Also consider "offering consumers a call-back option," says Liz Osborn, vice president, Product and Solution Marketing, Five9, a provider of cloud contact center software. A call-back option "is an easy option for businesses to set up based on customized customer preferences" -- and saves customers time and aggravation.
9. Make sure you have a good multichannel ticket management system in place.
"Having a ticketing system that can keep up with all the channels your clients use is imperative," says Jonathan Darcy, a tech advisor at TechnologyAdvice, which connects buyers and sellers of business technology. "For example, if a customer tweets at you, having the ability to turn that tweet into a support ticket is crucial to stay on top of incoming queries, as well as maintaining your brand's reputation."
10. Hire great customer reps, support them and give them some flexibility.
"Don't debase the customer support function," says Brad Smith, executive vice president, Customer Experience, Sage North America. "Customer support agents are your brand ambassadors. They provide engagement with your brand and demonstrate who you are as a company," he explains.
"You can't say you're all about brand and loyalty and then offer your customers an unreliable, awful help experience," he says. So in addition to providing a great product or service, "make sure it's easy to do business with your company," and provide great customer support/agents.
"If you've hired correctly, you've got a team of talented, trustworthy individuals waiting to serve your customers," says John Hebron, a technical support trainer at Bigcommerce. "Having to get manager approval for every small thing wastes their time, the manager's time and the customers' time." So "give them the ability to do what's right without having to always ask permission," he advises. Though be sure to set limits beforehand to avoid potentially costly problems.
11. Make sure you have enough customer service reps during peak times.
"Certain times of the year call for more high-level customer support than others," says Aaron Charlesworth, vice president of Marketing, Vonage Business Solutions. "For example, during the holiday season, customer care centers of retail businesses are at their busiest. Therefore, it is important to ensure there is an adequate amount of [properly trained and equipped] support on all fronts."
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