Online customer service is the key to whether your company prospers or founders. Customers are becoming far more expectant, far more demanding.

The digital world means instantaneous reactions. It also means that positive as well as negative comments about your company can spread like wildfire.

Complacency will cost:

Year on year new data emerges indicating the growing importance of customer service and the customer experience (CX). CX is measured on how the customer feels and their attitude towards a company and its products after an online visit.

Those companies who do not heed these growing trends will find themselves left behind in the ever-increasingly competitive market sector in which they operate.

Monitor your customer service activities:

Analytical tools and applications can assist greatly when it comes to understanding CX. Statistics can be compiled, analysed and assessed on a frequent basis. By achieving this a company will have the knowledge to enhance the aspects of customer service that please and improve the things that rank low.

Do not be afraid to provide a comment section that is easily noticeable and easily accessible. Positive comments can be used to further promote the experience, product or service you offer while negative comments should not be feared if you are prepared to react to them.

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Response to negative comments should be swift. If genuine, then improvements should also be implemented swiftly. This will allow for potentially negative situations to be turned quickly into positive ones.

If the customer feels you are listening by responding to comments this will, in the main be fully appreciated. This often results in increased loyalty to your particular brand or service.

Price is not everything:

There is a niche of companies that purposely want to be recognized as low-cost providers. If you are not one of these then it is important to understand that the proposition of good customer service cannot be under-valued.

Customers are willing to pay that little bit extra if you offer extra. They want to feel wanted. This can only be achieved by attention to detail and by looking after the customer.

This factor crosses all companies no matter what products or services they provide.

Personalisation is key:

The applications and tools now offered for statistical analysis offer clear insight into what preferences customers have. They also advise activity and purchase history.

The use of such tools means a company can now cater accurately to individual customer needs. This will create a bond which can be used to your advantage in terms of selling products and services as well as encouraging cross-selling and up-selling.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Intelligent Assistants (IA):

The technology that gives accurate statistical information also allows AI to be implemented to improve the CX. It gives companies the knowledge to make informed business decisions that can result in a positive experience for the customer.

This AI is not expected to completely replace the human interaction, but it is an extremely useful and effective tool that allows your customer support staff to become IA’s.

A sound example of this is ‘Chatbots’. The initial contact a customer has while on your website may not be with a person but via a computer-generated response. Implementing a proven chatbot will result in any standard or pre-programmed requests and questions being responded to in the correct manner.

What is more important is this technology also recognizes if a customer is confused and will seamlessly hand-off the customer to a human customer support member.

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Be proactive:

Technology now offers programs which alert you to issues that can be resolved or eliminated before the customer is aware of them. A good, proactive program or application can be worth its weight in gold in terms of alerting a company to problems, and in many cases auto-resolving them.

Ease and convenience are the key:

When all is said and done the CX boils down to just how easy and convenient it is to ‘go shopping’, find resources, seek and get assistance where necessary and purchase products or services via your online presence.

Remember a customer has many other sites to consider and use. What you need to do is to understand what is being offered in your market sector.

From there you can then establish ways that an online purchase from your site is easy and convenient and that it offers the customer an experience which will encourage them to come back time and again.