Optimal customer satisfaction: get to know your customer so you can set up the right online customer service
Understanding your customer is the key to good service. Online customer support teams, now commonly referred to as Webcare, deal with many different types of people, each and every day, but often use a more standardised approach when responding to messages. However, it can help as an organization to consider the type of customer who comes into contact with you. How can you get to know your customer best, and how can you use what you know for the best kind of customer experience? In this blog, you’ll learn some useful tips, and tricks, to help ensure that you provide the best kind of service to all your different types of customers.
Webcare teams deal with many positive and loyal customers on a daily basis, but they also have to deal with critical, introverted, angry, disappointed or even sometimes rather humorous customers. By taking into account not only the type of message that comes in, but also the type of customer, you can ensure an optimal customer experience.
Foster your brand ambassadors
Did you know that it pays to pay attention to your brand ambassadors? Every webcare team knows them: the loyal, positive customer. People who are fans of your brand and like the interaction. These are the people who love to share and respond to your content. To strengthen the bond with this group of people, it’s a good idea to give them the attention they want. For example, is there an opportunity to retweet or give a shoutout? Take a chance — and make them happy.
We love all of our Hut fans! ❤️
— PizzaHut (@pizzahut) April 14, 2020
Research has shown that positive content has far greater reach than negative content. Negative messages spread faster, but positive messages are more popular, are shared for a longer time, and therefore have a wider reach. We need positivity and good news. So it pays to actively work with people who have a positive attitude towards your brand. Do this in your own, authentic way. After all, this is a fan who sees your brand as a ‘good friend’. So don’t just deal with resolving complaints, but also learn to reward positive messages. Take the time to respond in a fun, informal way.
Just as with people who usually express themselves positively, there are also those who may have a negative attitude towards your brand. In their eyes you can’t do anything right. So they’re critical of every post you post.
This behaviour can usually be explained by a negative experience with your organisation in the past. You may want to approach this person directly in order to find out where the negativity comes from. But make sure you approach them respectfully, and in a friendly manner, and try to take the ‘sting’ out of any negative experience. This can be done online via social media or messaging channels, but it may be even better to try to speak to each other by phone. If the person remains critical, however, it may be wise to just stop with communications and not dig any further into the negativity.
The introverted customer
Introverts can be found on every platform. They’re the people who read everything, but hardly interact. They don’t share posts and don’t give likes or comments to posts. Yet these introverts like to read everything that’s being posted. As far as webcare is concerned, these people are not likely to express themselves openly (whether they’re angry or happy) about your brand, but you may find them through closed channels, such as Facebook Messenger, Google’s Business Messages or WhatsApp. And their input can many times provide interesting insights for your organisation.
So, involve them with your brand by actively asking these people questions. Start the conversation and listen closely to them, because introverts are oftentimes the people who know exactly what’s going on. Your willingness to engage sincerely in talking about what they consider important will reward them for their involvement and encourage them to become more involved in the future.
The temporarily angry customer
It’s easy for people to express their anger about an organisation via social media. Customers who are poorly served do not hesitate to let this be publicly known. Some even manage to get the attention of websites such as The Beste Social Media, where the problem is given even more attention. These kinds of messages can be harmful to your brand reputation over time. It’s therefore important to be able to help these people as best as possible. A number of factors are therefore important in making the temporarily angry customer no longer angry:
1. Listen to your customer
Listen carefully to what your customer has to say, try to map out the situation and put yourself in the customer’s shoes. Show empathy and show that you understand the situation. You don’t have to use the oh-so-dreaded “that’s too bad”, which is criticised by many social media users. There are still enough other variations for showing that you sympathise with your customer, and that you are willing to solve the problem.
We appreciate you hanging in there with us and we're sorry for the additional travel time this has created. We'll get you on your way ASAP.
— americanair (@AmericanAir) July 21, 2020
2. Getting frustrated? Ask a colleague to help take a look
It may be that, as a webcare employee, you’re a bit angry about a message that has come in, which might make you less willing to respond empathetically. Are you unsure about whether you’re answering a message appropriately? Then have it looked at by a colleague who’s not directly involved.
3. Respond quickly and acknowledge any mistakes
It’s important to respond quickly and to recognise errors, especially if an error actually lies within your organisation. Make the conversation personal, possibly offline, and ensure a good follow-up. Actively ask for feedback on the solution that’s been offered. It’s one way of showing that you take the customer’s opinion seriously.
I know I’ve said this before, but I’ll say it again… @TMobile is so amazing. I literally just got a call from customer service. They wanted to make sure I was utilizing every part of my plan. Then they saved me $35 on my bill. Like out of the blue. It’s a good Monday.
— ⋆𝐵𝓇𝒶𝓃𝒹𝓎 𝑀𝓊𝓈𝒾𝒸⋆ (@Brandy_Music) July 20, 2020
Many times temporarily angry customers are ultimately willing to give a compliment, if they’ve been helped well by the webcare team and any problem has been neatly solved. This is how a temporarily angry customer becomes a satisfied customer again. But be careful! A temporarily angry customer can also turn into a critic if they haven’t been helped well.
Negative messages: remove them or leave them?
Many organisations run into the question of what to do with negative messages. You would probably prefer to remove them from your public channels, but this isn’t always the best solution. A negative message gives you the opportunity as an organisation to openly show that you take criticism seriously and that you do something about it. An exception can be made when a customer uses bad words, or other language that cannot be used. If this is the case, clearly indicate that the message will be deleted and for what reason, in order to prevent new or even more criticism.
Online customer service has only one goal: to help the customer
As a webcare worker, you have only one goal: to help the customer, in the right way. It’s important that you put the interests of the customer first. The customer comes to you through a public platform, but handling a complaint or question and helping a customer well and carefully should always be the way to go about things, over being funny. Many times you can just feel how far you can go with jokes, or being humorous, but there are also plenty of examples of when things go wrong. Not only the funny examples, but also the bad examples of reactions we see on platforms such as The Best Social Media. As Antina van der Veen wrote in an article about webcare:
“Webcare workers, you can tone it down a bit. Not in your customer focus and your drive to find solutions, but in the way you talk to the customer. Try to speak the language of the consumer, but don’t be too amicable.”
That’s how it is. Make sure you know who you’re dealing with, fill in important information in your CRM system and make customer service as effortless as possible for your customers!