The last few years have presented many challenges for businesses: a global pandemic, war and social unrest, and rising inflation. It can be especially challenging for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) with smaller staffs and budgets to manage customer expectations and add value to experiences despite these issues. One option is to invest in digital customer support tools. Here are five additional ways SMBs can leverage technology to improve the small business customer experience:
1. Give customers a way to find their own answers
Today’s customer loves self-service. Help them help themselves by offering online help articles or a frequently asked questions (FAQ) section to resolve the most common queries. Customers get what they need, when they need it, and self-service help reduces the caseload for your time-strapped team, to boot.
Pro Tip: Automating responses to simpler customer inquiries frees up time for your team to focus on complex issues and go deeper with customers who need it. Giving employees the bandwidth to dig in and solve customer problems has dual business benefits. It helps reduce employee burnout and strengthens customer relationships.
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2. Respond instantly with service bots
Have you tried using a chatbot on your website? It’s a lot easier — and less expensive — than you might think! Chatbots are a great first line of support for the small business customer experience. A good AI service bot can respond to customers instantly, automate routine interactions, and triage straightforward inquiries while directing more complex customer needs to a live agent.
Service bots may be the ultimate way for service-reliant organizations to relieve the pressure on their team. Bots improve employee efficiency and scale service operations — that’s a win-win.
Pro tip: Review the areas of your business that would be best served by having a chatbot. The most widely used business cases involve call center support, where a chatbot can help with changing a password or requesting an account balance; integration with back-end systems such as inventory management; and virtual personal assistants that can help customers with parts of their daily lives (think Siri or Alexa).
You know the adage about meeting your customers where they already are? They’re already on social media, so why not offer support through those channels?
Providing support via social, SMS, and chat shows your business is all about fulfilling customer needs. Offering support via social empowers customers to move at their own pace, and lays the groundwork for long-lasting relationships.
Pro tip: Connect your marketing and service teams with social customer service software so that you get a complete view of the customer before responding to a social media request. When a customer hits up their social channels with a complaint or issue, your team can immediately work to resolve it and your small business customer experience shines.
4. Let customers know what’s happening in the field
Feed their need to stay informed on the day of a service appointment with real-time updates on expected arrival time, who is coming to help them, and location of the en route mobile worker with appointment assistance. Keeping customers in the know in real time is a great way to leverage technology to build relationships and make customers feel taken care of.
Pro Tip: Take your small business customer experience to the next level with the right field service management solution. Keep your technicians up to date on key internal information with real-time notifications and updates via their field service management mobile app. Whether they’re on site or between service calls, mobile keeps your team in the loop to eliminate unnecessary visits when schedules change at the last moment.
5. Streamline the curbside pickup experience
Does your retail operation already offer buy online pickup in store/curbside (BOPIS)? Make a good thing even better by making over your curbside pickup experience to improve the customer experience. Coupons that incentivize users to try curbside service, and text updates alerting customers when their orders are ready for pickup, are strategies that have proven successful for retailers with a busy customer base.
Pro tip: 41% of shoppers are more likely than a year ago to buy after they browse online for inventory available in physical locations. This omnichannel buying behavior shows that visibility and convenience are loyalty drivers.
Delight your customers today
Looking to keep up with the new standard of customer support? Download the Getting Started with Service Playbook for small businesses.