How Technology Can Improve Customer Service and Create Brand Advocates
The majority of modern customers won’t buy anything without doing some research first. Roughly 80 percent of customers conduct research online before buying a product, while others will even comparison shop on their smartphones while standing in the store before buying an item in person.
You can publish exhaustive resources on your website, explanatory videos on YouTube, and regular blogs about your product all you want, but the truth is that the majority of customers trust their family, friends, colleagues, and reviews from people who’ve already bought the product much more than they trust any resource from the company.
You need advocates, and your existing customers have the potential to be the best advocates for your brand — as long as you keep them happy. Your relationship with your customers doesn’t stop when you close the sale. If you want to turn existing customers into loyal repeat customers and repeat customers into outspoken supporters of your brand, technology can be a huge help.
Turning Existing Customers Into Advocates
The field of customer success is relatively nascent, arising from the widespread availability of information and social media interactions. Not long ago, it was difficult for prospective customers to find reviews or opinions from people who had already bought the product or service — now, almost every product has reviews online.
The name of the game in customer success is not the same as customer service — your goal isn’t to answer questions or solve problems, it’s to anticipate questions and problems so that the customer never needs to ask. That’s where technology can be such an enormous help.
With detailed data collection, analysis, and pattern recognition, you can determine the most common pain points and concerns of your customers and address them with future customers. If you find that people struggle to get your software set up, you can make a video pointing out the exact areas that people have the most trouble with. If your customer service receives consistent complaints about a particular feature, you can address them ahead of time and ward off those calls.
How Technology Can Help
If you want to make your current customers into advocates, you need to keep them happy and successful. There are a number of technological tools that can help:
- Face-to-face remote communication: Over the last year, the prevalence of video chatting for both business and personal reasons has exploded. Though video meetings aren’t always the right solution, they can lend a much more personal touch to service calls or check-ins with your customers. You can also use them to share your screen or show educational resources that will walk the customer through difficult tasks much more effectively than describing them over the phone or email.
- Unified communications across channels: Some people still like phone calls, some prefer email, and increasing numbers of (mostly younger) customers like to interact with companies via social media and other messaging apps. With a good CRM and other tools, you can bring together all the information you have on a given customer and everything you’ve learned about them to provide a more tailored, personalized experience.
- Real-time messaging: Millennials and Generation Z don’t like talking on the phone, but they also don’t like waiting 24-48 hours to hear back from an email question. Modern chatbots, live chat tools, and social media monitoring can help you respond to customer concerns live and in real-time so your customers are never left in the dark with a problem they can’t fix.
- Bots that work with customer service rather than replace it: Companies that try to use chatbots as a replacement for live customer service are setting themselves up for disaster — bots still aren’t smart enough to answer complex questions, deal with angry customers diplomatically, or offer concrete solutions like refunds or changes to orders. What bots can do is support your service teams and free up their time for more important tasks. Bots can answer basic customer questions or intelligently direct people to existing resources. They can answer questions after hours or at least submit tickets on behalf of customers so they don’t feel ignored. They can ask people about their needs and direct them to the right person to help them. By using bots to supplement your existing service and success teams, you can create a more agile, intelligent service network that will anticipate and solve problems and keep your customers satisfied.
- Self-service: One of the best ways to avoid long service times is to help your customers help themselves. Detailed resources, product demo videos, FAQ sections, customer testimonials, and forums are all excellent ways to provide users with the means to solve their own issues.
Focus on Customer Success
The end goal of this kind of technology is to keep your existing customers as happy and successful as possible. If they’re using your product on a regular basis, integrating it into their daily lives, and gaining a notable benefit from it, they’ll recommend it to others and take your lead generation pipeline to the next level.
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