Written by Michael Keenan

December 17, 2019

Excellent customer support has become a very popular demand over the last decade. And for good reason: The majority of Americans decide to not go through with a purchase because of a poor customer service experience.  Even more, they then tell their friends about it after. 

Less than a decade ago, customer service departments were scarce. Today, everyone from marketing agencies to e-commerce brands must fight for their customers’ business. It’s not all about price and product anymore, but about providing the highest level of customer satisfaction. 

As a growing company, you probably engage with different customer service approaches that are unscalable: live chat, email, social media, phone. These are all great ways to communicate with people; however, today’s customers are asking for 24/7 support. To get there, you may need to rethink your customer service strategy. 

This is critical because well-done customer service can drive revenue. So if you’re looking to better your customer support, these six key elements will help you create happier and stronger customer relationships for your business. 

What is customer support?

Customer support is the act of assisting your customers by providing high quality, professional assistance, both before and after they buy your products or services. The goal is to help them have an enjoyable and seamless experience with your company. 

Support can involve planning, troubleshooting, onboarding, training, and upgrading a product. Offering incredible support is vital if you want to keep customers long term and grow your business. Today, customer support goes beyond traditional phone and email help desks. You can provide assistance through chat apps, social media, text messages, and even self-service features. 

Excellent support is more than solving problems; it’s a part of the value proposition you make to your customers.  

Six key customer support elements for 2020

1. Personalization 

Support teams need to get used to the word “personalization.” Answering questions is great. Being available 24/7 is great. But you lose customers if interactions aren’t personalized. The one thing that delights customers when dealing with a problem is feeling like they are heard and valued, especially when they are a good customer

Are you keeping track of customers’ past purchases and problems? Are there opportunities to personalize the customer journey to take advantage of this key support element? Because nearly 33% of customers who abandoned a business relationship last year did so because personalization was lacking, you should make relevant and exclusive interactions a priority. 

To personalize support, you can set up advanced targeting to track information that customers submit and products purchased to help with recommendations. Also, keep a history of chats you have with each customer to reference when you or your bot speak with them using ManyChat. 

2. Chatbots

It’s impossible to offer 24/7 human support if you don’t have a huge budget, but it’s easy to provide that level of technical support with a chatbot. A chatbot for customer service helps you field thousands of customer questions at once and provide one-on-one and personalized support; plus, it’s available around the clock. For this reason, chatbots are expected to deliver an annual cost savings of 11 billion dollars by 2023. 

If your bot can’t answer the question, you can always route customers to a human agent, which most customers don’t mind. In fact, 30% of US consumers rate chatbot interactions as “very effective” in dealing with customer service issues. And 53% of customers prefer to interact with a chatbot first before a human rep. 

When it comes to customer support, every minute counts. Chatbots are great because you never miss a query, you can answer questions and offer recommendations quickly, and turn your bot into a member of your team. 

3. SMS support 

SMS is the next big thing for customer support. It offers companies a direct line of communication with customers in a way they’ve never had before. You can use SMS to build brand affinity, relationships, and customer loyalty.

Say a customer has a simple question about your product or service. They don’t want to email you or get into your Messenger bot. Instead, they want to send you a text to get an immediate answer. You can set up automated responses or jump into a live 2-way SMS conversation with your customers to help solve their problem and make the sale.

SMS is not like email. Your goal is to give customers the response they need quickly and with respect. No mishaps or sales talk — you don’t want to upset customers on this channel.

To do this, train your customer support teams on how to use SMS to communicate with customers. It’s a great chance to bring out your company’s personality and move customers toward final purchase or conversion.

Bring ManyChat SMS into your customer support strategy. Sign up for an account today.

4. Omnichannel presence 

If one of your goals is to improve customer satisfaction in 2020, an omnichannel presence is an effective way to make that happen. 

Unlike offering just one or two ways to contact your team, omnichannel support provides an incentive for anyone to ask for help on the platforms they are most comfortable on. For some, it may be Messenger. For others, it may be self-service. Either way, you want to connect with customers in ways they prefer to fuel the growth of your business. 

To provide omnichannel customer support, there are a few effective channels to consider:

  • Facebook Messenger.
  • Live chat.
  • Social Media (Twitter, Facebook, IG).
  • Email.
  • Text.
  • Self-service (FAQs).
  • WhatsApp.

When you choose the best support channels for your business, you can always test and optimize the most effective or useful ones. You should aim to remove any friction and make it easy for customers to connect with your business. Then nurture the relationship to final conversion. 

5. Segmentation data

When a prospect or customer comes to your on-site chat window with a question, don’t just answer it and close the ticket. This creates a poor customer experience and missed opportunity. Instead, ask questions that engage them and collect valuable segmentation data that helps drive conversions. 

Not only will this help you discover new ways to connect with prospective customers, but it will also help move them deeper into your funnel. If you enable your team to keep the conversation alive, you can collect and use data to offer more personalized support, develop better products, and so much more. 

6. Integrate with sales

One of the most common use cases for customer support is answering questions. You start by fielding a query, answering it, and then going on to the next ticket. Many support teams don’t maximize their channels to drive ROI.

With the rise in chat, support can also turn into a sales opportunity. Take the example of Cassie (customer) and Sarah (support rep) below:

Customer Support Sales Conversation | 5 Key Customer Support Elements for 2020

Instead of telling Cassie, “Sorry, we’re out of the product. Do you have any more questions?” Sarah takes a different approach to her support. Knowing this is a pre-sale conversation, she actively recommends relevant products Cassie may like based on their conversation. This is a modern-day sales tactic. 

Derric Haynie, Chief E-commerce Technologist at Ecommerce Tech, spoke on this topic at Conversations 2019. To merge support and sales, according to Derric, you should take these six steps below:

  • Step 1: Build a detailed FAQ or knowledge base section.
  • Step 2: Create a detailed chatbot that can answer and mitigate the most common questions.
  • Step 3: Create a sales-training guide for your team.
  • Step 4: Use the customer’s purchase and browsing behavior to help indicate a pre-sale or post-sale ticket, and segment your support team into pre-sales and post-sales to best allocate the ticket.
  • Step 5: Have humans ready to respond to tickets within 90 seconds in real-time.
  • Step 6: Profit.

And just like that, you’ll be on your way to a successful and profitable customer-support operation for 2020. 

Customer support for today’s buyers

Small changes in attitude and response strategy can lead to improved customer satisfaction, and most importantly, sales. All it takes is reimagining how you see your current support operations and implementing the six elements mentioned in this article. 

Want to take your customer support to the next level? And actually make money from it? Get ManyChat today to get started.