24
Apr

Expert Tips for Proactive Customer Service

This is a guest post provided by Ashley Verrill, a market analyst at Software Advice.

If you asked someone what they think about when you say customer service, they would likely describe an unpleasant experience – one of compounding frustration because they had a problem, then were forced to sit on hold and bounce from one agent to another to get it solved.

This scenario is even worse from the company’s perspective. This might have been the only communication since the customer purchased, and it doesn’t really sound like an experience that inspires them to come back.

There is an alternative – proactive customer service. This means reaching out to your customers before they have to call you, instead of reactively responding when they have a problem. Not only does this provide a better experience, but in one study it reduced call volumes by as much as 30 percent. In the same report, customer retention rose as much as 5 percent.

Here, my company provides six specific actions you can take to turn your service from reactive to proactive.

 

Want to know what your customers are thinking? Just ask

Customer service is about giving customers what they want, which means you first have to find out what that is. And there’s no better way than to ask them. By regularly reaching out to customers, businesses can easily identify areas of weakness and correct them before customers become unhappy.

PBS.org, for example, used customer feedback technology from ForeSee and found out that many of their website visitors were looking for recipes from their cooking shows – information that wasn’t available online. This frustrated many viewers that visited the website. As a result, PBS.org created a new website exclusively for recipes and other food-related resources. Their customer satisfaction levels increased dramatically.

 

Reach out and be transparent if there’s a known problem

It’s always better for customers to hear about a problem directly from you instead of realizing the product or service doesn’t do what they need it to, when they need it. While they might still be frustrated, these customers are less apt to hold a grudge; or worse, head to social media to voice their dissatisfaction.

If your company identifies a problem, you should first identify all customers that would be affected by the issue and proactively reach out and offer an apology. Additionally, you could offer a discount towards a future purchase, or a refund if your solution to the problem can’t address their needs.

If you can’t solve the problem right away, be empathetic and clear about what you’re doing to address the issue. Finally, invite them to contact you with any questions or feedback, and make sure those responding to this channel do so quickly.

 

Show some love for your loyal customers

Proactively reaching out to customers with offers in between purchases provides an additional opportunity for positive interaction with customers to strengthen their relationship with the company. It can also solve problems customers didn’t even know they had by alerting them to something they may be missing out on and offering a way to fix this.

Sending an email to a customer a couple months before their two-year subscription renewal is due, for example, and offering a five percent discount to thank them would likely seal their desire to renew. It also means the customer doesn’t have to call or email to renew themselves, which prevents any lapses in their subscription and ensures their continued satisfaction.

 

Look for clues of unrest in online conversations, attack the problem

Use social listening technology or manual searches to find customers talking about your company on social media. If you find someone voicing a complaint, reach out and see what you can do to address their needs. If they respond positively, you might retweet or share that experience. This shows you care and respond proactively, and could solve similar issues if other customers are having the same issue.

If you surface a repeated issue, this might indicate something bigger is going on. This would prompt you to reach out to similar customers in your database just to check and make sure they don’t have the same problem.

 

Use live chat to prevent customers from digging around to find the answer

A Forrester survey found that 44 percent of respondents believe the ability to get quick answers from a live chat representative during an online purchase is “one of the most important features a website can offer.”

Online chat assures website visitors that someone at the company is there to provide any information needed and saves them the trouble of having to search for an answer or call or email the company.

Proactive customer service doesn’t just help you keep the customers you have happy. By turning your customers into advocates for your brand, it becomes a marketing tool that drives new business. Investing a little extra in a proactive customer service approach now is a valuable strategy that can result in considerable dividends down the line.

 

About Ashley Verrill
Ashley Verrill is a market analyst at Software Advice. She has spent the last six years reporting and writing business news and strategy features. Her work has appeared in myriad publications including Inc., Upstart Business Journal, the Austin Business Journal and the North Bay Business Journal. Before joining Software Advice in 2012, she worked in sales management and advertising. She is a University of Texas graduate with a bachelor’s degree in journalism.

16
Apr

How to Calm an Angry Customer

Dealing with complaining customers is an important part of any customer service. It is easy to help when customers explain in details what happened and what they want to be done. But how to help an angry customer, when his emotions do not let you evaluate the situation? Here are some tips on how to handle the situation.

1.    Actively listen and empathize with the customer.
Let your customers express their feelings and talk through their problems. Convey that you understand how they feel using phrases like “I understand your disappointment” or “I can imagine how upsetting that must have been”.

2.    Identify the problem.
You have to clearly understand what the problem is to be able to provide a solution. If the problem is not clear to you, do not be afraid to ask questions.

3.    Apologize when appropriate.
Sometimes your customers just want to hear that you admit the guilt and you are sorry about the issue, and their anger vanishes in a split second. But do not apologize too much, 1-2 times is enough in any situation.

4.    Offer a solution.
Concentrate on the solutions at your disposal and make sure that the customer agrees with the offered solution and understands what will be done. Mention that even the offered solution will not work, you will do your best to help. Bring in your supervisor if a customer demands more than you can deliver.

5.    Deliver on a promise in a timely manner.
It is very important to be precise about resolving the issue. Make sure that everything is done in full and on time.

6.    Ask for a feedback.
Make sure that your customer is satisfied with the provided solution and he does not have any further complaints about the issue.

7.    Wow the customer.
Exceed customer’s expectations providing faster help or doing more than he could expect of you. Sometimes it can be good to favor a customer with a small gift.

 

GENERAL ADVICE

Never argue back. Confrontation is what you need to avoid in this situation.

Be patient. If you stay calm and remain professional, your customers will slow down their emotions sooner or later.

Stay positive. No matter what happened, try to overcome all negative tendencies and adopt a positive approach and mindset.

27
Mar

Nurture Customer Loyalty Through Chat Application Software!

The businesses ultimate purpose is to create more customers but it is imperative to create the customers which are actually loyal to your company. The online businesses usually face the difficulty to attract customers towards them especially when they do not have a proper channel to talk to the prospect. Below are some tips to generate and maintain the maximum number of customers in any kind of situation.

18
Mar

Strengthen The Business With Customer Support Chat Software!

Do you wonder how to increase number of customers? If so, don’t worry you are not alone. The businesses are always looking for ways to search out new customers. If you want to increase the customer base here we are writing few creative tips which will help you create new customers.

Strengthen communication skills:

Customer support chat software is really helpful to enhance the communication between you and your prospect largely. In this respect it is important for all the chat representatives to have thorough understanding of the products, services and business so that they can deliver it to the customers directly. Communication is the heart of a business. Keep it alive to satisfy the customers.

Give something away:

Every time the business creates a “giveaway” it generates more traffic and potential customers instantaneously. If you want it to lead you new business opportunities go for a larger giveaway and also adopt a fun way to do that.

Create a tinkle:

Tinkle about your products and services and let people know. Easiest way is to choose the infamous Facebook and integrate customer support chat software on the fan page. Facebook is the best platform for the viral success of a product.

Clench a contest:

Customer acquisition especially over internet is tricky and you need to gather the pool of customer which may be interested in your product. Attract them by offering them a chance to win something valuable out of your offering. Hold the contest on the socially active platform; which is undoubtedly Facebook.

28
Feb

6 Must-Read Blogs About Customer Service

There is a lot of information about customer service and customer experience on the Internet now: advices, trends, tips, and more. We have found a few must-read blogs for you that can inspire your team for great service and help you build a customer-oriented company.

 

1.      CustomerThink http://www.customerthink.com

Description: CustomerThink is a global online community of business leaders striving to create profitable customer-centric enterprises. Main areas of coverage include Customer Relationship Management, Customer Experience Management and Social Business.

Posting frequency: Daily.

 

2.      Service Untitled http://www.serviceuntitled.com/

Description: Service Untitled focuses on pragmatic and simple solutions to real customer service problems. In addition to content from Service Untitled’s regular writers, the blog features regular interviews with industry leaders, posts from guest writers, and special content.

Posting frequency: Weekly.

 

3.      Shep Hyken’s Customer Service Blog http://www.hyken.com/blog/

Description: Shep Hyken is a speaker and bestselling author who works with companies and organizations who want to build loyal relationships with their customers and employees. His articles have been read in hundreds of publications, and he is the author of Moments of Magic, The Loyal Customer and the Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestsellers, The Cult of the Customer and The Amazement Revolution, which was also recognized as a New York Times bestseller.

Posting frequency: Weekly.

 

4.      Seth Godin’s blog http://sethgodin.typepad.com/ 

Description: Seth Godin has written fourteen books that have been translated into more than thirty languages. Every one has been a bestseller. He writes about the post-industrial revolution, the way ideas spread, marketing, quitting, leadership and most of all, changing everything.

Posting frequency: Daily.

 

5.      Bill Hogg’s blog http://www.billhogg.ca

Description: The blog focus is the critical relationship between the customer and the people who deliver the service experience as a competitive advantage.

Posting frequency: Monthly.

 

6.      AllBusiness http://www.allbusiness.com

Description: AllBusiness is the world’s largest online resource for small businesses, providing essential tools and resources to start, grow, and manage your business. AllBusiness.com brings you real-world expertise and practical advice from some of the best minds in small business.

Posting frequency: Daily.

 

We hope you learn and adopt a lot from these blogs. Good luck!

13
Feb

Do Not Sound Like a Robot Using Canned Messages

When your customers contact you via online chat service, they definitely expect to chat to a human. But sometimes they feel like they are talking to a robot, which can be a bit disappointing to them. In the most cases this happens because of the quality of the canned messages you use.

It is tempting to compose all possible replies to all possible questions and save them as canned messages. The only thing that operator will need is to find the correct text and send it as a reply. But there are a few things that you need to remember when writing pre-defined messages not to sound like a robot.

1.      Keep “human” tone.

When you chat to your website visitors online, you do not have much time to compose perfect messages, so you use simple and common words and phrases. When you compose pre-defined messages, you have more time to think over the phrases and this often results in complicated constructions and long words. Your chat visitors feel it immediately, and this degrades their satisfaction level even if all their questions have been answered.

It is worth trying not to write the messages from scratch, but find the best examples in your chat archive, and use them as pre-defined replies. You’ll avoid complex structures because these messages are created in real-time conversation, and they most probably sound “human”.

If you do not have chat history yet, or cannot find a good reply to a question, try to limit the time for composing. Do not think over a reply longer than 2-3 minutes. The more time you take, the better your chances are to spoil a message.

2.      Do not sound as commercial.

Imagine that you are talking to a company representative, asking simple questions, and getting simple answers. Then you ask about pricing, and suddenly the representative’s tone changes and he starts talking like a TV-commercial star. Wouldn’t it sound weird? Definitely it would. It feels the same in the website chat. It is not a good idea to copy promo texts from your website as they normally do not fit in a regular conversation.

Show your messages to your friends or colleagues and ask if they sound normal or too commercial. Ask yourself if you talk this way in real life. If the answer is “no”, then you definitely need to re-write the message.

3.      Use short messages.

Pre-defined messages allow you to provide full information quickly and correctly. That is where long replies come from. Your customers will not believe that you type 100-word messages in half-minute. An average word count for live chat messages is 15-30 words. Try to fit in this limit for simple answers or double it for extended replies. Longer messages automatically give you away. 

4.      Be specific.

When customers ask a question, they expect to get an answer to this specific question, not a broad reply. Of course it is impossible to write pre-defined replies to all specific questions, but isn’t it why you hire a live chat agent? If you do not have a canned message providing a direct answer to a visitor’s question, it is better to type a reply instead of utilizing a broad match.

 

We hope these tips will help you to compose pre-defined replies. Feel free to contact us for advice.

11
Jan

HelpOnClick Live Chat App Is Available on App Store!

We are glad to inform you that a stable version of the HelpOnClick live chat for iPhones and iPads is now available on the App Store! 

From now on you can talk to your website visitors via HelpOnClick live chat using its native application for iPhone and iPad. The application allows you to use all the chatting features that the web interface has:

iPhone Screenshot 1   iPhone Screenshot 2   iPhone Screenshot 3

 

On the real-time traffic monitoring screen you can see who is browsing your website, which countries the visitors came from, which pages they are browsing now, for how long they’ve been staying on your website and their referrer URL. The invite status will help you identify if the visitors have been automatically invited to chat, or if they are chatting to other operators. You can also invite visitors to chat manually.

The chat screen for iPads is designed the way that you are able to see your canned messages always on the screen, and there is a drop-down window for iPhones.  Sneak peak on real time typing is another powerful feature that helps you provide correct timely answers to your visitors’ questions really fast.

The most remarkable thing is that you do not need to stay inside the app to receive incoming chats. You will get a notification with a sound if you are browsing other applications or even if your device is in the sleep mode.

HelpOnClick live chat application for iPhone and iPad is absolutely free for all HelpOnClick subscribers. We hope you enjoy using it, and we will be glad to see your reviews on the App Store and on our Facebook page.

Download the HelpOnClick live chat application from the App Store now!

 

25
Dec

HelpOnClick Celebrating Joys With You

Everybody nowadays is making use of the biggest social media platform, Facebook. It is because it has become the hottest site in the World Wide Web. Thereby, you have better chances to augment and flourish the business. HelpOnClick brings app for Facebook chat which will allow you to better interact with the customers.

As the Christmas is approaching HelpOnClick is here to provide you with the best. Consequently, the application is available to use for 14 DAYS FREE TRIAL. This is indeed an amazing offer for the businesses to elevate the performance big time. It’s a fully hosted service and needs no complicated installation procedure.

Rejoicing with you in the miracle of the season!

18
Dec

More Sales on Christmas Season! It Is Possible!

Is there live chat support on your e-Commerce website? No? You are losing your customers and income!

 

It is the hottest time of Christmas season now. Christmas is so close, and there are so many things to do and buy. This is the busiest time for many retailers. Sign in your website analytics account and check if conversion rate of your website is low, satisfying or great. Don’t think it is great? You have a room to improve it!

There is a good opportunity to improve your online sales almost immediately. Install HelpOnClick live chat to your website and let your sales person or someone who knows your products communicate to your website visitors via live chat. HelpOnClick live chat can be integrated into any website within just few minutes, so you can see the results today!

Here are some tips on how you can better assist your website visitors on Christmas season.

You have few more days to increase your Christmas sales and make your customers happy. Hurry up and sign up for HelpOnClick live chat service. It is free for 14 days, and limited Christmas offer is coming! Be the lucky one!

12
Dec

How To Handle Criticism With The Help Of Live Chat Software

Time to time again customer service is talked about. But have anyone told you before that customer service all about handling unhappy, rude, upset unsatisfied customers? No? Let us look at this side of the picture. Customers can make or break your company therefore you need to be very careful while dealing with them. You will have to face a lot of criticism from them. But the key point is that you should lose your temper. Instead of giving up follow the simple process to manage the difficult customers.

Ensure excellent class of service:

“Customer is always right.”

Another type of customer is the one who have negative attitude towards company because of their past experiences. Value them and check back giving them with a solution. You may ask humbly, “Would that be satisfactory sir?” Tell them you still care in order to change their view about you. Focus on the customer demands to retain them. Certainly live chat software would be a helpful communication tool online.

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