Customer service in the digital age is unlike no other time period for service. Yet, at the core it’s still all about solving problems, providing resolutions and communicating relevant information. Even in the digital age, these fundamental practices should be employed by every organization when engaging with customers.

Utilizing the right technology and customer service best practices, businesses can actually enhance their service offerings and remain competitive in the marketplace. Businesses can get to know their customers on a much deeper level and determine which channels best provide service (phone, online, chat, social, etc). While technology has certainly made communication easier, it has also rendered some unique challenges in engaging customers in conversation, responding to social media posts and even producing fresh, relevant content on a regular basis. These challenges are not impossible to overcome – and we invite you to consider the following tactics to becoming a master at serving customers in the digital age.

1. Make the customer service path easy

How easy is it for customers to get to resolution through your customer service process? The easier the process, the better the communication will be and the customer will feel less stressed. On the other hand, the harder you make it, the less trust customers will have in you. It’s a simple, yet powerful concept.

2. Build the right customer service team

One of the most important ways to build a culture of customer satisfaction is by hiring employees who share this belief. It’s an oldie, but golden goodie. And don’t just stop with personnel in the customer service department. Many people throughout the organization will be handling frontline communications with clients, so having excellent interpersonal skills and a desire to please must be qualifiers at hire. From the digital perspective, it’s also helpful to employ personnel that have a technological acumen or who can be easily trained on using complex applications.

3. Utilize your website

One of the easiest and most effective ways to make customers happy is to give them a direct outlet to tell you what they want. It allows customers to communicate with you on their own terms, helping your customer service team address questions and complaints in the most efficient way possible. If you want to proactively respond to customers, you should also consider publishing helpful information and making it readily accessible any time they need it. There are a handful of ways to do this:

  • Include all viable information on your website and social media channels. If there a sale or new product coming out make sure you are communicating with your customers about it.
  • Add manuals and how-to guides to your sites to help avoid frustration when customers are searching for answers. You can also set up automatic reply emails that help people solve their own problems.
  • Update your social media regularly – a lack of updates or service may translate into apathy in the eyes of your customers.

The minute you let customers out of the loop is the moment they lose trust and move on to your competitor. Good customer service involves keeping customers updated on new developments and changes through your website and various social media outlets.

Don’t, however, let your website or any other online platform become the customer service robot and ignore the power of human interaction. Allow your website to offer quick resolution for the more self-sufficient visitors, but also offer other options for service for those who prefer working with another person to fix an issue.

4. Listen to your customers, and your competitor’s customers

More and more, consumers report that comments posted on social media sites influence their purchase decisions. These channels build consumers’ expectations for personal interaction and engagement. Businesses who want to capitalize on social influence need to be both proactive as well as responsive. How can you position your organization so that it quickly responds to customer queries with accuracy, honesty, and helpfulness? Companies do not always notice subtle changes in customers’ needs and you can’t respond to things you don’t see. So, make sure you’re proactively on the lookout for conversations regarding your brand or company. Set up Google Alerts for industry keywords, regularly check review websites, and keep tabs on all your social media accounts. Record and track all the information you capture for further analysis.

You can also listen to what others are saying about competitors and glean valuable insight to what they like and don’t like. Utilize this information to enhance the service of your brand. The internet houses a plethora of public information that can help you make your business better every day.

While consumers have never been easy to figure out, companies can take actions to improve their ability to attract new customers, retain existing ones, and grow rapidly and sustainably in a technology driven world. In the end, successfully tackling customer service in the digital age requires businesses to be nimble and responsive. Give your company a competitive edge and utilize digital media for all you can. Keep your information relevant, your customers first, and make sure your service offerings are consistent whether online as offline.