Olark Best Practices – part 1: Accessibility
This is the first in a series of blog posts focusing on Olark Best Practices in providing stunning and amazingly great customer service.
This week we focus on Accessibility and Routing support channels. e.g. how to make sure your visitors, customers and pre-customers alike are best served.
A Brief History of Time:
In the old school days of Internet customer support (long ago days of 2007 or so) the prevailing wisdom was to make cs as self-service as possible — provide a knowledge base, a good FAQ (ever really see a really complete one?) and a community forum to let folks help each other. A phone number was non-existent and many sites (especially larger enterprise level companies) hid an email form deep down under multiple clicks and circular loops of links if they even bothered to supply one in the first place. This labyrinthine approach made the customer service professional look good to the bean counters by saving beaucoup bucks and kept the customer service teams from having to spend all day doing things like you know, talking to customers and solving difficult problems. Invest a few bucks in some community software and a person to manage the community and update the knowledge base and you were providing good customer service. Right?
Well okay, except it doesn’t really work very well. People need guidance and help navigating knowledge bases and research shows that less than 10% of visitors to an online help community actually register and post questions. Email forms are only slightly better trusted and many people are surprised if they get an email back within 48 -72 hours. Time and patience is at a premium and shunting your customers off to fend for themselves is largely perceived as not actually caring about your customer. Result: the ones that can’t find the help they need go away. Or worse, in these modern times start tweeting about your terrible approach to customer service or filling your Facebook page with complaints and ugly remarks.
So What To Do?
It’s not rocket science. In the words of the hippie guru Baba Ram Dass: Be Here Now
That means making sure from your very first landing page all the way down to your TOS and pictures of the team page that it’s a top priority and easy task to find your customer service team. With Olark that of course means putting your Chat box on every page.
Highlight your chat by using the greeter function, the attention grabber or a click to chat image of your own making. Make the fact that you are providing instantaneous live chat help and info daylighted and easy to find. Your customers will thank you for it everyday.
Alternatives to Live chat
A short scroll up the page I used the phrase: “In the manner they are most comfortable.” This means being aware that although Olark Live Chat is the best thing since sliced bread, some folk prefer other means of communication. Honor that and provide it.
Some folks need a phone call — make your company help line EASY to find. And make sure you answer it and not allow it to go to voicemail.
Some folks want to send an email and don’t like the pressure of talking on the phone or chat. Make your link to an email query available without spending frustrating minutes experimenting with clicking around your site (is it in Contacts? About? Help? Nowhere!!)
Some folks love to ask question via Twitter or Facebook. Monitor your FB page and Twitter feed constantly and answer promptly. It’s extraordinary how much goodwill this will buy your company.
Some folks are the hard-bitten pioneer types and want to forge their own path through a knowledge base at their own pace. Build and maintain a rich content Knowledge base and FAQ and, repeat with me one more time: MAKE IT EASY TO FIND
In short, give the people whatever means of conveying their suggestions, feedback, questions, rants and problems they want.
To quote the single successful guy Brad Hamilton from Fast Times:
At Olark besides putting our chatbox on the bottom of every page we provide an all in one Help Center (accessible from the header of every page on the Olark Web site by clicking on HELP).
Part 2 in our Best Practices series – User Engagement