It’s National Customer Service Week in the UK.

From Monday 7th to Friday 11th October 2013 the Institute of Customer Service will be focusing on companies in the UK that deliver outstanding service and highlighting awareness of techniques such as handling complaints, leadership and skills, planning for the future, and more.

And it still amazes me to see so many brands put customer service behind optimisation tactics, PPC, and other forms of web promotion when starting out.

Get your message right on your site from day one and use it to complement your service, and your brand is set for the foreseeable future.

The highly-damaging (to a number of people) release of Penguin 2.1 on Friday afternoon is testament to that view.

So how do you make your site a customer service success story?

Optimising your site’s service centres

SEO being used as a quick-fix to any site’s traffic issues is completely astounding and ill-advised.

Search Engine Optimisation is a long-term, ethical procedure employed not only to boost the visibility of your site but refine it to complement the overall brand message and turn casual visitors into loyal customers.

 

Be available for people to chat to as soon as they visit the site.

 

Google’s algorithm updates this year have been huge. Game-changing. And, when we look back at 2013 in the future, online marketers will pinpoint it as the time when brands matured and learned how to sell themselves online properly.

How? By translating the core offline service as much as possible online to create a seamless transition. Luckily, there are more than enough tools (and experts!) online to make your investment worthwhile.

01: Always be on hand with a chat program

Your brand and a representative can always be on hand through contact forms, social media, and other channels of communication.

But why not go one step further and be available for people to chat to as soon as they visit the site?

Tools such as JivoSite (which we use ourselves), Envolve, Olark and more allow visitors to chat to the people that run your site in real time and get answers to any questions about your services that may be burning away at the back of their brains.

Some tools can also integrate to existing chat software such as Skype, AIM and others meaning chat systems can potentially be used by anyone in the company at any time.

As some supermarkets sometimes have shopping helpers to help people navigate their way around the store, an easy-to-use chat program can get you in front of visitors to help as soon as they visit your site.

02: Write a concise FAQ

The recent Google Hummingbird update underlined exactly how far users’ search habits have evolved over the years. People are asking more questions than ever before and want more concise, intelligent answers.

You should be looking to answer any questions relevant to you and your brand with a creative content marketing strategy that reaches out to your target audience.

But a clearly-written FAQ page can go a long way to helping people make sense of the core aspects of your business that visit your site for the first time.

Opening hours, delivery fees, refund policies and more. Putting key information in an easily accessible place is a tactic that’s often criminally undervalued and incredibly effective in equal measure.

 

The recent Google Hummingbird update underlined exactly how far users’ search habits have evolved over the years.

03: Be sure to push the local angle

Where would any of us be without our loyal local customers? So many businesses and communities grow from small acorns.

Keeping the loyal and the local updated and putting them at the front of your collective conscious is always essential no matter what.

The best way to do that is with a local campaign involving Google+, Google Places, Facebook pages, and other identifiers that let customers contact your head office or front desk.

No matter how big you get the customer always comes first. Make sure the location of your business is easy to find on major search and social channels by listing its physical address, email contact details, telephone numbers, and more.

04: Easy ways to pay

I’ve touched before on how important an effective responsive design is for your site and for how customers navigate it.

A good user experience is essential to success, especially as the age of mobile surfing and searching continues to evolve.

And what can be more frustrating than finding a product you want to buy when you’re stuck on a train only to be presented with a huge online form to fill out?

 

A good user experience is essential to success.

 

Create user profiles for shoppers that save their details and information, always highlighting that yours is a secure, reliable service to purchase with to build trust with consumers.

Otherwise partnering with other reliable payment services such as PayPal can also take the burden from people’s purchases. If someone can buy a product or service from your site with a few clicks, then they’re more likely to return and purchase with you in the future.

05: An easy way to leave reviews

Kia’s on the money with its latest campaign, saying they’re letting their customers do the talking for them.

It’s positive word of mouth boosted complemented by the fantastic Reevoo service that allows people to leave social commentary and reviews easily.

There’s no point in leaving and reading reviews on a system that isn’t trustworthy however, so make sure to do your research on services and plug ins if you’re thinking of implementing one on your site.

Reevoo is also the choice of Orange, Sony, Kuoni, Beko, and a number of prominent international brands so it’s safe to say that it’s a service worth using.

The benefits are immense. People can leave positive feedback on your landing pages detailing the depths you and your team went to to accommodate them when they visited your site. As the reviews add up your reputation will grow and be shared amongst social communities.

Business page reviews on Google+ are also showing up in search results meaning the review structure doesn’t have to be restricted to your site alone.

When it comes to customer service putting the right foundations in place on your site means that you can let other people do the talking about your brand while you concentrate on converting that traffic.

 

Want to find out more about how to make your site communicate with your visitors? Contact Webpresence today to find out more!

 

(Google Hummingbird image credit: tvnz.co.nz)