Senior Writer: Rohit Rajpal
Customer experience has become more important than ever. 84% of consumers say customer service is a vital factor in deciding whether to purchase an item, while 94% consider it essential for brand loyalty.
The best way to keep up with customers’ expectations is by providing them with different channels to purchase and reach out to you. By making it easier for your customers to access your services, you’ll increase the likelihood of them being happy.
Here are the top 12 customer service tools that you can implement now in your business.
1- Live Chat
Human-powered live chat has become one of the most popular support options, especially amongst younger audiences. 79% of consumers prefer live chat as it offers instant responses.
Live chat options can be used for more than just providing customer’s questions. It is also a great way to give information to consumers that might increase sales and enhance the customer journey.
For example, Betterment, a leading online investment advisor, uses live chat to offer instant, personalized assistance to new users so they can invest with confidence and ensure customer satisfaction.
Another great example of a brand using live chat to offer more than just customer service is Ruffwear. They trigger proactive chat invitations specific to visitors’ needs on particular pages on their website, thereby encouraging purchases. For instance, on the dog boots page, they trigger a message that says, “need help choosing the best boot for your adventure buddy? If you have any questions, please let me know!”
A chatbot is yet another great customer service tool that can help provide a good user experience. What’s more, chatbots are an efficient alternative to human-powered live chat and are available 24/7, offering customers immediate responses even outside business hours.
The only disadvantage of chatbots is that they cannot handle complex requests. If a customer asks something that is not on your FAQs, the chatbot will probably not be able to answer it.
Therefore, the best way to leverage a chatbot is by combining it with human-powered live-chat, just like Zomato does. When you contact Zomato’s support team via its mobile app, its chatbot will try to solve your query, and if it can’t, your query will be redirected to a human agent instantly.
This saves your time even when your query is redirected, as you won’t have to repeat your issue, thereby enhancing customer experience.
3- Online Communities
An online community can be defined as a place where your customers meet virtually. In online communities, customers can share their feedback on your products, their passion for your product, or their learnings.
Not sure if creating a community for your brand is a good idea? Consider these statistics:
- 37% of users will stick to a brand if they are a part of the community
- 88% of businesses say that the community has helped improve customer experience.
- 78% of companies say that the community has helped them develop new products and services.
Depending on your business goals, the online community could be a private group, where only you can add people. Or, it may be an open forum where anyone can read (and post) resources and feedback.
You can create online communities on a variety of platforms (for free), such as:
- LinkedIn (if you are a B2B business)
4- Business Phone System
A business phone system is one of the most common choices for customer service teams. 65% of people prefer to contact a business over the phone.
By investing in a cloud business phone system like CallHippo, you can allow your support agents to take calls anywhere, thereby increasing productivity by up to 20%.
Other benefits of a cloud business phone system include:
- Cost savings as you don’t need to invest in any hardware.
- Access the phone system from anywhere.
- Provides detailed call analytics (caller details, call status, and time duration).
- Listen to call recordings to improve your product and agent’s performance.
- Call transfer feature to redirect a connected call to another agent.
5- Self-Service Portals
79% of customers expect organizations to provide self-support tools. Self-service portals allow customers to find answers quickly without having to contact support. It also decreases the load on your support team.
The most common type of self-service portals includes FAQs, knowledge base, online discussion forums, and how-to guides.
Here’s how you can leverage self-service portals to enhance customer experience:
- Highlight the most popular FAQs on the top.
- Categorize the FAQs into different sections to make it easier for customers to find relevant answers.
- Create step-by-step guides with screenshots or videos, if possible, to help users use your product.
- Update your articles and FAQs regularly to reflect the latest version of your product.
- Analyze user search behavior and create content accordingly.
- Create a knowledge base that helps customers get the most out of your product.
For example, Slack, a business communication platform, has a knowledge base where users can search for their issues and get a solution. Slack has also categorized its knowledge base based on different topics, such as getting started, using Slack, administration, etc.
6- Email Support
With 62% of customers preferring email as a communication channel, it surely cannot be overlooked. Besides, it is one of the most direct communication channels.
Most brands use email for sharing promotional content and providing customer support. Busy customers can quickly type an email and send it, thereby saving a lot of time.
Another benefit of email support is that customers can describe the issue in a detailed manner, share sensitive information (such as credit card details), and attach screenshots, enabling you to offer personalized customer service.
7- Social Media
Social media has quickly become a go-to channel for customers to contact brands. Two-third of global shoppers messaged a business on social media last holiday season.
What’s more, is that nearly 50% of people expect brands to respond to their queries within an hour. This makes it imperative for you to create and maintain an active social media presence.
You can also use social media to share humorous posts to attract customers and build a loyal following. For example, Taco Bell shares witty one-liners on Twitter to make their followers smile. They also send birthday wishes to their customers from their official handle.
8- Mobile Apps
According to eMarketer, an adult smartphone user spends about four hours per day using mobile internet, and 88% of that time is spent on mobile apps rather than a browser.
A mobile app helps you reach customers in real-time, increase engagement with your brand, and boost sales. Besides, a mobile app provides a quick way to resolve customers’ issues (via live chat options).
Other benefits of creating mobile apps include:
- Allows you to share personalized content.
- Provides users with instant access to your products.
- Keeps your brand on top of the customers’ minds.
- Lets you share updates and offers instantly with push notifications.
Even major brands like Netflix, Amazon, and Google have created mobile apps for their services. What’s stopping you?
9- Customer Portal
Having a customer portal within your website (or app) that allows users to check and update their personal information (such as name, email address, and phone number) is vital.
Customers can also track their orders, view purchase history, create a wishlist, or get personalized assistance. This will save a lot of your and your customer’s time, which you would otherwise have to spend updating users about their orders or personal information.
Customers are also more likely to interact with your brand when they have saved their personal information on your portal (as it signifies they trust you), generating repeat business.
If you are not sure what to include in your customer portal, you can take inspiration from Amazon. Its customer portal comprises of purchase history, personal information, addresses, and payment options.
10- Help Desk Ticket System
A help desk ticket system is an application that collects and tracks all the customer requests (or issues) from various channels, such as phone, email, web, and social media.
It can also track an issue from the beginning (in real-time) and provide customers with an update regularly, so they know their query is being handled proactively.
Zerodha, an Indian financial service company, is a great example of a brand leveraging a help desk ticket system to solve customers’ queries. It provides customers a plethora of topics, to begin with.
When you choose a topic, you are provided with various questions and answers to them. If you still need help, you can create a ticket. This saves the customers’ time and reduces the load on the support team.
11- Web Forms
Similar to email support, web forms allow customers to share their queries with you. The biggest benefit of web forms is that customers don’t need to leave your website to get in touch, which reduces abandonment rates.
Another benefit of web forms is that you won’t have to publish your email address on your website. This is great if you receive a lot of spam mails or want to control who can contact you.
For instance, when you select a customized plan in CallHippo, you are provided with a form with fields like your name, company name, email, phone number, and the number of employees. This allows us to create a tailored plan while preventing you from the hassle of typing an email for a tailored package.
12- Customer Satisfaction Surveys
Last but not least, customer satisfaction surveys help identify loopholes in your product and services. Consider creating different surveys at various touchpoints, such as after the sale or after an issue is resolved.
You can also send surveys to your customers via email after a few months of their purchase to know if the product works as the customer (and you) expect it to.
When you allow customers to give feedback, they feel valued and start trusting your brand more. However, make sure to work on their feedback to keep up and boost their confidence in your company.
The quality of customer service is what determines the success of a company. With the 12 customer service tools mentioned above, you can increase customer satisfaction, reduce frustration, and boost your brand’s credibility.
Did we miss any essential customer service tools for business? What other customer service tools do you use? Let us know in the comments.