Over the last year, I’ve gained a new appreciation for customer service personnel. That’s because since last fall, Zero-G has been helping clients launch and manage live online chat programs. Most clients we work with have started chat for the purpose of converting more site visitors into leads or sales, but customer support is an ancillary benefit of just about any chat initiative even if it is not the primary objective of the program.
If you are looking to offer better customer support through your website, here are three tips we have learned along the way which have helped us deliver outstanding customer service on our clients’ behalf:
First, we need to do everything we can to ensure that the end customers we engage with understand that we’re here to help them and that we’re not going to take an adversarial tone with them. This is the downfall of a lot of customer service operations in my opinion. Unfortunately though, live online chat is essentially just an exchange of short instant messages and it’s not always easy to convey kindness and helpfulness without the help of a soothing voice or a friendly smile. So instead we use a lot of “pleases”, “thank yous” and emoticons to make sure the customer knows that our intention is to help.
Second, we try to be as “real” as possible in communicating with our clients’ customers. The way a lot of companies seem to handle customer service, with strict rules and scripts, it seems almost as if they are trying to teach their human resources to act like machines. It makes the service rep’s job harder and is almost guaranteed to result in inferior service. We encourage our people to be natural with customers as it’s our belief that maintaining the “human element” in service is a major key for success.
Third, no matter who handles customer service at your company, remember that the more you arm them with GOOD information and make them feel empowered to help, the better support your customers will get.