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5 ways for digital retailers to improve customer service


Customer feedback spreads like a forest fire, if left unattended. Especially, criticisms. The harsher they are, the wilder and quicker they spread. Social media platforms are intricately woven into online sales funnels. There is simply no escaping the perils of modern customer care.

Gone are the days when negative feedback was a twinkle in the postman’s eye as he handed over a letter written by an infuriated customer. Nowadays it is mind-boggling how quickly (and widely) such information might spread in the virtual world. And it is not just about quelling criticisms.

Customer service has become crucial for sales conversions too. Whether in converting leads into one-time buyers or flash-in-the-pans into brand loyalists. Customer care is key for digital sustenance in the retail world.

So here are 5 things you can do to improve your customer service.

Listen, learn; don’t repeat: Prevention is better than cure. Healthy customer service conversations can prevent recurring problems. Don’t just listen in, take down notes and optimize your internal processes. Collating data on customer issues during resolution procedures can lead to valuable operational insights. This will streamline your customer service philosophy. It can also provide tangible benefits such as reduced support requests.

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Scan the social media skies: As risky propositions as social media networks are, considering how fast they can fuel negative opinions, they are a great opportunity to interact with customers. Platforms like Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest have had profound impact in customer care given the ease, frequency and reach of their usage. They can build bridges to bring in new customers as well as mend fences to fix relationships with the existing ones.

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Ready-made answers, set, go: Convenience is the way to a customer’s heart. The lesser the time, energy and money spent – the better the odds are that they will turn into loyal customers. Handling inquiries by phone/chat/email involve all three. If customers could solve problems by themselves, they would. A FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) page and/or Resources section on your website can go a long way to reduce the need for additional support assistance.

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Being more human: Some resolutions require human interactions. Whether via phone, email or chat, customers will need to hear directly from you to help solve their issues. Being human could mean a lot of things. Doing away with automated messages or touch-tone menus. Training your support staff in soft skills. Dispatching designated support personnel. What it commonly entails is being more intuitive to your customers’ complaints.

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A ticket to ride: The best way to approach customers with issues is to convince them that they are being taken seriously. It doesn’t matter if they have red-hot tempers or radiant predispositions, a customer will feel a whole lot better knowing that he/she is being taken seriously. Implementing an online support ticket system can be a streamlined way of handling customer queries. It can eliminate repeated queries, reduce the time taken to close issues and provide a knowledge base for customers to seek answers in before contacting you.

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