The Three E’s of Online Customer Service
An effective customer service strategy needs to keep these three criteria at its core:
If your support is easy to access, efficiently answers questions, and effectively conveys your brand tone, then you will have satisfied customers. It’s a pretty simple equation, right? Well, as any customer service manager knows, satisfying these three criteria is easier said than done.
Here are actionable steps that you can take to incorporate the three E’s into your service workflows and ensure happier customers in the process.
Ease refers primarily to how accessible your customer support is. How long does it take a customer to find an avenue for contacting you? How laborious is this avenue? Increasingly, customers demand self-service options and lightning-fast responses — in fact, 53 percent of consumers are likely to abandon their online purchase if they can’t find a quick answer to their question.
The components that make customer support easily accessible are:
- In-Channel support
Don’t make a customer leave your app to contact support on email. This rupture in the customer experience makes it unlikely that customers will to return to what they were doing — whether that was checking out, purchasing tokens, playing a game, or any other form of engagement. Instead, provide in-channel support: in-app chat and web chat. Let customers contact you where they’re already living, so that they can get back to your brand the second their question is answered.
According to Forrester, use of FAQs on company websites increased from 67 percent in 2012 to 81 percent in 2015 among US online adults. People want to self-serve, and considering that allowing them to do so saves your CS team time and money, every organization should be offering self-service. Make your knowledge base easy to find and equipped with dynamic search so customers can rapidly find the answer to their question.
- Immediate time to first response
Most organizations won’t have the manpower to actually respond to all queries immediately. Chatbots offer a customer-pleasing solution to this problem. They can respond instantaneously, collect customer information, and then hand off a customer to an agent based on agent capacity and specialty.
73 percent of customers say that valuing their time is the most important thing a company can do to provide them with good online customer service. There are a few ways companies can communicate that they do value customers’ time (and putting them on hold isn’t one of them):
- Drop email like it’s hot
Email is by nature a discordant form of communication. 77 percent of people won’t wait longer than 6 hours for an email reply — and even if an agent responds within minutes (which is highly unusual), the customer may not see it for another few hours. Meet customers in-channel, and get their questions answered in real time.
- Implement an AI-based workflow
Automation is the golden ticket to a seamless customer support journey. 48.8 percent of consumers cited AI-powered chatbots being available 24/7 as their biggest benefit. Implement automated triage, bot ticket deflection, and bot information collection to ensure that customers are sent to the right agent, and that agents have all the necessary information to rapidly answer the customer’s question. Make sure to include a ticket deflection bot — if there’s already a knowledge base article out there that answers the customer’s question, give the customer the opportunity to self serve.
Many customer support teams get so wrapped up in the mechanics of their support strategy that they forget to stay caring and on-brand.
- Give on-brand suggested agent responses
Write suggested agent responses for common questions that use your brand voice. Whether that be quirky, fun, irreverent, or academic, make sure that your agents have access to content that mirrors your brand voice for all of their tickets.
- Use memes, gifs, emojis, and branded visual material
Give your customer support a little pep with gifs, emojis, and other visual assets. Whether it be a waving emoji at the beginning of a conversation, or a dancing gif after the customer says thank you, these little touches go a long way.
Spruce Up Your Three E’s Today
Implementing the suggestions above requires a combination of technology and personal branding. Invest in the tools that will enable you to deliver answers quickly and efficiently, and then make sure that those answers are delivered in your unique brand voice.
Want to learn more?
- Blog Post: How Email Lost the War to Battle-Tested Messaging
- Blog Post: Today’s Self-Service Tools Put Your Customers First
- Customer Service Glossary Article: What is First Response Time?