As Lief Larson mentioned in an earlier post, the web today is anything but anonymous for both consumers and businesses. Your web identity is your business identity. Period. How your customers experience the web is how they experience your business.
Positive Service = Satisfied Customers
Satisfied Customers = Good Business
Good Business = Happy You
The equation hasn’t changed. What has changed, thanks to the web and the hyper visibility it provides, are the context and tactics to deliver positive service (and ultimately a happy you). The web is now the hardest working front line employee in any organization. The experience your customer has on your site is the touch point with the most riding on it.
Here are a few customer service déjà vu moments to consider:
The bad attitude The tone, look and feel of your site communicates the front line attitude. Does your site look like it is happy to be at work today? Don’t let your electronic personality be the digital equivalent of a burned out truck stop waitress. Do a site review for branding. Retire a tired format and change the tone to reflect the attitude of your business.
The wrong information There’s no more “he said, she said” plausible deniability with web commerce. Every piece of information is documented, saved and retrievable. Prevent misunderstandings with a site review for content. Make sure that every piece of data on your site is correct and not easily misinterpreted.
The runaround This oldie-but-goodie is alive and well on the web in the form of a complex user experience. Requiring customers to dig for information several pages deep is the digital equivalent to making them sit through a bad “Who’s On First” sketch. A user experience review will quickly indicate the degree to which your site is simple and easy to use. Correlate those UX results with analysis of your page level site metrics to surmise if bounce rate indicate customers are finding the information they need and leaving the page quickly, or if customers are digitally wandering and clicking randomly.
That’s not my job Limited functionality that prevents the customer from completing their transaction in three clicks or less is a guaranteed sales prevention tactic. Add tasteful, appropriate shortcut buttons or links to every page, such as “try/buy now” to help customers cut to the chase and move on.
Slow service After the customer has established that the website can’t solve their problem, they are often confronted with the “Contact Us” form. Make sure the person behind the curtain is not Lily Tomlin’s character Ernestine the Telephone Operator wickedly cackling, “fill out this form and we’ll get back to you …. never”. Develop, review and follow customer response protocols. This can be a manual system or support from one of the many software tools available.
Bad press Not so long ago, unhappy customers told a few people in their immediate circle. The lucky few who heard Aunt Edna complain about too many people at a wake judged when to dismiss her rants and when to call the fire marshal. Today, unhappy customers can (and do) tell everyone in their social network and copy everyone in cyberspace for good measure. Monitor chatter on the web. Ignore the trolls, but ask yourself, “how is this criticism valid” and change the things you can.
The escalation path to nowhere The escalation path that got your call transferred to someone who transferred you to someone who let your call go to voicemail and never got back to you did not entirely go the way of the telephone tree. A process that requires customers to set up an account, then login, then reset their password, then navigate to a contact us page for the privilege of sending an email to your company leaves customers saying, “I just want to talk to a real person now”. This is where authentic, real-time text, audio, video and chat technology like Workface® can help you humanize your business on the web. Workface blends simplicity and common sense with the power of conversation.
Here’s one point of customer service that hasn’t changed in the digital world:
Perception is reality The customer’s perception of their experience with your company is their perception of your company. Customer service is something that every member of your organization, and especially your number one front line employee – the web – must get right every time over and over again.
by Tammy Burns Woodhouse
About the author: http://workface.com/meet-the-team