5 Customer Service Channels Every Business Should Have

April 15, 2015 in Guest Posts, Product News & Reviews

As a business owner, it always amazes me the different channels through which people prefer to send me an inquiry.

You’d think everyone would just shoot for the contact page – nine times out of ten it’s in the navigation menu anyways.

And yet everyday I receive a customer inquiry from a channel I wasn’t expecting.

Customer service inquiries are opportunities. Somebody is having difficulty, is confused, or perhaps is just curious.

Regardless, it’s important that I get all of them and that the person doesn’t bounce before asking their question.

Here are the 5 channels we utilize at NinjaOutreach, our blogger outreach software.

Phone Support

Many businesses don’t offer phone support, because they aren’t large enough and don’t have the resources for someone to be sitting by the phone.

Additionally, many customers hate phone support because we associate it with long waiting times, run arounds, and just overall poor experience.

Call me old-fashioned, but I think there is still a place for phone support if it’s done correctly.

As a result, I put my personal cell phone number at the top of our website.

Call Our CEO

And believe it or not, people call, almost every week.

A lot of these people are looking for immediate gratification, or they have some very specific they are asking about.

For example, an agency might call and want some specific insight into a campaign they are running and how our tool can benefit them. It’s not the usual does you tool offer this feature question, and it would be a pain to type out.

Additionally, by saying that it’s the “CEO” they know who they are getting on the other line.

Lastly, for me it’s an opportunity to have a real, person to person interaction with someone and say “Yes, I am a human!

Live Chat Customer Widget

Halfway between phone support and an email is a live chat widget.

On the one hand, they still have to type out their response.

But on the other, they get immediate gratification and get to “speak” with a human on the other end.

It’s a nice balance between the two.

There are dozens of chat widgets that can integrate with your site. We use Zopim because it’s free and simple.

There are two features I like about Zopim.

The first is that it allows me to initiate conversations with people on my website. That’s really cool and there is nothing else I use that can do that.

Not only that but I get a lot of nifty information about them, such as the page they are on, how many time they’ve visited the website, and information about their device:

CRM

If it’s someone I’ve run into before, I might have a name and some notes. It’s a functional CRM in that regard.

The other thing I like is the ability for someone to send me offline messages, because let’s face it; I’m not on 24/7.

24-7

Contact Page

Of course, we have a contact page too – who doesn’t.

But we try to make it not so boring, as well as to collect a bit more information about the customer.

To do this we use the free wordpress plugin contact 7.

Most people just plug this in and forget it, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

But if you weren’t aware, you can customize the fields. Here’s what ours looks like:

Form 1

What’s awesome is I can ask about the plan that they are on, how they’re feeling, what department they need, or anything else.

As a result, my team will get messages in their inbox that look like this (I’ve hidden the personal details):

Form Reply

This way we can all see it and the first person who is able to can respond. We can prioritize the inquiries based on the level of stress the customer is dealing with and make sure we provide the best support to our premium clients.

Knowledge Base

If you’re selling any sort of tool that requires the user to do something remotely technical, you should have a Knowledge Base.

This should be the first line of defense for customer support, as a means to help lighten the load.

It doesn’t have to be fancy. Ours is simply a page that looks like the following and contains videos:

Knowledge Base

One thing I recommend is to include both video AND text, as some people prefer to read, whereas others are visual learners.

We include our knowledge base in the signature of just about every email that goes out, to make sure people have a place to go for the easy questions.

Twitter

Twitter is so much more than a social media channel on which you can promote your content.

It’s a very powerful tool for business. For example:

We use it as a form of lead generation, where we ask people if they are interested in trying out the software.

We also use it in our follow up series, where we ask signups if they have activated it yet.

And it looks like it is developing into a huge customer service tool as well.

studies have shown that 42% of consumers expect a response within one hour when they contact a brand on social media.

Dang!

Luckily, some companies, like Hubspot, have caught onto this.

They created a spinoff Twitter account @HubSpotSupport.

@HubSpot handles basic questions and inquiries, while @HubSpotSupport handles more specific support requests.

Hubspot Twitter

Conclusion

Customer shouldn’t have to jump through hoops to contact you.

You should be inviting them.

Remember that each person is active on their own channel and has their unique preferences.

Customers, like business owners, need help online – so let’s give it to them, shall we?

What Customer Service Channels Do You Use?

Web Hosting

David Schneider is the cofounder of NinjaOutreach an all in one Prospecting and Outreach tool which was created to streamline the process of connecting with influencers. He can also be found @ninjaoutreach and his business blog SelfMadeBusinessman


The Social Network

October 10, 2013 in Marketing Quotes

Understanding Social Networking

social network

“LinkedIn is for the people you know. Facebook is for the people you used to know. Twitter is for people you want to know”

Understanding the purpose of each social media website is very important. Companies don’t advertise on Twitter the same way that they would post a profile on LinkedIn, leading by other companies’ examples and the long-standing purpose for each social media advertising strategy is important to having success in online marketing.

LinkedIn

This popular interface is excellent for making business connections and for finding other companies that you may want to work with. The idea of the Linkedin social network is for businesses to very quickly connect and work with each other. You can have all of your business contacts, suppliers, major customers, advertisers and more at your fingertips utilizing this system and also find more potential companies that you could work hand-in-hand with to expand your brand.

Facebook

Facebook is truly the all in one social media account. Businesses can create their own individual pages to post content from YouTube, Flickr and a variety of other media sharing accounts. Sharing content from an individual business website is also made very easy using a Facebook share button. A great strategy for businesses is to reach out to existing customers and old customers with Facebook to engage them with new content. As preexisting customers share their favorite products from a business it can also work to generate new business across the Facebook network. Because sharing and connecting is so easy on Facebook it can generate a lot of organic sales.

Twitter

Twitter is a great platform for reaching out to new people. Because following trends on Twitter is so easy and searching out users can be done very quickly, it doesn’t take long for you to start coming into contact with people who you would like to connect with. By producing content that is directed toward your target market as well as connecting with new members of your target market across the network, you can generate some spectacular sales using Twitter. Although a character limit and small profile doesn’t seem like much work with, you can submit a lot of information in just a single tweet.

What are your thoughts on social networking? Do you have any other platforms you prefer? Please leave a comment below.

Understanding Social Networking


Are You a Pirate or a Sailor?

September 23, 2013 in Internet Marketing

“Why join the navy if you can be a pirate?” – Steve Jobs

internet marketing

When many entrepreneurs get a business idea they are very quick to bring more people on board or to sell that idea to start generating more revenue more quickly. This is not always the best practice, rushing towards a Corporation or incorporating yourself as a business could mean that you are missing out on money in the long run.

Many startup companies are having great success on small budgets with great ideas. If you feel as though you have got a product that people truly need, it should sell itself. With a variety of tools at your disposal such as: social media networks or sites like Kickstarter. And even small business loans, you can work to get your idea off the ground without having to rush to more people or to a larger company to produce your idea.

To Be A Successful Entrepreneur!

Some of the most successful entrepreneurs in history have stuck by their ideas and worked with them even after multiple offers to sell. While it is true some ideas can be more profitable to sell away then hold onto for a lifetime, it is important to really think about this decision before you go about expanding your company or asking for large corporate help.

Today with the Internet it’s very easy for a company to start selling products online and marketing their own products using social media. Even if you have zero startup money you can use the social media website such as Kickstarter or Indiegogo to raise money for excellent products without having to worry about paying back enormous interest costs. This makes working in today’s business world of very exciting opportunity for anyone with great ideas.

While many people believe that the trust form of business success resides in incorporation or in having a major advertising slot on television and worldwide brand recognition, many startups are doing just fine without all of this bloating help. The help can be extremely beneficial but having an idea and complete creative control over it is a great way to you can ensure your business remains yours and your money remains your own.

Curious about online marketing, feel free to contact us here. We are always happy to help!

“Why join the navy if you can be a pirate?” – Steve Jobs