Why Customer Service will dominate online marketing?
By Peter Hanami
Digital online marketing is rapidly disrupting traditional businesses as it employs a range of highly sophisticated tools and technologies that allow a new two way interaction with customers. I believe that customer service will rise to dominate digital online marketing as it is the central hub of all the communication between a business and its customer. In essence, customer service is the key to a happy, satisfied and loyal customer. In this article I will outline five areas where customer service is critical for digital online businesses.
When customers navigate a website, customer service helps them to find the area, topic or section they want and this can be done through good user design which is focused on simplicity and usability. Any issues a customer has when navigating should be able to be easily solved by customer service in the form of live chat as search boxes and site maps are useful but now obsolete for the user in a hurry.
2. Product Information
While visitors browse through pages for a range of products or services online, it is customer service they turn to for assistance when they have a question, query or difficulty. This particularly happens when comparing, looking for product specifications, uses and suitability to a customers’ need. Customer service at this stage has the power and the ability to provide more information, sources or links and is vital, to guide, engage and support the online browser.
During the online buying process customers can have a myriad of conflicting ideas including price, delivery, availability, etc. All of these can help or hinder the process and can mean a full or empty shopping cart. Customer service at this stage can unpack these difficulties, one by one with questions, support and encouragement through the use of past customers who have also purchased. All this information can now be conveyed to potential customers quickly and simply during this key phase.
When a customer has an issue with a product or service, it is customer service they turn to for help and assistance. At this point customer service if managed well can quickly reassure, smooth and fix a range of problems that may develop. Customer service can calmly guide the customer through multiple friction points to gain true satisfaction.
5. Brand Status
A customers evaluation of a company after a transaction or encounter is highly influenced by the customer service experiences they have they received and they use this knowledge to rank the status of the brand in their own way using their own criteria. In digital online marketing this evaluation has a dramatic impact on future usage and referral.
As marketers we have to stand back, as what we are doing is brand new and has never been done before. The steps we are now taking by integrating multiple devices and technologies, buyer behavior knowledge gleaned from CRM systems are guiding us to and build a new way to engage, guide and support the customer. We now have to be 150% focused on the customer service experience we provide from website navigation to product information, purchase processes, dealing with problems and the resulting impact it has on our brands status. It is an exciting period with vast opportunities, are you ready for the ride?
Peter Hanami is a Digital Marketer and author of “Motorcycle Touring Japan”
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