Despite the rumors, the web is not dead. More people use it, they have faster bandwidth, and in many cases, Net time takes over the time of the television. Its no wonder that more users turn to the network for help, rather than the phone. So why not take advantage of offering your customers online online after sales? Considering that the average customer service call is 33 dollars, its a great way to please customers who prefer the web over a phone queue and save money as well.
Not that you ever want to drive customers away. Keeping a good customer is a lot cheaper than acquiring a new one. The idea is to move the majority of calls to self-help and book quality time for those customers who need to talk to a real person. If you guide certain customers to answer the questions themselves, make it a good experience, and offer incentives for use, self-help will be their first choice.
The kind of online support required for each customer and for each problem can be different, so it is best to provide a range of self-help options and let customers choose what works for them. Online support comes in many forms, but at the moment you focus on the least expensive common questions (FAQs), Elevated FAQs, Discussion Forums and Email. Its better to start with some options first and make them good, rather than trying to do it all at once. Giving a good help experience to people using the web makes them more likely to turn to the web for help over and over again.
Determine your online support strategy - Find out what will give you the greatest support for your money, then add. Having a plan will help each support component work in a coherent whole. General information can be easily managed with frequently asked questions or improved common questions. More complex or customer-specific information requires advanced technology. If you do not have the skills or time to build up the functionality yourself, check out web service providers that can create and host programs for you.
Focus and Goals - Do not try to create online support to cover all topics. Consider customer demographics to determine who will use the service, why they would use it, what they would need, and what would make them use it. Customers usually use a combination of both online and offline support options, thus building user cases for each customer segment to gain an understanding of their behavior and how to improve their overall experience.
Tell customers Where to go - Make sure that links to the help section are communicated clearly at each point of contact, such as on printed material and via IVR system. Get acquainted with your sales and phone service with the website and its benefits, like i. Did you know that we have a website that shows how to do it? Offer customers incentives to encourage the first time and let them come in short queens if they try to self-help before calling.
Give them Alternatives - Although a customer visited the site just looking for contact information, there is no reason why you can not try to solve their problem while they are there and save you both a phone call. Briefly describe what is offered through self-help, how it works and what to expect. You do not want customers to waste their time looking for information that is not there.
More than just common questions - Expand your common questions by providing photos and interactivity. Imagine how much easier it is to show images describing a car battery installation or a bike assembly, instead of explaining it in words alone. Engaging the user through interaction improves learning and results in a more positive experience, which means they should use self-help again.
Get them talking - Get customers to search and answer questions themselves through a discussion forum. Get information from the boards for your frequently asked questions.
Email with caution - Use email, but be sure to have the resources to respond in an up-to-date and effective manner. If you set the expectation that it takes too long for answers, customers will lose confidence in the service and not use it again. Be careful about using automated email responders as well. If customers have to wait and still do not get the specific help they need, the best thing you can hope for is frustrated customers. More likely you will stop paying for this drop in customer service in the form of phone support and lost future sales.
Survey Says - Let customers tell you what they need. It is the best way to improve your online customer support. Ask some simple follow-up questions through an online survey, but keep it short and easy. Respect your customers time.