Online Customer Care - Ultimate Guide
Stand out from the competition thanks to top-notch customer care. It entails not only meeting all of the customers’ needs but also going the extra mile to exceed their expectations. Want to know how? Read on for an ultimate customer care guide.
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Online customer care - it’s very likely you’ve heard this term before in your life.
Today, we’re coming to you with the ultimate article on all things related to it.
Looking after your customer relations is an integral part to running a successful business. It’s no surprise that happy customers = happy company.
But how can you do it?
The answer to this and many more questions are hidden in this article.
So don’t hesitate too much about it and let’s dive right into it.
What is online customer care?
Online customer care is the process of providing support to customers using various digital channels such as email, live chat, chatbots, social media, and online forums.
- responding to customer inquiries,
- addressing concerns and complaints,
- providing information about products and services,
- and ensuring customer satisfaction.
Overall, it is an important aspect of customer service in the digital age, where customers expect quick communication from businesses.
The importance of online customer care
The first important question before anything else: why should you care?
Well, there are many reasons.
Online customer care is essential for businesses because it helps them in various different ways:
- building and maintaining flawless customer experience,
- increasing brand loyalty of customers,
- improving overall customer satisfaction levels.
By providing high-quality customer care, businesses can differentiate themselves from their competitors and create a positive reputation in the market.
Additionally, positive interactions with customers can lead to increased sales and revenue. This is because satisfied customers are more likely to make repeat purchases and refer others thanks to building this emotional connection.
What’s more, online customer care provides an opportunity for businesses to receive valuable feedback and insights from customers. This can help them to further improve their products and services.
Master handling online customer interactions
The question that you should have in your mind right now goes more or less like: Ok, but how do I provide good online customer care?
Luckily for you, we have a list of skills that can differentiate a bad from an excellent customer care team.
Online customer care service members should have a combination of technical and interpersonal abilities, as well as personality traits that enable them to communicate effectively.
Some key traits to delivering excellent customer care include:
👉 patience: online customer service team members should stay calm and able to remain calm, even when dealing with difficult, often angry customers
👉 problem-solving skills: analyzing situations, identifying problems, and finding solutions quickly are also essential to their flawless performance
👉 attention to detail: excellent agents need to be detail-oriented to ensure that customer inquiries and issues are handled accurately and efficiently
👉 positive attitude: moving on, a positive attitude and approach to work, together with being able to maintain a friendly and helpful demeanor throughout interactions with customers is valued as well
👉 effective communication skills: the ability to communicate effectively in writing, as most interactions with customers occur through email or chat, is crucial for good customer relations
👉 technical knowledge: finally, your customer care team should have a good understanding of the company’s products or services, as well as the technical tools and platforms used to provide online customer care.
Having all these (or at least most of them) will guarantee exceptional customer service and overall customer experience.
Having all these (or at least most of them) will guarantee exceptional customer service and overall customer experience.
Online customer care - benefits
Alright, so now you know the essential traits in a person to deliver great online customer care.
Now, the question is: how can your company benefit from it?
Taking care of online customer care can provide your business with amazing benefits on so many levels. Are you curious to find out what they are? Keep on reading!
🤩 Improved customer satisfaction
Prompt and personalized responses, active listening, and empathetic support can help to address customer concerns and increase satisfaction levels. Pretty nice, isn’t it?
🤩 Increased customer loyalty
Moving on, providing high-quality customer care will lead to repeat business and positive word-of-mouth recommendations. This increases customer loyalty. What business doesn’t want this?
🤩 Competitive advantage
When you deliver exceptional customer care, you give yourself a chance to set your business apart from competitors. Competitive advantage = bigger market share. Easy!
🤩 Cost savings
If you can resolve customer issues quickly, it’s easy to reduce the likelihood of costly escalations, refunds, or negative reviews. This saves you money in so many different ways.
🤩 Data insights
Finally, online customer care software can provide valuable insights into customer needs, preferences, and pain points. This can inform product development, marketing strategies, and overall business decisions. That’s some attractive data, right?
Overall, taking care of online customer care will contribute to the success and growth of your business.
So don’t waste your time - let’s take your online customer care to the next level with our best practices. Read on to find out more.
Online customer care - best practices
To make it easier for you to boost your online customer care efforts, we have prepared a list of our best practices to follow.
What’s more, we also give you our “do’s and don’ts” of an excellent online customer care agent.
These are carefully crafted tips and tricks to elevate your work quality to the next level.
Curious to find out what they are? Take a look below.
💪 Respond promptly
Respond to customer inquiries as soon as possible, preferably within a few hours or less. Customers appreciate timely responses and it helps to build trust.
✔️ respond to customer inquiries as soon as possible
✔️ prioritize urgent inquiries and provide estimated response times for less pressing inquiries
✔️ use automated responses to let customers know that their inquiry has been received and is being addressed
❌ leave customer inquiries unanswered for extended periods of time
❌ use automated responses as a substitute for addressing the customer’s concern
💪 Personalize the experience
Address customers by name and use a conversational tone. Make them feel appreciated and heard, show them that you care.
✔️ use the customer’s name when addressing them
✔️ use a conversational tone to make the interaction more friendly and approachable
✔️ use their purchase or browsing history to personalize the experience and build an emotional connection
❌ use a generic, robotic tone that makes the customer feel unimportant
❌ be too informal or use inappropriate language
💪 Use positive language
Use positive language and avoid negative phrases. Even if a customer is upset or angry, a positive tone can help to defuse the situation.
✔️ say words that convey positivity and show that you are willing to help
✔️ provide a positive customer experience by using phrases like “I’ll do my best” or “I’m happy to assist you”
✔️ say things that show empathy and understanding, such as “I understand this is frustrating”
❌ use negative or defensive language
❌ place blame on the customer, even if they made a mistake
💪 Listen actively
Listen to the customer’s concerns and ask clarifying questions to ensure that you understand the issue.
✔️ listen carefully to the customer’s concerns and issues
✔️ ask open-ended questions to encourage the customer to share more information
✔️ paraphrase and repeat back what the customer has said to show that you understand
❌ interrupt or talk over the customer
❌ make assumptions about the issue before fully understanding it
💪 Offer solutions
Offer solutions that address the customer’s needs and concerns. Be creative and flexible in finding solutions.
✔️ offer solutions that directly address the customer’s concerns
✔️ be creative and flexible in finding solutions
✔️ explain the steps that will be taken to resolve the issue
❌ offer generic or irrelevant solutions
❌ promise solutions that can’t be delivered
💪 Follow up
Follow up with the customer to ensure that the issue has been resolved to their satisfaction.
✔️ follow up with the customer after the issue has been resolved to ensure their satisfaction
✔️ provide contact information if they need further assistance
✔️ show gratitude for their business and willingness to work with you
❌ forget to follow up or leave the customer hanging
❌ make the customer feel like their issue is not important |
💪 Be professional
Maintain a professional demeanor at all times. Avoid using slang or inappropriate language, and treat all customers with respect.
✔️ maintain a professional tone at all times
✔️ use appropriate language and avoid slang or jargon
✔️ be respectful to the customer, even if they are being difficult
❌ use inappropriate language or tone
❌ be disrespectful or dismissive of the customer’s concerns |
💪 Be knowledgeable
Know the products or services that you are supporting. Keep up-to-date with any changes or updates.
✔️ know the products or services that you are supporting
✔️ keep up-to-date with any changes or updates
✔️ provide accurate information to the customer
❌ give the customer incorrect information
❌ pretend to know something if you don’t
💪 Use empathy
Show empathy and understanding towards the customer’s situation. Acknowledge their frustration or disappointment and offer support.
✔️ show understanding and empathy towards the customer’s situation
✔️ acknowledge their frustration or disappointment
✔️ offer support and reassurance
❌ be dismissive of the customer’s feelings
❌ downplay the importance of their issue
💪 Continuously improve
Continuously improve your customer care processes and strategies by soliciting feedback and monitoring metrics such as customer satisfaction and response times.
✔️ solicit feedback from customers to improve your processes and strategies
✔️ monitor metrics such as customer satisfaction and response times
✔️ be willing to make changes and improvements based on feedback and data
❌ become complacent or assume that your processes are perfect
❌ ignore feedback or metrics that suggest there is room for improvement.
Phew! That was an insightful bit, wasn’t it?
You’ve already learned so much about online customer care today with us. And we hope you still have some energy left to learn even more!
Next up, let’s talk about measuring your online customer care efforts. How to do it?
📚 Read also:
- The importance of excellent communication in chat customer service
- 22 lessons to learn from customer service teams
- 9 reasons you need customer service chat
Measuring online customer care
There are a few things you can look at to measure the quality of your customer care. We share the most common ones with you:
📈 Response time
This metric refers to how long it takes for a customer service representative to respond to a customer inquiry or complaint.
If you’re using live chats as part of your customer care journey, this metric can easily be accessed in the analytics section of your tool. For example, Smartsupp makes it easy for users to see this.
📈 First contact resolution
First contact resolution (FCR) measures whether a customer’s inquiry or complaint is resolved on the first contact, or if it requires multiple interactions to resolve. The more issues you can solve the first time, the higher your customer care quality is.
📈 Customer feedback surveys
Surveys like CSAT (Customer Satisfaction Score) and NPS (Net Promoter Score) analyze and show how satisfied customers are with customer service and more. As a result, they provide insights into their level of satisfaction and areas for improvement.
📈 Customer reviews and ratings
Don’t forget that customer reviews and ratings can be great sources of both qualitative and quantitative data about the quality of your customer care. Do look into those regularly to stay on top of your game.
📈 Social media engagement metrics
These metrics assess levels of engagement and sentiment of customers on social media platforms, providing insights into the effectiveness of customer service interactions.
📈 Complaint volume and resolution rate
This measures the number of complaints received and the rate at which they are resolved, providing insights into the overall effectiveness of customer service.
📚 Read also:
- 11 customer metrics to track
- Creating a web chat best practices
- Support bot for online businesses - benefits
Best online customer care examples
Enough theory for now, let’s look at some practical examples of great online customer care examples.
Smartsupp offers their website users a great chance to talk with them through their live chat. The chat incorporates both bot and live interaction elements. This gives a potential customer great experience of immediate response connected with a human touch.
Another example is the British HRMC Customer Support and their Twitter initiative. Every day, their customer support team answers customer inquiries on Twitter, in the form of responses to tweets. As you can see, they’re very timely with their responses, which is awesome.
Apple is known not only for their high-quality premium prices, but also stellar Apple Support.
How exactly is customer care practiced here? Well, just look at the amount of support resources available and try to answer this question yourself.
Similarly to HMRC, Binance also likes to connect with their customers on Twitter. Using this platform, the company provides users with first-hand support - all quickly and conveniently.
Finally, Airbnb really knows how to look after their customers with their ‘Community Standards’ rules and practices.
All these are valuable examples of customer care efforts that contribute to fostering an excellent customer experience.
Worst online customer care examples
Now, let us show you how you should NOT go about customer care. Following these brands’ examples will drag you away from achieving those goals of yours:
01 Ola Electric
What’s the point of having a customer care unit if you don’t even respond to your customers? Seems like this is what the Ola Electric company is going through right now.
Lesson: take the job of customer care seriously or you’ll face public shaming on Twitter.
02 India Post Payments Bank
Another company that seems to have not understood the concept of customer care correctly is the India Post Payments Bank. Sometimes, it’s better not to have support workflows rather than have faulty ones…
Even though Xiaomi has many fans of their electronic devices, their customer care quality could use some improvement. Here you can see how important it is to have a knowledgeable staff that is qualified to give support.
04 Google Pay India
Lastly, another example of how not to do customer care, straight from Google Pay India. We’ll let you rate it yourself if that’s what customer care efforts should look like.
Best tool for online customer care
Alright, alright, alright… time for the cherry on top of today’s “customer care” cake.
So you know what online customer care is, how to be good at it, how to measure and so on and so forth…
But how to ACTUALLY start delivering top notch online customer care?
Our answer is: live chats!
At Smartsupp, we know how important excellent customer care is. This is why we decided to provide a rich in features solution to our users to help them achieve it.
Meet Smartsupp - your source for all things live chats, chatbots, video recordings and more.
Are you curious to learn more about our superpowers?
Discover Smartsupp with us:
💥live chat, chatbots and video recordings
Smartsupp offers a comprehensive set of tools for online communication, including live chat, chatbots, and video recordings. With live chat, you can communicate with customers in real-time. Chatbots help you automate routine tasks and provide 24/7 assistance to customers. Video recordings let you analyze customer behavior and spot improvement areas.
Smartsupp also offers robust analytics tools to help you track and analyze customer interactions. With detailed reports and data, you gain insights into customer behavior, identify trends, and make informed business decisions.
💥 budget-friendly pricing
One of the biggest advantages of our tool is its budget-friendly pricing. Unlike other chat software, Smartsupp offers a free plan that includes basic features such as live chat, chat history, and mobile support. For more advanced features like chatbots, video recordings, and analytics, you can choose from several affordable pricing plans, suitable for all types of businesses.
Smartsupp is a reliable chat software that provides uptime guarantees and 24/7 support. Our cloud-based infrastructure ensures that your chats and data are secure and always accessible.
💥 ease of use
Finally, our software is easy to use and set up, even for those with little to no technical expertise. The platform offers a user-friendly interface and intuitive tools that allow you to customize your chat widget, chatbots, and other features to match your brand and meet your business needs.
So do you think you’re ready to change your online customer care game forever? Try Smartsupp for free - and don’t forget to thank us later.
📚 Read also:
- Why and how to add live chat to website
- Secure live chat - meaning for your business
- Website chat best practices
Ladies and gentlemen, that’s a wrap.
We hope you liked this article. If you did - be sure to check out our similar releases!
You’re invited to come back to this article whenever you feel like refreshing your memory or skills connected to online customer care.
And last but not least, don’t forget our Smartsupp recommendation!
Thanks for your attention and good luck!
More materials: case studies, Smartsupp Academy, product updates, integrations, developer docs
Related topics: online customer care tools, customer experience tools, customer care vs customer service experience, digital customer care service software, customer service experience solutions, customer care program tools, customer care vs customer experience, good customer service traits, digital customer experience solutions, customer convenience solutions, tools for customer success, handling customer complaints tools