THE BLOG

Improve Your Online Customer Service With These 5 Tips

03/05/2015 04:50 pm ET | Updated May 02, 2015

These days, the average consumer isn't going to call your business for customer support -- when they have a question or an issue, they are going to visit your website or reach out to your company through social media.

Keeping your customers happy is a major part of operating a successful business, so use these five tips to help improve your online customer service.

1. Respond quickly and respond even faster on social media.

Guess what will happen if you tell your customer service reps that they must respond to all inquiries in 24 hours or less? The majority of them will be replied to right around that 24-hour mark. Instead, strive to respond as quickly as possible. Create a bonus program that rewards your customer service reps that have average closed support ticket times under a specific time.

Did you know that more than half of all U.S. consumers complain, praise and ask questions through social media? It is important that you treat your social media accounts as additional customer support channels and address any problems immediately. If you encounter an unsatisfied consumer via social media direct them to someone that can handle their concern right away -- either a phone number, email address or link to your customer support ticket system.

2. Kill them with kindness.

Want to quickly defuse an irate customer? Let them know that you are sorry and will do whatever it takes to make them happy. An upset consumer will quickly change his or her tone when they see that the customer service rep is compassionate and willing to do whatever they can to make them happy.

If the request comes through your ticket system attempt to solve the problem before replying and if it comes via live chat try to solve the issue before ending the chat session. When handled correctly that once irate consumer will often turn back to social media to praise the support he or she just received.

3. Eliminate the technical terminology.

Avoid using a lot of technical terms and "industry talk" when communicating through online customer support channels. Not every person is going to fully understand the terminology, so make sure all replies are very direct and clear.

If it requires a very detailed response to answer a particular question or to address a problem break it up into several small sections, making it easier to absorb. This helps to answer the question fully the first time, eliminating the need for the consumer to contact you again.

4. Put together a detailed FAQ page.

You can often eliminate a large percentage of common support questions with a thorough FAQ (frequently asked questions) page on your website. Answers to common questions related to the service or products you sell, refund and exchange policies, and warranty information are just a few areas to address on your FAQ page.

If you want to quickly identify some common questions go to the source -- ask your customer support agents to write down the most common questions they receive. When you are able to eliminate the common questions it frees up your online support channels, allowing them to concentrate on addressing more urgent requests.

5. Use online customer service software.

There are several affordable online support ticketing solutions that help you stay organized and manage all of your customer service requests. Platforms like Zendesk are full of features and can be fully customized to match the look and feel of your company.

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