This year’s global pandemic may have changed the way we all live, work and communicate, but it certainly hasn’t stopped the nation from getting their holiday shopping done.
With many parts of the world still facing lockdown restrictions as the festive season approaches, more consumers than ever are now turning to digital to buy gifts for their family and friends.
In fact, in a recent survey by Rakuten Advertising, which polled over 8,000 global consumers, a remarkable 73% of consumers revealed that they were planning to buy primarily online this holiday season. And according to Verizon Media, 67% of consumers plan to spend more or the same on Christmas as they did last year. It's safe to say that this Winter will bring about a very busy period for online retail!
While this is great news for ecommerce businesses, this influx of new online customers also means your customer service team needs to be more prepared and available than ever.
Today, we’ll be walking you through some of the most effective communication tools to keep your support team at the top of their game this season.
The essentials of quality customer support
The meaning of ‘great customer support’ is changing dramatically. In 2020, buyers are demanding more instant responses, more accessibility and a more human experience than ever before.
But at its heart, effective customer support has always been about making customers feel heard, understood and valued - no matter how busy the time of year!
If you want to rise to the occasion this holiday season, you need to make sure your team is prepared to provide customer support that’s not only fast and efficient, but also feels personal and authentic.
Here’s what outstanding customer service is all about:
#1 Personal customer communication
The way you choose to communicate digitally with your customers makes all the difference between a customer feeling like they represent a problem that needs solving, or a relationship that you value.
In fact, Salesforce recently reported that 84% of buyers see being treated like a person as a vital part of winning their business.
So, in order to win your customers over, you need to show them how much you care. Use their name wherever possible, use your voice when you can, and avoid leaving it too long to get back to your customers with an answer.
#2 Respect your customers’ time
In today's "always on" culture, consumers feel constantly busy. It's no surprise that, according to Forrester, two thirds of customers see valuing their time as the most important aspect of good customer service. To get ahead, you need to solve customers’ problems quickly and conveniently.
When a customer interacts with your business, but neither of you is required to be active in the conversation at the same time, that’s known as asynchronous messaging.
It means that rather than hanging around for a response, customers can move on to the next item in their to-do list - and your team can respond when they already have an answer at hand.
Voice messaging for business is one example of asynchronous communication, as app-free voice messaging platforms like telbee allow your customers to reach out to you - and listen to your response - whenever is convenient for them.
When you give your customers the option to record you a voice message via your website, they’ll be able to get their point across to you quickly, and can also receive a phone call back from someone who has already taken the time to look into their problem for them and is sure of how to help. It’s a win-win for everyone.
Our Founder, Nico Phair, recently shared his story of how an experience like this with Google made him feel valued and inspired, saying:
“In this day and age, where we are bombarded by thousands of ideas, issues and to-dos, consumers, such as myself, are often lumped together into a single ‘the customer’ category. What made Google stand out to me was their use of voice. Janine’s voice and very personal approach to me and my issue went such a long way.”
#3 Go above and beyond to make your customers happy
If you really want to make a customer’s day – even after there’s been a big problem with their order or account – show them you’re willing to pull out all the stops to make things right again.
Even if this means spending a little more time or money on fixing your customer’s problem, keep a long-term mindset and remember that the more you do to help your customers, the more likely they are to return to your business – and to bring their friends and family with them.
Sometimes, going the extra mile may not be in response to a customer complaint at all, but simply involve your team being a little nicer than necessary. This could mean anything from packing sweets inside your customers’ delivery boxes to bigger, more ‘shareable’ acts of kindness.
Of course, to achieve all of the above, you need to start perfecting your customer service toolkit. Let’s take a look at some of the best communication tools for the job:
Must-have communication tools for your ecommerce website
#1 Voice messaging for the web
Voice messaging is one of the must-have communication tools that every ecommerce business needs, as it’s one of the only communication tools that meets every one of the criteria outlined above.
Voice is humans’ most powerful relationship-building tool - and has been for millennia. Talking is our fastest, easiest and most natural method of communication - and sometimes typing simply doesn’t cut it when you’re trying to communicate empathy and understanding, or deliver a genuine apology to a customer.
When you bring the subtle nuances of tone, tempo and emotion into your business’ customer support communications through voice, you’ll start winning over even the grumpiest of customers!
Aside from being highly personal, voice messaging is also one of the best ways to show your customers that you respect their time. Customers on your website can simply state the problem that they’re having and get on with their day while they wait for a personal, helpful and well-researched response from your team. No waiting on the line required!
Our Founder, Nico, said this after his positive voice messaging experience with Google’s customer support team:
“If I had ventured into drafting an email to explain my issue, or engaged with a live chat assistant (or worse - a chatbot), I would have spent infinitely longer explaining myself, with the risk that much of what I was saying would have been lost in miscommunication or misunderstanding.
By voice, I was able to express myself in my way, using an intonation and choice of words that was obviously heard loud and clear and appropriately understood and interpreted by Janine.
Prior to our call, she had done all the necessary investigations into my account, and was ready to speak to me in the way that I needed to be spoken to – with a personal touch.”
What’s more, as exchanging voice notes via a business’ website is a relatively new concept, you’ll build a reputation as a highly innovative (and human!) brand when you introduce voice messaging to your online store.
As we touched on earlier, chatbots were one of the first kinds of tools to take the world of Conversational Marketing by storm. Chatbots are not without their limitations, but in many ways, chatbots have come as a real gift to both businesses and customers.
They’re cost-effective, much faster than emails, and far more convenient than waiting on hold on the phone. Plus, according to one report by IBM, chatbots can successfully answer up to 80% of your customers’ routine questions!
#3 SMS and messaging apps
More brands than ever are offering customers the opportunity to message their support teams via Facebook Messenger, Twitter DMs, Instagram messages or even on WhatsApp.
Why? Because these are highly convenient asynchronous channels, both for consumers and brands.
Customers are likely to check messages frequently, and can choose to respond at their own convenience. There’s no obligation to engage in a full-on conversation then and there.
#4 Social media
Where existing customers are concerned, the conversation doesn’t end once they’ve made a purchase. In fact, almost 40% of consumers follow their preferred brands on social media - and B2B buyers now spend more than two hours on social media each day.
This makes social media is the ideal platform to add value to your products by providing ongoing service and advice.
Take Nike as an example. The company consistently replies to queries on Twitter, and provides customers with an easy way to follow up:
Great customer support is both personal and convenient
During this busy time of year, your customer service should be as authentic and ‘human’ as it is convenient.
We believe asynchronous communication tools are the key to achieving this, as they allow your customers to receive a highly personal service that works around their busy holiday schedules.
As it’s Christmas time, we’d also recommend seriously considering more innovative asynchronous communication tools - such as voice messaging - to make your customers feel truly heard, appreciated and special.
To find out more about how our voice recording and messaging platform - the #1 customer communication tool for business - can help supercharge your ecommerce store’s customer service strategy, get in touch with the team at telbee today. We’d love to hear from you!