Whether it’s Christmas, Hannukkah, a birthday, or just a pleasant surprise, nothing is more exciting than getting the latest high-tech device or electronic toy. Tearing off the wrapping and opening the box never gets old! But then the reality of your new toy slowly sets in: How does this darn thing work?
Most shopping occurs online, and customers expect the same ease of use and great customer experience once the shopping is done and they need help using, troubleshooting, or returning their items. Fortunately, many retailers have created an omnichannel experience when it comes to serving their customers. Let’s take a closer look at how your company can make the support experience—whether it’s self-service or assisted—as seamless as possible this holiday season.
Come Christmas morning, one of my roles as a husband and father is to help everyone work the new thingamajig. Now the last thing I want to do on December 25 is read a long manual. I need answers quickly and simply—otherwise, my kids’ smiles will droop faster than Frosty in July. So when I go online for answers, I’m hoping to find a knowledge base designed to help me help myself. Rich media content like articles, illustrated images, and videos is a great start to building your knowledge base and empowering your customers.
Consider adding articles to your website. Have you ever looked up a recipe online, clicked the link, then found you had to slog through a long-winded description of the chef’s family history, a holiday memory, and the health benefits of substituting tofu before getting to the recipe three-quarters of the way down the page? When you’re giving a solution, do so directly. Your articles should be concise and easy for readers to assess. The titles should be written in words the customer would use to describe the issue—not the technical jargon used in the engineering department. The article tags and body should be infused with the appropriate keywords, and descriptions should be brief and concise. Where appropriate to use, images that illustrate step-by-step instructions for the user are my favorite format. Embedded videos are also very helpful. Common issues should be promoted to the top of the search results or highlighted in a common issues location—all to make help easier to find and process.
There are plenty of ways to take this further. For example, I would love to point my phone and take a picture or video of the electronic device and have the help I need just surface to me so that I don’t have to perform multiple searches to find the help that matches my product. Asking too much? Not so! Read more about how computer vision can assist with this here.
Assisted service channels
Last year, I bought a drone for my son. We registered the drone in the company’s online portal, reviewed all the material, and did the flight precheck—all at home on the computer. But once we got to the park for the maiden flight, we encountered a new problem: we just could not get the start sequence right for the propeller blades. Despite our diligence and prep, we still met a problem that was beyond us.
Fortunately, the company had anticipated hiccups. Because I registered the drone, as soon as I logged into the portal on my mobile phone, the support agent had our product info ready and was able to provide help quickly and get us airborne. A seamless experience!
The takeaway is this: regardless of the self-service resources you put at your customers’ disposal, they will need your help eventually—delivered personally and tailored to their in-the-moment needs. While traditional service channels such as phone and email remain prevalent, many customers prefer to engage support via chat and SMS channels. So go omnichannel. Just like in my story, while a service interaction may begin on a laptop, customers are typically much more accessible on their mobile devices.
Unfortunately, there was nothing customer service could do to get my son’s drone unstuck from the tree. Now, what if I could schedule a service to come out with a big ladder and an instructor to give my son a flying lesson? Once you start exploring ways to improve the customer experience, on-demand, in-the-field assisted services become the clear solution.
Of course, all these service capabilities need a powerful CRM for customer service representatives to deliver fast and friendly support. Most of the scenarios I describe can easily be met with Salesforce Service Cloud. (See my blogs on the Lightning Service Console, service in a connected world, and service as the new sales.)
The prize of customer service is customer loyalty, whether it’s retention loyalty (the likelihood that someone will remain a customer), enrichment loyalty (the likelihood that someone will buy additional products), or advocacy loyalty (the likelihood that someone will recommend you to others). And that loyalty is truly the best gift of all for your business—it keeps giving all year long.