Customer service is all about the customer, their needs, wants, and how you will serve them.
It’s something companies have always devoted time and effort to; however, in recent years, customer experience (CX) has exploded thanks to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. As most companies have had to work remotely, it has become much more challenging to identify and resolve customer pain points.
So how do you improve customer service during these hectic times?
Fortunately, there are many tools you can use to help you, both in remote/online and face-to-face interactions. Below you’ll find ten of the most useful ones, what they do, and how to use them to improve customer service.
1. Social Media Listening
Social media listening (SML) tools are exactly as the name says — tools designed to “listen” to what is being said on social media.
There is numerous software with different capabilities, but they all share the basic strategy of analyzing social media sites to monitor mentions of your company/brand/product and extract not only what is being said, but also the opinions that can be found.
It’s a two-step process, taking it a step further from social media monitoring, which only monitors data on mentions and trends. Some examples of SMLs are HubSpot SMMS, Hootsuite, TweetReach, and Keyhole.
SMLs are great for checking the effectiveness of current campaigns, analyzing feedback and opinions on new products, as well as assessing the general reception of any decision made by the company. You can also use the software to check out competitors, compare their strategies with yours, and make any necessary changes.
The end use of SMLs is a bit contradictory, as, by definition, an SML can only collect information that has already been posted — it’s about avoiding or mitigating crises that may occur in your brand image. SML works in real-time, so if you’re getting negative engagement, you can quickly reduce the source of those nasty impressions and take steps to compensate. Whether posting about misinformation, apologizing for a misstep, etc., you can stop the flood before it starts acting fast enough.
2. Suggestion boxes
When most people think of suggestion boxes, they think of little metal cans with a pile of paper nearby to write things down. While this is certainly the case with traditional suggestion boxes, there are ways to do this online to ensure you receive feedback even with the most remote interactions.
These suggestion boxes come in two types: “behind-the-desk” behind the desk and “on-the-desk” at the desk.
In the “behind-the-desk” boxes, your collaborators will be responsible for writing and suggesting their ideas on how to make the customer experience more pleasant. You should pay special attention to suggestions that come from the team, as they are more likely to have insight into the issues you might face.
“On – the-desk” boxes are your traditional customer-centric boxes, and while they can be literal boxes, they are often present in the form of links in social media posts, on websites, or in emails. When making this type of suggestion button, always make sure it is visible and easy to use. Making it stand out as one of the first things the customer sees will help get answers more easily.
3. Behavioral analysis
The behavioral analysis consists of analyzing the behavior of online consumers and is a fundamental strategy within the digital transformation process. The main function of this tool is to anticipate customer needs and wants and proactively resolve issues that may arise before they happen.
By cross-checking a user’s demographics ( cross-checking ), past purchases, and more, you can predict what general issues may arise, and using your personal data, you’ll understand more about their behavior. How to use Google Discover to attract new users to your website?
A/B testing, which you can get from Google Optimize or a similar tool, is particularly important for verifying the effect of site changes, with session replay tools like Hotjar providing further insight.
Behavioral analytics can also be used in sales, where cross-selling and personalization can provide huge increases in revenue, ensuring purchases in situations where customers would not have seen the relevant product otherwise. It’s also useful when running personalized marketing campaigns or tracking their return on investment. Hotjar and Lucky Orange provide heatmap tools that are especially useful in this case.
4. Customer relationship management (CRM) systems
A customer relationship management (CRM) system is a relatively new piece of technology, conceptualized only in the 1980s.
The idea of a CRM system is to allow organizations to manage interactions with consumers and streamline processes to improve the customer experience. Overall, the goal is to increase profitability, but it’s a two-way street that also benefits the customer. What is CRM Program? What Does the CRM Program Do?
In terms of the benefits for your business, they are varied. Sales departments can use CRM information to review the performance of teams, campaigns, and individual products. Marketing teams can use CRM data to predict the customer journey an individual or demographic might follow and adjust their approach accordingly. Meanwhile, the customer service team can efficiently track issues across multiple platforms, sharing information about a particular service.
5. Cloud Computing
Cloud software takes any personalized approach you might have towards your customers and extends your reach beyond anything you might expect.
The use of cloud computing not only allows organizations to track the effects of their techniques and changes in real-time but also allows all divisions of the company to access the information. Some great examples include Salesforce, a SaaS platform with useful marketing features, and file-sharing services like Dropbox and Google Drive. 10 types of craft products worth selling online
It’s a similar approach to what is used in scientific research today, with good reason. Cloud software allows your teams to instantly access any information in a database and use it to make the customer experience that little bit better. Instead of individual teams figuring out what works and what doesn’t work for themselves, they can ignore mistakes they’ve already tried and improve CX from the start.
While this approach is much more beneficial for large companies, the advantages also exist for small businesses. By having a centralized place where all information is kept – online, so there’s no risk of file loss or accidental damage – your teams can save time by catching up on past events.
Omni-channel often goes hand in hand with cloud databases; it’s the logical choice to make if you have multiple channels of communication with your customers.
With this approach, you take all your lines of contact and merge them into a single database, which varies from company to company. In some smaller organizations, a simple spreadsheet will do. In larger companies, a cloud database is often needed for communication across departments and distances. 40+ Unique Unusual Company and Shop Names to Inspire
So what are the pros for consumers?
Well, when you’re reporting a query or issue, nobody likes to repeat themselves. Having any information readily available for someone to access, even if it is not the person who recorded the data, not only saves time and effort on the part of your team but also prevents the customer from becoming frustrated with a lack of communication.
The best answer is a quick answer; The second best thing is to get back to your customer with all the necessary information without bothering them again.
Companies like Disney, Walgreens, and Starbucks have used an omnichannel approach to great effect. And with tools like Salesforce Social Hub, TalkDesk, and Genesys Multi-Channel all commercially available to help you when you’re trying to get your feet on the ground, why not give them a try?
7. Website monitoring/tracking
When you see the phrase ‘website tracking’, you might think of malware or other harmful forms of monitoring that invade a person’s privacy.
What we mean here is to track user behavior on your site, how they move, which sections their mouse can hover over, and which links they click. This is about tracking what happens on your website, which is perfectly harmless and non-invasive, as a customer visiting your website has necessarily given consent to interact with you.
Website tracking can reveal a lot about your site’s layout, allowing you to identify clunky parts that might need to be redone, showing how users get lost on your site and where they might eventually leave without making a purchase. Lead nurturing flow: 7 tips to make your lead nurturing strategy
The data that website tracking can collect is easily translatable into mapped customer journeys, deepening your understanding of how the customer thinks. While this will not directly benefit your consumers, the information collected can provide insights into the best way to design your website for easier access.
Need an example website monitoring tool? Adobe Analytics offers multi-channel traffic data collection, while Clicky analyzes real-time data from page views and events. The choice of tools depends on your real needs, as they all offer the same basic tracking with different analysis options.
Nobody likes ads that don’t apply to them and random emails that don’t contain anything relevant. Of course, when you’re doing a mass marketing campaign, like a TV ad or similar, you’re not going to please everyone. Still, there are things you can do when it comes to smaller scales.
Personalization is often used with existing customers, people you already have data about that you can use to tailor your experiences to their liking. Whether it’s focusing on categories you know they’re interested in or avoiding things you know they don’t like, you can “copy and paste” your offers to better meet those customers’ needs, wants, and pains.
This is most easily done in email marketing, where you sort customers into groups based on their interests and then send highly personalized email sequences with the help of automated email campaign tools (like a Free Email Tool!), but it can also be done in other formats, such as social networks or apps.
At the end of the day, personalization is something you will never get perfectly right, but it can exponentially increase interest in your business if implemented well. There are also pre-built software packages, containing tools like customer journey mapping, MVT testing, and usability testing, which can greatly increase demand for your products.
9. Sentiment analysis
This one is a little tricky to explain, but essentially, sentiment analysis is a tool for combing through communications – be it emails, tweets, or more – and extracting the information contained therein.
However, it is more than simply reading the text and spitting out recitals of parts. Sentiment analysis analyzes the tone and context of writing to better judge the meaning behind the words, rather than taking them at face value.
It’s an excellent tool to help you analyze feedback, as computers can do things in the blink of an eye that would take humans days. Sentiment analysis is especially useful in markets where opinions change quickly and services must be constantly updated. Still, it will also benefit any organization that wants to save time and react quickly and efficiently to customer feedback.
The good thing is that there is pre-existing software for these types of analysis, which, considering the complexity, is much more convenient than if you had to do it from scratch. Platforms like Awario, Brandwatch, and Hootsuite are available by subscription, some with different plans to suit different users’ needs. The 6 Female Personalities: Alpha vs Beta vs Gamma vs Omega vs Delta vs Sigma
Finally, let’s talk about automation. It’s what it sounds like, setting up a system that does its work for you. There are many ways to implement it in customer service, so let’s look at just a few of the best:
- Automated switchboards. You know them, you probably find them boring, but you can’t deny that pressing a button while making a call to be directed to the right department saves a lot of time.
- Self-service options. Only viable for those with physical locations, self-services not only allow for a faster option when you’re in a hurry, but it also reduces your dependence on someone else to make your purchase.
- Chatbots. While you might get a flea in your ear at the idea of a robot talking to customers, chatbots can be a great way to facilitate online customer service – similar to automated call centers. More sophisticated versions can also search past interactions or FAQ databases to find an answer without ever involving a team member. The customer benefit, in this case, is speed, pure and simple, as a computer program can respond almost instantly to any interaction.
One of the most significant benefits of automated responses is 24/7 support if you don’t have a dedicated support team. While it certainly lacks the human touch that comes from talking to a member of your team, those who need help would rather receive a quick response in a chatbot than wait until the next morning.
Customer experience is all about information. The more data you have, the more difficult it can be to find something meaningful among them all. However, with tools like the ones mentioned in the article, you’ll be able to let computers do most of the work and still get meaningful analysis in no time. Speed is essential when it comes to pleasing customers, especially younger ones. So, take a look at our advice and see which ones suit your customer service needs.