Gartner’s report, “Why You Need to Rethink Your Customer Self-Service Strategy,” estimates that by 2016, more than 80 percent of organizations will face higher customer service costs if they don’t provide self-service options for customers. The data points to more and more customers using online portals, FAQs and other online tools instead of speaking to live agents. Let’s take a look at how you can improve customer service.
Customers want more convenience and control of their buying and service experience. Give them the tools they want to expedite their needs and streamline your customer service at the same time.
Keeping a customer on hold can lead to mounting frustrations and the loss of a potential sale. Start by using a system like Virtual Hold Technology to calculate the expected wait time. Customers can decide if it’s worth holding, or if they want to receive a call back from your company without losing their turn in the queue. Many customers will jump at the option to stay in the system without having to wait around and suffer through bad hold music and continuous transfers.
For simple accounting and bookkeeping needs, PayPal can collect payments, send invoices and generate e-commerce shopping cart buttons.
However, a growing business with multiple clients and team members may need a more robust system. Quickly generate quotes and estimates for clients with an accounting system like Sage One. Produce financial reports so you can figure out how often your clients typically need service and how you can improve your offerings. Sage One also lets you quickly generate invoices and statements for your accountant.
Eliminate the back and forth with email clutter, and instead give your customers the option to book you directly with an app like You Can Book Me. Clients can see when you’re available and book a time that works for them. The system also works with your Google Calendar so you always know when you’re booked and when your next meeting is coming up.
Give busy clients the freedom to meet from anywhere in the world with GoToMeeting. The service offers online meetings with a personal meeting room and the option for HD Video Conferencing. Share your screen with your client to show charts, images and other materials as needed.
Set up a customer portal through your internal system for customers to easily access their data. For example, small businesses running a yoga studio can have portals for their customers to check the classes they’ve booked, merchandise bought and personal information. A portal can also be established as a knowledge base for your customers to empower themselves by getting the information they need without scheduling a meeting or calling for support.
Customer Relationship Management
Gain more insight into your customer contacts with a customer relationship management (CRM) tool. Nimble imports your contacts from Outlook, Gmail, LinkedIn and Skype and then takes a deeper look. The tool keeps track of your communication history and can send stay-in-touch reminders. It even analyzes your shared interests. Transform that knowledge into a sharply targeted and meaningful social media campaign, communication strategy or service idea to better serve your customers.