We live in an age of constant communication, perpetual availability, and an expectation of white-glove service. For small businesses, the level of customer service they are able to provide can make or break their success. So, how does a fledgling company offer the same level of attentive, personable, friendly client care as a multinational behemoth with massive call centers at their fingertips?
They automate, of course.
1) Chatbots are your friend
If you’ve ever browsed online, whether on the hunt for a new toaster or cable-knit sweater, odds are you’ve experienced the dainty “ping!” of a chatbot materializing in the corner of your screen. An option especially popular with the tech-savvy millennial crowd, chatbots have the ability to appear highly human, as far as robots go. You can assign them a profile picture (bonus points if the avatar is wearing a beanie or thick-rimmed glasses), a name, and a friendly greeting to reel in curious visitors.
Chatbots are set up by feeding the software answers to common questions, like “How can I track my order?” They are a subtly ever-present tool should a burning question pop into a visitor’s head. Certain customer chatbot solutions employ cutting-edge AI technology, giving said bot the ability to learn, evolve, and improve its offering with every passing interaction.
Â 2) Customize for success
To provide the kind of support your clients actually want and need, set up keyword and action triggers that serve up practical suggestions at the perfect moment. You can outline specific visitor behaviors or patterns that indicate the need for some friendly assistance, such as navigating to your FAQ page or browsing a specific product line, like running shoes for women in size 8.
Use these prompts to float genuinely relevant suggestions inside the browser window, such as showcasing the bestselling women’s sneaker this month, or offering to elaborate upon their desired FAQ inquiry. By giving customers information based on their behavior, and anticipating the kinds of tips that might help them along their journey, your automated client care is sure to be a hit.
Â 3) Garner important insights
If a customer service chat unfolds in the forest and no one’s around to hear it…
It is recommended to give users a nudge after they disconnect with your chatbot, asking for a star rating and brief feedback about the interaction. This way, you can keep an eye on satisfaction levels and suggested improvements without having to conduct the entire session yourself – now that you’ve automated this stage of your support, it is essential to be extra vigilant about troubleshooting related issues.
Â 4) Perfect the welcome email
For most customers, your welcome email is the first personal interaction they have with your brand – and more importantly, this is the first sign of life they receive thanks to an automated process. According to an article by MyEmma, welcome emails boast a 50% open rate on average, making them 86% more effective than the traditional newsletter – so yours better be good!
The modern small business tends to shed stuffy greetings like “Hello” and “Good morning/evening” in favor of “Hey!” and “Hi there,” so feel free to follow suit and employ this tone throughout. While your audience knows that they’re reading an automated email, a warmer, more casual tone has the ability to remind them that there are indeed real people running your business!
The welcome email is also the perfect vehicle with which you can begin answering questions and troubleshooting issues before they arise. Provide links to product suites, your FAQ, your intro video, and anything else that might help new users get acquainted with your offering in-depth.
Â 5) Have backup
Here in the 21st century, we love our robots – but small businesses should always provide a way for people to speak with a human if their issue escalates beyond the abilities of automated service. Some bots are able to bump a service ticket to a human counterpart, and other companies simply prefer to provide a contact email or phone number on their website for those who don’t wish to engage with a bot. The choice is yours.
One more consideration is your social media page: clients may flock there to air their grievances, assuming that whoever is managing the page is highly likely to see their complaint or concern. As a small business, it is your job to respond promptly, politely, and with a touch of fun – a job best suited to a living, breathing employee!
About the Author
Alex G. is VP of Marketing and Customer Success at Amilia. His daytime passions include marketing and technology while his after-work passions include good wine and martial arts. With his black belt in judo, Alex applies his focus to growth with as much discipline as he does to armlocks and chokes on the mats.