There’s no denying the seriousness of the coronavirus outbreak. The pandemic has impacted millions of lives around the world. But while we’re trying to flatten the curve and find an adequate treatment, we cannot forget how important it is for businesses to stay afloat.
The economic impact of COVID-19 is currently immeasurable. Many businesses have had to close their doors temporarily. And if the situation persists, the only solution is to take the business online if possible.
Transferring a business to the online environment is no easy task. You need to be smart, innovative, and resourceful if you want to outperform the fierce online competition.
The best way to do this is by offering superior customer support that will improve the user experience and keep the customers coming back. And for that, you need the right tools for the job.
Why You Need to Invest in Customer Support Tools
Regardless of your industry and niche, offering excellent customer experience is extremely important. There isn’t a business field without at least some competitors, and your customers will gladly go to them if you don’t offer them what they’re looking for.
This is even more true in the online environment.
The experience is all that matters. While competitive prices and high-quality products and services will make you stand out, it’s the experience that you offer that will inspire customer loyalty.
Over 32% of all customers would go to a competitor after a single bad experience with a brand. 59% would walk away after several of them.
Now, many things could constitute a bad customer experience, like slow-loading websites, lack of mobile optimization, poor response times, etc.
But the biggest contributor is simply poor customer service. Whether it’s unskilled customer support agents or lack of social media support, online customers won’t tolerate bad service.
Fortunately, today businesses have many tools at their disposal that allow them to improve customer service and keep inspiring trust among their audiences. Let’s take a look.
#1. Online Customer Support Service Training Tools
Before you start investing in various pieces of software that will optimize your site and make it more user-friendly, you need to ensure that your employees can make good customer support agents.
The biggest issue for over 33% of all customers is when they have to repeat themselves to several support agents. This happens when an agent is unskilled and lacks the necessary knowledge.
It takes time and dedication to learn everything there’s to know about customer support. Since it’s unwise to send your employees to in-person classes at this moment, you need to enable online learning in your company.
ProProfs customer training software is a cloud-based LMS (Learning Management System) that can be easily accessed at any time and from any place.
You can use this tool to create detailed learning materials, design interactive quizzes, tests, and polls, allow for self-paced learning, and more. All features can be accessed from any device.
It’s easily scalable and can accommodate thousands of learners. So, regardless of the size of your company, you can easily enable online customer support service training.
By helping your employees develop the necessary skills for improving customer experience, you’ll keep your customers happy and your workers engaged.
You’ll find LMS tools useful even after the COVID-19 is gone. You can use them to develop top talent in your company in a convenient and affordable way.
#2. Help Desk Software
Once your employees are well-versed in proper customer support practices, you need software that will enable them to process customer requests and queries.
This comes in the form of help desk software.
Your customers usually have many ways to get in touch with you. They can communicate their concerns and problems on social media platforms, in comments, via phone calls, etc.
This leaves too much room for certain queries to fall through the cracks and be disregarded. Help desk software such as Jira offers a unified support channel that’s valuable to both customers and employees.
Customers who have bought your products or services can easily use help desk software to send any questions or concerns they may have.
They can access this software from any device and even from multiple accounts wherever they are.
Your customer support agents, on the other hand, have a clear insight into all customer queries. These can be categorized, tracked, and easily delegated to agents with sufficient knowledge on the topic.
#3. Knowledge Base Tools
Younger customers are digital natives who often prefer to solve the problems they have themselves — as long as there’s sufficient information online.
Over 40% of customers prefer self-service, such as knowledge-bases rather than talking to a customer representative over the phone, and for this, a simple FAQ section won’t suffice.
You’ll need to have a detailed knowledge base that offers answers to almost every possible question a consumer might have.
Of course, this can be in the form of FAQs, but you’ll also need to include guides, tutorials, how-to’s, illustrations, explanatory videos, and more.
The best knowledge base tools will allow you to easily include all this content, customize its appearance, and receive performance analytics and reports.
When designing your knowledge base, it’s important to keep everything streamlined and user-friendly. The easier it is for your customers to find the information they need, the more satisfied they’ll be.
#4. Community Forum
Communication between customers and businesses is crucial, but what business owners often forget is that communication between customers themselves is just as important.
Whether you like it or not, your customers will share their opinions and experiences with your business among themselves. Especially now during the coronavirus lockdown when they have few better things to do.
It’s better for you to be included in these discussions than to leave them to their own devices.
By creating community forums on your website, you’ll drive better engagement and enjoy more loyal customers. You’ll succeed in creating a truly unique and valuable community.
Online community software will simplify this task.
It will enable commenting on your blogs and products, and you’ll be able to create a support page, encourage better interaction through gamification elements, create customer profiles, manage discussions, enforce community guidelines, and more.
You can easily find free versions of popular online community software. However, you should keep in mind that your access to some of the features will likely be limited in the free version.
#5. Social Media Tools
Currently, there are over 3.8 billion social media users around the world. Although social networks are primarily used for entertainment, they’re quickly becoming the easiest way for customers to reach out to businesses.
Since there are countless social networks, you need an omnichannel strategy that will keep you connected to your audiences wherever they hang out online.
You need to remain active and responsive on all these networks. Responding to comments and messages after a few days, or not responding at all will be the fastest ways to lose loyal customers.
But by using social media support tools such as Hootsuite, you’ll be able to keep an eye on all your followers, messages, comments, and more.
You’ll streamline your social media support, generating more leads, and convert more customers.
Chatbots are some of the most versatile customer support tools that you can use. Powered by AI and machine learning technology, they can improve your response rates and keep your business always available.
It’s expected that by next year, over 85% of customer interactions will be handled without a human customer support agent.
Chatbots are becoming increasingly smarter, and they’re able to resolve a majority of customer issues and queries without the help of a human.
They offer accurate responses, answer questions instantaneously, and can even have unique personalities that engage users. Make them sarcastic, witty, funny, serious. Just make sure that their personality matches your brand persona.
Chatbots can now be easily created even by those who have no clue about coding or programming. You can launch them on any channel or website, and ensure 24/7 availability.
#7. Bug Reporting Tools
If you’ve decided to take your business online and continue to operate during the coronavirus outbreak, there’s a great likelihood that this is your first time stepping into these waters.
You might have called in the professionals to create your new business website, but if you’re like most SMB owners, you probably don’t have an in-house IT department.
This means that if there are any glitches or bugs in your software, it’s easy for you to miss them. Just because they’re easy to miss, it doesn’t mean that they can’t impact the customer experience.
The most affordable way to monitor your software for bugs is by having a bug reporting tool.
With this little piece of software, your customers (and employees) can report any problems they’re experiencing with your website, and can even request new useful features to be added.
All requests will be neatly organized, and everyone will be updated on the new changes and problem fixes.
The Bottom Line
There are many versatile tools that businesses can use to make their transition to the online environment smoother.
The top seven tools we just discussed are some of the most useful ones that will help you and your customers adapt to the changes.
So, to sum up, you’ll need:
- An online customer support service training tool
- Help desk software
- Knowledge-base tools
- Community forum software
- Social media tools
- Bug reporting tools
Together, these will help you thrive in the online environment, and will prove to be useful even after we’ve successfully fought off COVID-19.
About the Author!
Kamy Anderson is an ed-tech enthusiast with a passion for writing on emerging technologies in the areas of corporate training and education. He is an expert in learning management system & eLearning authoring tools – currently associated with ProProfs customer training software.