want information fast, because we can and should get it quickly now so taking days to respond is a sure way to lose this customer for life.
  3. Don’t ask them to contact you on another channel. The reason they are contacting you on email for example is because 1.they are comfortable with it or 2. You haven’t responded on another channel (such as Twitter or Facebook).
  4. Consider the overall customer journey. Put yourself in their shoes. Would the journey from query to purchase make you comfortable? What would you want? What would make you a raving fan? What is the wow?
  5. Don’t send a copy & pasted form response. Unless you want to lose the customer forever. LISTEN and PERSONALISE your response. I see this constantly with large companies that think a form response is OK when it is not (hear that Telstra)

digital customer service

Remember that when a prospect is sending you an enquiry email they are ready to buy. These digital enquiries should take priority and you will see a return if you think of them as customers walking through your door, not annoying emails.

Digital is 24/7 and being able to do business in a global economy is amazing if you understand that simply being responsive from Mon-Fri 9 to 5 is no longer acceptable. You need to commit to monitoring all your channels outside of hours?

Digital customer service is particularly important in the lead up to Christmas as online shopping continues to increase. By not responding you handing sales to your competitors on a platter, literally!! As a consumer if someone doesn’t respond, I go to their competitor and buy from them within 24 hours. And not only have you lost the sale, you have pissed me off to the point of not wanting to do business with you in the future.  I’ve had companies contact me 3 weeks (and one took 2 months) after I had sent an email enquiry and were surprised by my response.  C’mon get with the program.

I see companies spending thousands of dollars on advertising then committing the cardinal sin of not replying to their sales enquiries that come via digital channels. Crazy!!

This is a no cost tactic that will increase your sales & conversions. Do it and stop making excuses!!

How answering your email can increase your sales

One thing that always baffles me us why businesses spend thousands of dollars on advertising then can’t even answer a customer enquiry via email. Why, why, why??

This makes absolutely NO sense. These are the businesses that complain that their ad campaigns didn’t work when it actual fact the received leads and traffic that the business didn’t convert because they didn’t do the simplest thing and answer the customer enquiry.

Digital advertising Rule 101 – answer customer queries. If someone is taking the time to email you they are genuinely interested in buying your product. Answer them!! Promptly!!

email-marketing

This one simple thing can add thousands of dollars in sales to your bottom line each year. It baffles me why so many businesses ignore email queries. Someone please explain it to me? If someone walked into your store and asked about a product would you ignore them? I don’t think so. So why do you treat them differently online?

I experience this every single day and it baffles me constantly.  And guess what, when someone doesn’t respond I wipe them forever and buy from the competitor. So you’ve not just lost this sale but future sales as well. Pretty damn stupid marketing tactic if you ask me.

Don’t be dumb. Respond to your emails and watch your sales increase.

Social Media can be your best Customer Service tool – if you use it correctly.

Consumers are so used to being connected and getting information quickly that picking up the phone has become ‘like so 2002’. Yes we are pretty lazy when it comes to wanting and expecting customer service but why shouldn’t we expect it? One of my pet peeves is businesses that have social media pages but do not use them. What is the point? Don’t have a link to your Twitter or Facebook page on your website if you do not want people to look at it or contact you on it. You are not only wasting everyone’s time, you are seriously pissing off your potential customers.

One study by Nielsen revealed that 67 per cent of people have used a business’ social media page in order to request service or deal with an issue. One in three social media users prefer obtaining customer service via social media than by contacting businesses using the telephone. It is NOT hard to provide great customer service on social media.

  1. Have the right mindset – if you think of social as a pain than don’t use it. If you take the right attitude about it then it can be an extremely valuable customer research and service tool that can allow you to really understand your audience.
  2. Train your staff – Active use and understanding of social media can be a challenge for some staff, especially those of an older generation who have not grown up with social media and may not use it in their out-of-work life.  Cross-train your staff on social media usage and etiquette. There is often an overlap between marketing and customer service and it can be helpful to come up with some guidelines for best practice and encourage marketing and customer service staff to work together. This is something that Jetstar and Telstra need to learn!
  3. Respond QUICKLY – people expect faster responses on social media. I see this often with big brands who don’t monitor their social channels over weekends or into the evening and can go days without responding. Massive fail! If you don’t have the resources to manage 3 social channels, don’t promote or use them.
  4. Listen and answer questions – do not give form responses. Nothing I hate more as a consumer than getting some form response which doesn’t answer my question. Hear that Twitter & Linked In!!  Be positive and always provide more information than what is requested – don’t be defensive and remember everyone can see your response so being negative to one person can mean hundreds of people see it and are forming an impressions of your brand based on how you react.
  5. Be genuine – Your prospective customers need to see that you are paying attention, have a genuine interest in solving problems and that you respond promptly. Also understand how to deal with abusive complaints by taking them ‘offline’ to avoid consumers being affected by others issues with you, or to avoid customers who complain having to disclose personal information in a public forum

Think social as a service and see the difference in how your customers react to your brand.