In an environment where the consumer faces constant time pressure, companies must provide fast, high-quality service. This isn’t just a casual observation: It comes straight from the mouths of real people.
Polling by Forrester shows that a large majority of consumers want the companies they do business with to respect their time. According to the analyst firm, nearly 80 percent of people define good customer service as feeling like their time is valued (see Contact Centers Must Go Digital or Die, Forrester Research, 2015).
With this in mind, how can you save your customers time (and make them happier in the process)?
Empower them to help each other
One of the easiest ways to accelerate the customer service journey is providing customers with tools that let them help each other.
Online communities are one option. Leading brands like T-Mobile NL, Dutch Railways, OVO Energy, Eir, and many others rely on online communities - powered by inSided - to supplement their digital support efforts.
Among inSided customers, the average peer-to-peer support ratio (the percentage of support issues that are solved by other customers) is almost 50 percent. With millions of people visiting inSided communities every day, that adds up to thousands of deflected support tickets each year.
What makes communities so powerful is that they bring together people who have questions with experts who have answers. People want to help each other, and communities make it happen - resulting in better service and lower support costs for brands.
Verify answers as correct
You can go a step further with peer-to-peer support by stepping in to verify the answers that your customers create. This validates the answerers’ efforts, while also making questioners more confident that they’re getting the right insight.
In addition, Google - where an estimated 75 percent of people start their customer service journey - is highly skilled at recognizing verified answers, as long as they appear at the top of the original Q&A page.
That means if your customers search for an on Google, and the information they need has been verified by a member of your team, there’s a good chance the answer will show up as one of the first search results.
Of course, the content needs to be indexed by Google in the first place - so it’s important to use a Q&A platform (like a community) that’s SEO-friendly.
Infuse help content into every area of the customer journey
Your brand may own hundreds or even thousands of pages of digital content. More content is unequivocally better for business: You’re more visible to customers and prospects, you get rewarded with better SEO, and you have more opportunities to tell your brand story.
How many of your owned channels feature help content, though?
It’s an important question, because consumers are taking it upon themselves to find answers to their questions and solutions to their problems. And 90 percent of people expect companies to offer online self-service.
You may think you’re making answers easy to find, but if only a handful of your pages feature them, you’re missing out on an opportunity to make the customer experience a lot better.
A solution is to infuse many more of your web properties - your FAQs, your support pages, your product pages, and your online knowledge base - with Q&A. Check out the tool we built in partnership with Dutch telco KPN for an example of how this might look.
The tool serves as a Q&A pop-up. Based on the content in the page, it will suggest common answers from KPN’s customer community, or let users input their own questions.
The net result: people get their questions answered more quickly. That keeps them from having to call or email your support team, and it raises customer satisfaction - a true win-win.
By Ben Foster
Content Marketer at inSided. Having worked in B2B tech in San Francisco and Boston, Ben's now happy to be in New York City. He'll never root for the Yankees, though. Connect on Linkedin