The Top 6 Tools for Improving your Online Customer Service

*The following is a guest post from Merav Shoham from Proonto.

Customer service sure has evolved in the past few years. It has come to a point that even the best quality product will not make up for bad or even standard customer service. Customers demand a timely, effective and personalized service, and eCommerce brands are trying their best to provide that.

We have prepared a list of the most popular and innovative customer service channels, all to help you stay on top of the eCommerce game.

Self-Service Websites

A self-service center encourages customers to resolve their issues without having to contact a company representative. On one side, using a self-service center saves customers valuable time by letting them solve their own issues, but on the other empowers them to get to know your company.

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Our #1 Pick: Zendesk

Zendesk offers a wide variety of self-service center themes, which can be easily customized for your needs which means you can design your customer interface (but not the providers) to look like the rest of your website. The knowledge base is easy to set up and most importantly, can be quickly updated. It is created according to your customers’ needs and FAQ. You can upload any type of content, images and videos included.

Live Support

Live support gives your customers what a self-service software cannot- a human touch. Live support enables you to give your customers the real time assistance they would have gotten if they were shopping in a brick and mortar store. However, a live support platform is only as good as the people who operate it. Which means that in order to take full advantage of all the wonderful aspects live support has to offer, you need to have the most qualified and experienced agents to staff it.

Our #1 Pick: Proonto

Proonto founded the first global shop assistants marketplace which constantly recruits vertically experienced sales and customer service associates. We help all sized eCommerce brands staff their website with the most suitable live agent in terms of experience, pay scale and culture. We enable eCommerce brands, including those with a separate live support platform, to outsource and hire passionate live agents that will provide customers with timely, efficient and personalized service.

Social Media

Would you be surprised to hear that 70% of Facebook users engage with the site daily (and 45% do so several times a day)? People spend hours on their social media accounts and it has come to a point when it has become a major channel of communication.

Therefore it is no surprise that your customers expect to communicate with your brand via social media. So if you haven’t started using your social media platforms as customer service channels, there is no better time than NOW.

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Our #1 Pick: Hootsuite

The Hootsuite Social Customer Service Solution helps any sized business identify customer issues and resolve them quickly and efficiently. That way your customers don’t have to wait for a response and you get to expand your positive social impact.

Online Communities

Online communities are a wonderful way to find out what your customers think about your product and service. For customers, online communities are a place to share their honest opinions about your product and engage with other customers.

Our #1 Pick: Socious

Socious created a variety of features, all to ensure that your customer will feel comfortable enough to share their thoughts with other users, and eventually with you. Socious allows you to create discussion forums, segment groups for better productivity and help your customers connect with each other.

Automatic Callbacks

Correct me if I’m wrong, but one of the most annoying sounds in the world is the one of the ‘waiting tone’. Of course, it’s also extremely annoying to wait for a representative to pick up the phone. Automatic callbacks give your customers the privilege of deciding whether they want to wait or just have someone return their call. Another plus about this channel is that it gives your agents the chance to prepare for the callback.

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Our #1 Pick: Fonolo

Fonolo allows your customers to schedule a callback when they see fit. Customers can schedule the call from any device and from an app.

SMS Support

People carry their cell phones everywhere they go, which means that SMS messages are without a doubt the fastest way you can reach your customer and vice versa.

Our #1 Pick: OneReach

OneReach allows you to receive and send text messages from your customers. You can integrate OneReach to your call center, or you can even connect the service to your own cellphone.

In a time where competition in the retail industry between online and brick and mortar retailers is really heating up, customer service is one of the main points of differentiation between the two. Customer service is a huge deal for shoppers, and these six tools can help you optimize the shopper experience in 2015 and keep business flowing to your online store.

Brian Smyth

Brian Smyth is a former content writer at Wiser, a dynamic pricing and merchandising engine for online retailers. He holds a BS in business with a concentration in marketing from San Francisco State University.

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