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11 tips for improving your company's customer support

Jennifer Lonoff Schiff | March 4, 2015
Here’s how to ensure your customers are getting the help they need and coming away with a positive impression of your company.

"By responding effectively and consistently across every social channel, your business can drive customer satisfaction to new heights."

5. Cover all your bases (or channels).
"Today's consumer is constantly jumping from text messages to phone calls, from social media to email," explains Spence Mallder, CTO at Aspect Software, an enterprise call center and customer service solution provider. So businesses need to take an omni-channel approach to customer service.

"That means a) providing customers with the option of moving across channels for quick and easily accessible assistance, and b) supplying agents with the automated technology they need to pull customer information and history for quick and accurate assistance," he says. "Omni-channel solutions take the multichannel contact center to the next level, seamlessly integrating all channels for one fluid experience."

6. Really listen to customers.
That means paying attention to what they are saying or writing, "validating customers' concerns, identifying with every customer's experience and instilling confidence that you will own and resolve the issue," says Nate Rosenthal, director of Customer Support at Square.

It also means "using clear and direct language. Don't use technical terms or industry lingo," he advises. Instead use plain English, but don't talk down to customers. And "be straightforward," yet polite.

7. Provide a self-service option.
"When customers can easily and quickly find detailed answers to their problems on their own, they feel empowered and appreciative of the detailed information they can access without having to deal with customer support," says Jennifer Roberts, the marketing and integrations manager for Hubstaff, which provides time tracking solutions for remote companies.

"Building a community of engaged brand advocates around a help forum, on various platforms, also furthers their interaction with the brand by giving them a place to ask questions and collaborate with other users."

"Self-service can be the quickest way for customers to get the answers they need if it includes elements like FAQs, a portal and customer forums," adds Robert C. Johnson, CEO of TeamSupport, a cloud-based customer support & help desk solution. "It also reduces agent workload."

However, remember that "self-service doesn't mean leaving customers to sort out issues on their own," he cautions. "Ideally, a self-service option [should] be provided as one choice among many, with agent support always available when needed."

8. Remember that no one likes phone trees or waiting on hold.
Provide a toll-free number; "make [it] easily accessible; and back it up with a live person to answer the phone," says Jerry Lee, founder, StoryLeather.com, an online retailer specializing in custom premium leather goods. "This sounds basic, but consumers are so turned off by auto attendants and long wait times that having a live person to answer the phone will give you the most positive first impression possible as a company."

 

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