by Lina Martinez

Providing good customer service is something that all businesses need to do. You can offer a great product but if it comes with poor customer service, you can find that your customers quickly go somewhere else. Some companies even go above and beyond to do everything that they can to make their customers happy, and ensure they keep coming back. Good customer service secures a first sale, and encourages customers to be loyal and return for future purchases too. If you want to improve your business's customer service, using technology is one of the ways to do it.

It's important to remember the power of human intelligence too, but combining people and tech can help you to deliver better customer service in a wide variety of ways.

Analytics to Look at Customer Data

The use of large amounts of data has been on the rise for a few years now. Big data can provide lots of insights into many areas of your business, but you need to know how to use it. Having data and analytics experts to have a look at the customer data that you collect makes it much easier to ensure your data is useful. You can use analytics tools to find out all about your customers' preferences, and adjust the way that you approach customer service to suit them. However, it's essential to remember to handle their data sensitively and to protect their personal information. If you have customers in the EU, you need to follow GDPR.

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Photo credit: Flickr

Self-service Options

Many consumers want to have more control over how they interact with a business. To provide good customer service, you don't necessarily have to have a member of staff present. The ways that customers can interact with your business on their own can also be good examples of customer service and experience. Self-service options of various types can be pleasing for your customers. This can include things like self-service checkouts in stores, or a click-and-collect option for delivery from your website. These things put your customer in control, and can help to save them time and make their experience more convenient.

Customer Relationship Management Software

Customer relationship management software isn't a new thing, but it can be very useful for your business. It's advancing all the time, like many other things, and can help you to get to know your customers better. CRM software can help you to find the right customers and to build loyal relationships with existing customers. It can help you to improve customer retention by providing insights that allow you to offer better customer service. You can use your CRM software to guide you through the customer journey, allowing both your sales team and marketing team to provide better service.

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Credit: Pxhere

Chatbots

The use of artificial intelligence has been growing, with a number of ways that businesses can make use of it. One of the most popular applications is the use of chatbots, which can help you to improve your customer service. A chatbot can use machine learning and natural language processing to learn how to answer your customers' questions and have conversations with them. Even non-developers can build a chatbot for their business, especially with the help of a bot building resource site offering useful advice. A chatbot doesn't replace your customer service representatives, but it does complement them. Chatbots can start off the initial contact with customers, or be there for them when a member of staff isn't available.

Live Chat

As well as having chatbots that automatically answer questions, many companies make use of live chat functions that allow customers to speak directly to a customer service representative. These chat platforms mean that customers get to speak to a human who can help them just as much as they might be able to over the phone. A live chat is faster than using email, and it's a more convenient option for many. Some people may be unable to use the phone or simply prefer to be able to type for various reasons. When live chat isn't available, a chatbot can provide help instead.

Video Communication

Currently, communicating with customers using video isn't something that a lot of B2C businesses do, although B2B companies are much more likely to do it with their clients. However, in the next few years, it's very possible it could become more popular. Big businesses like Amazon have used video chat services to provide customer service, and it's likely that others will start to use it more. In particular, video conferencing with clients, rather than simply talking to them on the phone, is an excellent way to provide a more personal meeting. It makes it possible to speak to people face-to-face, no matter where they are.

Social Media

Social media is already in use as a customer service tool. Many businesses use it not just for marketing but also for offering help to customers. In many situations, the necessary help can be provided directly on the social media platform. Customer service representatives can reply to queries in posts and comments, or with private messaging. When it's not possible to deal with on social media, such as when dealing with sensitive information, they can direct customers to the right channel to get the help that they need. Social media is likely to be used even more widely as a customer service tool in the next few years.

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Photo credit: Pexels

24-hour Communication

Combining these different types of communication allows businesses to be more available for their customers. You can allow them to get in touch with you at any time of the day or night, seven days a week, and even respond to them too. During standard business hours, you might allow customers to get in touch by phone. But outside of these hours, they can use email or chat application, and even SMS messaging, to contact you. On top of automatic responses, there's the possibility of outsourcing your customer service around the world. This can allow for responses to your customers at any time.

Marketing Automation

Marketing can also form a part of your customer service. People don't want to be annoyed by irrelevant or intrusive marketing messages, but technology can help you to improve your approach. Marketing automation can be useful for getting new customers, but it's also very good for helping with customer retention. For example, you can automate emails that let customers know about your latest products and offers. At the same time, you can ensure these emails are personalized to reach people on a more personal level.

Protect Customer Data

The use of customer data can help businesses to improve in many ways. However, handling customer data in the right way is also important if you want to provide good customer service. You need to be able to protect your customers' data if you want them to be able to trust you. As well as being clear about what data you keep and how you use it, you can use technology to manage customer data more effectively. Security software and other secure solutions should help.

Improve Payment and Billing

Being able to pay for goods and services without hassle is essential for a good customer experience. If you want to be able to provide better service to your customers, make payments easier. You can use billing tools and payment gateways to make paying simple and quick, benefiting both your customer and your company.

You can use technology to improve your customer service in a wide variety of ways. Just a few of them could make a significant difference to your success.