Increasingly, customers are relying on the internet to perform daily tasks like banking, shopping, and booking travel. So it’s no surprise that your customers expect to be able to go online and resolve issues and find answers when they buy something from your small business—even if you don’t run an online shopping website.
Today, the key to keeping customers happy is offering several self-service service options on your website, so that customers can find what they need as quickly as possible. Here’s how to provide an amazing online customer experience, no matter what business you’re in.
Highlight contact information
When customers want to ask a question about your products or schedule an appointment, not being able to find your contact information is incredibly frustrating. As soon as they land on your website, customers should be able to locate your contact info within seconds. If they have to hunt it down, their opinion of you will drop dramatically, probably resulting in a lost sale.
Besides having a “Contact Us” link in your footer and top navigation, it’s a good idea to add a phone number at the top of every page. Bonus points for making it toll free. And don’t forget that the most important part of your customer’s support experience is a quick response time. So, make sure to include phone hours, as well as how long it takes to get a response to emails. Don’t make it more than 24 hours.
Upgrade your FAQs
Businesses often hide their contact information because they don’t want to be bombarded with calls and emails. A great way to eliminate a large percentage of them is to provide clear, well-organized FAQs with answers to common questions about products and services, refund polices, etc. Don’t forget to keep adding to it as questions arise.
When it becomes comprehensive, upgrade your FAQs by organizing them into categories, highlighting the most popular questions at the top, and adding a search bar that anticipates questions as they’re typed. Ideally, you should make FAQs accessible from all of your channels, including your social media accounts and blog.
Provide guides, demos, and tutorials
Words can only get you so far. Sometimes the best way to answer your customers’ questions is with other mediums. In some cases, an illustrated guide with screenshots and step-by-step instructions works. Frequently, a short video tutorial or demo will do the trick. While many people won’t take the time to read through a guide, they’ll gladly watch a brief video.
To make sure you’re keeping customers engaged, keep explainer videos and product tutorials under two minutes. If it’s a webinar, limit it to 30 minutes. While you might be reluctant to spend time creating these assets, remember that they double as marketing materials. Share your most popular ones on your social channels to generate buzz and drive traffic to your website.
Offer live chat
Increasingly, customers prefer the immediacy and convenience of live chat. By answering customers’ questions and engaging with them while they’re already on your website, you’re more likely to keep them interested. This support method is ideal for e-commerce stores, but it can also work well for web-based businesses.
If you opt for this method, make sure not to over-complicate things. You shouldn’t require anything more than an order number or an email address for customers to initiate a session. Also, don’t hide the live chat option. If you’ve got it, feature it prominently in a pop-up widget on the bottom right-hand corner. Ideally, it should be available outside of business hours.
Optimize for mobile
In the U.S., more than 70% of online time is spent on mobile devices. Don’t spend the effort to upgrade your online customer experience and then forget to ensure it’s mobile-friendly. This means you need to stay away from Adobe Flash, which has a long history of security issues and bugs.
If your website is on Flash or simply outdated, now’s the time to do a re-design. Fortunately, with a host of pre-built website templates available today, making the upgrade shouldn’t be too much of a hassle—or break the bank.
You can always do better. If you’ve done your homework, your online customer support should run like a well-oiled machine. Customers should be able to come to your website, find the answers they need and go. However, if you don’t ask for ways to improve, you’ll never know what you’re getting wrong.
Make it easy for customers to provide feedback by providing a form on the “Contact Us” page that’s specifically devoted to gathering it. To better organize feedback, include dropdown menus to categorize and route requests. Another option is to send a link surveys via email or provide a link at the bottom of your page.