Building a business website is no small task. Will you choose a platform or build from scratch? Go for a trendy modern look or something traditional and more reliable to navigate? The choices you make when building your website will shape how your audience perceives the company and your interaction with customers. While business websites used to be simple, mostly static postings of useful facts, these days the website is one of your venues and serving customers should be built right in.
Whether you’re an eCommerce site with 100% of business taken care of on the web or a services business with most of your work done in-person, it’s important to integrate your customer service directly into your website. It is through the web that customers will seek out via search engines, check out your company, form an opinion, and decide to call you. If there is a problem, the first place customers go is to the website for contact information. This is your opportunity to start building a relationship with clients from the moment they browse your site to post-service followup and every stage in between. How? Here are ten of the hottest customer service features to include in any modern business website:
1) Live Chat
You’ve probably seen signs of the live chat trend literally popping up all over the web. It seems like every website you visit now has a little colorful icon in the lower right-hand corner of the page offering contact with a friendly chat tech. While many customers like to browse on their own, live chat is an invaluable asset to your business. Leads with questions can get these questions answered immediately, without time for them to change their minds or wander off. Customers with concerns can reach customer support without the hassle of a phone call (remember, most millennials hate talking on the phone) or the uncertainty of waiting for a return email. Live chat agents can even serve as shopping assistants, concierge service, and technical support as well.
2) Customer Accounts
Many business websites need customer accounts for things like e-commerce and SaaS services. However, if you think your business has no use for customer accounts, think again. Whether you’re a hardware store, restaurant, or law office, your customers like to be remembered and you don’t have to do it personally. Customer accounts, especially those with quick and easy login features, allow your system to personally welcome returning customers and gives you a way to ‘introduce’ leads into your service by walking them through a simple account creation. If you have customer accounts and live chat, let them log in as themselves with their name and a chosen avatar to build an even stronger customer relationship.
Once the customers have their own accounts, give them a profile to personalize. This can be anything from a delightful custom profile designed by your expert web developers or an out-of-the-box simple personal profile page, as long as it’s got a few opportunities to customize. Let them change the colors of a few things to give it a personal appearance, add their photo or choose from a wide selection of avatar options, and include a few text boxes for things like ‘bio’ and ‘favorites’. Customers who enjoy this sort of thing will have a grand time setting up a new profile which you can then use to get a feel for who they are before each service. For a special bonus, add another text box for ‘service preferences’. Customers who fill this out will be giving you a heads-up as to how they like to be served best.
4) Customer Dashboard
Account, check! Profile, check! Now let’s give your customers a dashboard. The dashboard doesn’t have to contain too much, mostly just what might otherwise be in a comprehensive CRM. Always start with the buying history by giving customers access to a detailed list of their past purchases of goods or services. Active tracking is next with a special section for recent purchases, shipping status, and scheduled services. Finally, a log of past customer service interactions is a wonderful touch and gives customers a place to reference information given to them in a previous chat, email, or phone conversations via transcript. These will show the customer that you remember them, care, and want to make things easy for them.
5) Live Issue Tracking
If your customer service software includes live issue tracking, consider hooking this into your customer dashboard as well. Live issue tracking is more than just a periodic email, it’s a moving bar and a live log of the state of a customer’s reported issue. When customers can see that you’re actively working on their problem, they know you haven’t forgotten about them or shuffled their issue to the bottom of your queue. This is not only useful for long-solve problems, but it can also serve to show off how quick and efficient your team is at solving little problems.
6) Waiting Games
Finally, sometimes you may need a customer to wait a few moments either while a page loads, a customer service agent looks something up, or while their account is set up for them by a technician. During these times, customers get restless and some can even transition from friendly to cranky while waiting even a few minutes. One great way to alleviate this is to have a web game or two available. Strategically opened, it can distract, occupy, and amuse an otherwise impatient customer for a few key moments while your website, reps, or technicians get things ready.
Building a strong customer service feature set for your business websites is incredibly important for both nurturing new leads and taking good care of old customers. In the best possible scenario, your customers will enjoy working with your website (and playing your waiting games) so much that they return more frequently and with greater enthusiasm each time. For more website design tips, tricks and trends, contact us today!