4 tools to improve the customer experience

  • You may not be able to make every customer totally happy, but you can take steps to help ensure they have the best possible experience.

  • Technology can provide multiple ways for buyers to get answers and the right level of support.

Customer experience is a fluid thing. Not every customer who goes to your website or visits your store has the same experience, and not all of them will be completely happy. But if you don’t concentrate on helping your buyers have the best experience possible, your business could fail. Your products may be flawless, but people will remember the quality of the support they receive, and that impression will guide their next purchase decisions.

To give people the type of experience that keeps them coming back, you should evaluate these four tools for customer interaction:

1. Self-service

Customers have become adept at finding answers for themselves. They assume their question has probably been asked before, and the answer documented online. And they know how to search the internet.

Develop a process to actively gather and document common customer questions and their solutions. Also monitor community message boards that allow users to answer questions for fellow customers. These boards can help reduce the need for company support resources. Useful content from them can be extracted and added to your searchable FAQ system.

2. Live chat

Some users, especially mobile users, often prefer to write questions rather than talk on the phone. Texting is second nature to them, is more private than a call, and can be used in many situations where voice isn’t practical. Chat support should be available from every page of your website and directly from within any app a customer might use.

But the chat resource needs to be active and responsive. If chat resources are unavailable during certain hours, it needs to be clearly noted, and alternative resources like frequently asked questions, community forums, and voice support should be suggested. Chat transcripts should be offered as a courtesy.

3. Mobile support

Customers are using their mobile devices to shop and access information from anywhere. When your websites and communications tools are designed exclusively for use on PC browsers, it may be difficult or even impossible to get support from smartphones or tablets. Review your support functions and make sure they are accessible and usable from any mobile device. This means implementing websites that automatically adapt to varying display sizes.

4. Social media

Using social media platforms to interact with customers puts the enterprise right where many buyers live. Some services like Twitter offer fast and direct communication, allowing customers to send @ messages or even direct messages to support staff.

But don’t bypass the granddaddy (and still king) of social media—email. Link all your social media contact methods to your support staff so that customers get the help they need without delays.

Many companies already use these tools to interact with their customers. If your business is one of them, you should still evaluate how your buyers use these avenues and whether they are as effective as they could be. You may find ways to improve these tools that make your customer service even better.

Your customers want your products to work the way they should, when they should. When buyers run into problems or simply don’t understand a particular function, these four technology tools can help resolve their issues. And it’s up to you and your IT staff to help make sure the tools perform properly so your customers will be happy with the support they receive.

Scott Koegler is a technology journalist with a specialization on the intersection of business and technology. All opinions are his own. AT&T has sponsored this blog post.

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