Being in the age of the empowered customer, we’re all increasingly expecting more convenient ways to solve our customer service issues. It’s a no-brainer — by making sure customer service is accessible to suit these expectations, businesses are more likely to build brand-loyalty and receive repeat purchases. That’s why there have been so many new and improved customer service tools popping up all over the place.
Here are 10 of the best tools for providing and measuring a great customer experience.
1. Customer satisfaction surveys
Ah yes, the good ol’ customer satisfaction surveys. When sent out at different touch-points, these not only show you care, but will help you clearly indicate what needs to change to improve your customer experience. SurveyMonkey is the industry-leading online survey tool. It’s used to create surveys of just about anything, which makes it a pretty flexible tool — though it can still be pretty basic. I mean, the free version doesn’t give you much flexibility for customisation, but it’s still pretty good for one-off surveys.
Or, if you’re a Salesforce User, you’re in luck. With the new Salesforce Surveys, you can make beautiful, easy-to-use forms for collecting feedback and data from your users or customers. Plus, all the survey data will be stored in your Salesforce org, so you’re then able to view data, create reports and dashboards, and share those insights internally. You can also embed surveys into Lightning pages and communities if you want to branch out to a wider audience.
2. Online communities
Online communities, like the ones you can build with Community Cloud, let your customers talk to other customers, give product feedback, and share their thoughts on your product or brand. They empower your customers to find their own solutions and help each other out — giving them full control over their customer support experience. Plus, your company can monitor the community to improve your brand and its customer service.
3. Customer portal
A customer portal is an internal system which allows your customers to access their personal data like purchase history, order tracking, and their favourite items. Take ASOS, for example. I can log into my portal to view any loyalty vouchers they’ve given to me, activate them for my next purchase, view my ever-growing wishlist, and track the items I’ve bought — all from one convenient, intuitive place. Needless to say, it’s now my go-to online clothes store. Portals are particularly good for giving personalised assistance to your customers, which helps encourage more consistent interaction with your brand and repeat purchases.
4. Social media
Speaking from personal experience, social media is an essential tool for all businesses, no matter your size. But it has to be actively looked after! According to Salesforce, these days ‘an inactive social media profile is the online version of having an empty store’. You need to build a social media presence and use it every day to engage with your customers, post helpful content, and promptly respond to their questions or issues.
5. Online forums
An internet forum or message board is an online discussion site where ideas and views on a particular topic, product or issue can be exchanged. Depending on the forum’s settings, posters can be anonymous or have to register to the forum to post. Usually, any existing discussions posted on the site are publicly visible. And because they’re so open, they usually grow in popularity fairly quickly.
With these, you can collect and respond to your customer feedback, and see how they react to any solutions provided in the forum. They give great insight into how your customers truly feel about your product or service, and how you can improve your brand.
6. Automatic callback
It’s 2018. No one wants to be left on hold when they no longer have to. By the time an operator is available to assist your customer, they’re already irritated by having to listen to elevator music for the Xth time. It can drive people mad.
Now you can offer an automatic callback. This, if your service system allows it, lets a user enter their phone number for an agent to call them back without losing their place in the customer service queue. Customers can then go about their lives as usual while waiting for your call. Even better, I’ve seen some companies will even allow you to pick a more convenient time for you to receive your callback, directly from a simple form on their website.
7. Live chat
A live chat option like the one offered in Salesforce Service Cloud is another great tool for giving your customers a better experience. They’re quick, they’re familiar (we all use Facebook messenger or Whatsapp), and they’re easy to use. You can embed a chat box on your website pages, and it’ll pop up asking if your customer has any questions or issues regarding your product or service. Then, one of your customer service agents will get the notification to offer your customer the help they’ve asked for.
8. SMS text support
If your customer has opted into (very important!) receiving SMS text support, you can then give them important updates about their purchases or close their customer service cases conveniently via mobile. This is so much faster and easier, as SMS texts will reach your customer immediately, even when they’re on the go.
9. Mobile apps
These days, we all use our smartphones to shop. According to Salesforce, 50% of mobile users prefer to use a customer service app to resolve their issues before jumping on the phone. This is because apps are totally optimised for mobile use, and provide a quick and easy experience.
10. Help ticket systems
Help tickets can help you quickly answer and track any issues, all through the customer’s experience. With this, you can give your customers regular updates and notifications about the progress of their issue, showing them your support agents are being proactive in solving their issues and helping to promote brand-trustworthiness. (Ahem, this is also offered through Salesforce Service Cloud.)
So there they are — 10 of (what we reckon are) the best tools to invest in this year. If you think we’ve missed anything from this list, please let us know in the comments below!