Improve customer service with online channels

Looking to offer customer service online? From social media to email to webchat, find out how to do it right.

Thanks to social media, email, instant messaging and more, customers have multiple ways of getting in touch with businesses, quickly. Want to set up a successful online customer service process? You’ve come to the right place.

Timely responses

The most important aspect of customer service – whatever the channel – is responding to queries in a timely manner. With many ways customers can get in touch with you on, it can be difficult to keep track and messages may be missed. So, we recommend assigning team members to certain channels to look after – whichever ones you decide to choose.

Choose online customer service channels

Do your customers prefer using Twitter, Instagram, Facebook or another social media channel? Do they even use social media at all? Once you know where your customers are online, make sure you’re offering customer service there too.

Here are a few options you should consider and some best practices for making the most of each.

1. Social media

No one likes waiting long for a reply – especially in today’s online world, where everything is becoming instantly available. So, to make sure you’re there for your customers, you could look at creating a dedicated customer service channel on Twitter or using Facebook Messenger. Both options will let you manage multiple queries at once, but Facebook Messenger can also be connected to your Instagram and Facebook pages – and you can even use it as a chat plug-in on your website, making it easy for customers to find it. If you decide to use Messenger, you may decide to set up an automatic reply that is sent to someone as soon as they message you, giving them an expected time within which you will likely reply to them.

2. Email

Depending on who your customers are, social media may not be their top choice when looking for customer service, so email is another great option. When you receive a question, take this three-stage approach in your reply:

  1. Acknowledge the customers’ question.

  2. Show you understand, especially if they have a complaint.

  3. Let them know what you can do/have done to help.

Top tip: stay on top of your inbox and put a system in place to keep track of conversations (for example, you could use folders, the flag button or colour code emails). This will help you understand what stage each conversation is at – so no customer is left forgotten.

3. Webchat

If you want customers to send questions directly through your website, setting up webchat might be best. Here, a chat window will automatically pop up on the customer’s screen when browsing or they can click a button to open it. It’s great for showing customers you’re there if they have questions – especially if any come up when browsing your website. In fact, a survey found 73% of people were highly satisfied using a webchat, compared to 61% who used email.

These options are just a few ways you can offer online customer service. The trick is choosing the way that works best for you and your customers.

You may have already spoken to one of our V-Hub Digital Advis2rs, but if not and you're looking for more support you can get in touch here. Our Knowledge Centre is also packed with information and tips to help you on your digital journey.

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