5 Tips for Making it Easier Than Ever to Answer Customer Questions

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Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, the relationship between customers and the brands they choose became increasingly focused. Consumers scrutinized businesses more intently, questioning corporate vision and culture. They shopped around for new products and tested merchandise they’d never considered buying before. And above all else, they expected the companies they chose to pay attention to their needs.

Recent statistics reveal just how strongly buyers are demanding top-notch customer service. Ninety-five percent of consumers use customer experience (CX) as an important differentiator when weighing where to spend their money. Almost six out of 10 shoppers expect more in terms of CX than they did pre-COVID.

Taking this feedback into consideration, your team has a tremendous opportunity to stand out. Discerning customers are ready to reward exceptional brands with loyalty, reviews, and repeat business. All they ask in return is that you put them front and center. And a fast way to do that is to implement smarter strategies to make answering their questions easier.

The power of “I can help you”

Everyone’s had the misfortune of being treated poorly by a company’s representatives. It’s a reason not to return to the company, store, or website again. Make sure your CX personnel can address buyers’ inquiries rapidly to reduce friction and give fast relief. You’ll get on their good side, which should carry over into higher income streams and repeat purchases.

1. Launch a corporate wiki.

You probably use Wikipedia to look up general information all the time. Why not develop an internal, crowdsourced corporate wiki for use by anyone on your team?

A corporate wiki can become a place that houses your company’s collective knowledge. When any employee needs to find solutions, the corporate wiki can become the go-to starting point. Having a corporate wiki at their fingertips empowers workers to take charge of customer situations rather than passing clients around.

Of course, the biggest hurdle to starting a corporate wiki is to encourage people to contribute to it. Assign the project of setting up and initially populating the wiki to a few team members. After they’ve begun writing content that will be organized canonically, open the wiki editing to anyone. Over time, the wiki will become a rich source of quick answers to ordinary and not-so-ordinary customer concerns.

2. Ensure your software and tools speak the same language.

Do your CX people have to resort from jumping from one program to another when trying to help a client solve a problem? Not only does that eat up time, but it can frustrate the customer who’s awaiting an answer.

Ideally, every piece of software in your tech stack will integrate seamlessly. Instead of having to keep moving to a different system—or computer—all information will be available in an intuitive, logical portal.

To boost your CX further and ensure your people can work from anywhere, move your operations to the cloud. Having cloud-based technology takes away barriers to providing customers with help when they expect it.

3. Update your FAQs frequently.

Plenty of companies have some type of FAQs document or section on their websites. If yours hasn’t been revisited in six months or longer, see if it could use updates.

Who should create content such as copy or videos for your FAQs? In general, you’ll want to pick someone from the marketing team who can maintain a consistent branding personality. However, be prepared to tap customer service and sales team members for ideas.

For instance, ask your top rainmakers what their biggest objections are when making a sale. Or see what questions keep popping up when your CX folks talk to buyers. These nuggets will help your marketing team develop robust, useful FAQs.

4. Consider leveraging AI-supported CX tools.

We’re living in the age of the empowered buyer. Customers want to be able to get answers rapidly and potentially bypass the need to interact with another live person.

Without your help, most curious or cranky clients will head to the Internet and snoop around for answers. Present them with opportunities on your site to engage with AI-supported tools like chatbots. Though chatbots can’t provide all answers, they can often solve common questions rapidly.

Check out the increasingly cost-effective AI and machine learning based CX solutions on the market. Then, decide if integration with your current system makes sense.

5. Answer questions before they’re asked.

What’s a fast way to ward off problems answering consumer questions once the consumer’s already upset? Give the customer the answers when they make the purchase.

For example, offering manuals that come with a purchase can tell buyers what to do if they encounter hiccups. Plus, your CX team members can refer to the manuals when they’re helping people through omnichannel service portals like text, email, or live chats.

Remember: Your product doesn’t have to be complicated to warrant an “Everything you need to know about your purchase” tipsheet. Vendors selling coronavirus face masks on Etsy regularly send washing and care guidelines to customers. Those instructions save Etsy vendors the trouble of repeatedly answering the same concerns about sanitizing used masks.

Your CX team works hard and wants to answer questions. Don’t make them work harder than they have to, though. The faster they can resolve a phone call or DM from a buyer, the better it makes your brand look. And all that feel-good street cred will add up to a branding boost that could help you meet profit goals.

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