Technologist David Strom writes in his 14 July 2008 newsletter, you need multiple communications paths for your customer service department, if you want to have adequate customer service. You can’t just have an 800 number, if anyone can actually get through to it and not wait forever and a day on hold. You can’t just have email, if anyone’s job is to actually to answer it within a few hours of receipt. You need Instant Messaging connections, Web click-to-call, and what about those people that take the time to send you an actual postal letter, before they go postal on you? Yes, yes, and yes. Do it all.
Even though your business might not have the resources of a your nearest 379 employee size competitor, affordable and easy to manage technology can ensure that you give your customers the best customer service possible.
For example, tools such as virtual chat agents can help automate customer service inquires on your web site.
Virtual telephone systems such as from Gotvmail and RingCentral easily enable you to project a “larger business” image than you might have with just you and 4 or 10 other employees. Of course Microsoft’s Response Point or Talkswitch are ideal phone systems as well.
Enabling live instant messaging means that customers can get near instant answers to their questions. I’ve used this feature a number of times when shopping for things online.
One thing that customers hate (aren’t YOU a customer) is holding on the phone for minutes and minutes and minutes at a time. Only the real desperate will be on hold for hours. In any case, Amazon.com’s Unbox (video download service) calls the customer! There’s no hold time.
Beyond answers the phone it’s also important to consider the “non-technology” dimensions of customer service. Make sure you really SERVE your customers. David Strom writes As I have said in the past, those companies that don’t provide decent customer service won’t have their customers much longer. If you are in charge of your department, think about ways that you touch your customers and make a pledge to do something small to improve what you do, and that you will provide some incentives to your crew so that they actually follow through with it. Sometimes, all it takes is for the customer service rep to listen to the complaint, apologize, and make some small token of appeasement.
So remember two points:
1. Leverage technology to its fullest to provide you customers and your prospective customers with the best customer service.
2. Beyond hearing customers, it’s also important to respond to them in the right way