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Customer Service Tips for Online and Hybrid Businesses

Customer Service Tips for Online and Hybrid Businesses

Many businesses have moved a large part of their operations online. According to McKinsey, the coronavirus pandemic boosted the shift to digital by five years. These changes will last beyond the coronavirus lockdowns. McKinsey predicts that 75% of customers who switched to online services will continue in the digital channel for the near future.

For companies that have thrived mostly offline until now, this new norm could disrupt long-held customer service practices. With online options, businesses have more ability than ever to meet consumers’ needs. However, it’s still important to maintain some traditional customer service strategies. After all, according to Sitel Group, 70% of consumers would rather speak to a live representative when they need assistance with a product or service.

Consider these tips to ensure your company is delivering the highest levels of service whether you’re operating online, offline, or both.

  • Meet customers on their level
    Your customers have different needs, and those needs can change by the hour. Give them options for how they can engage with your customer service team: online, by phone, or in person, where possible and safe. Digital options, such as chatbots, should not completely replace human representatives.

  • Demonstrate empathy and understanding
    Online or offline, empathy is a key component of a healthy company-consumer relationship. Empathetic representatives listen to customers’ concerns, validate their experiences, and help to solve problems. A company can build empathy into their website by making it easy for users to find information, complete a transaction, and contact a human when they need help.

  • Respect customers’ time
    Many customers want to do independent research before speaking to a representative. Make basic information about your product or service available online and allow users to access information about their own relationship with your business by logging in. Pepper the site with your phone number so the user can contact a customer service representative at any point. Consider using a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tool to ensure that customers don’t need to repeat information to different representatives.

  • Respect customers’ privacy
    According to SalesForce, 90% of consumers want companies to have a strong privacy policy. If your company operates in part online, ensure your privacy and security policies are up-to-date and publicly accessible. Implement measures to protect your customers’ data.

  • Recognize your employees
    When employees feel supported, they will perform to the best of their ability, whether working remotely or on location. Ensure that the lines of communication within the company are still strong, and address disconnects promptly. Provide access to training and development opportunities. Celebrate your employees for their effort.

  • Exceed expectations
    Companies with high customer satisfaction regularly meet and even exceed their clients’ expectations. Survey customers for their opinions on their most recent interactions with your company. Use this feedback to target improvements to your product, service, or support.