In the age of on-demand everything, customers expect fast responses and ease when contacting a company. That’s why, for magazine publishers who depend heavily on their loyal customer base, providing good customer service as part of an overall positive customer experience is as important as ever. In fact, 62% of consumers have stopped doing business with a brand due to poor customer service.
It’s necessary to be available for questions and quickly follow up in order to maintain clients, build new relationships and avoid the negative impact of poor customer reviews and word of mouth. Luckily, there are various digital tools and channels that can help augment the customer service offerings you already have.
What follows are some recommendations and best practices for digital tools and channels that can streamline communications with customers and make the customer experience that much better:
Your website is an easy place to start when it comes to customer service. Be sure to read our post about making the most out of your publication’s website.
It may sound overly simple, but make your contact information easy to find. If someone wants to know more about your magazine and they start with your website, don’t make it difficult for them to get in touch with questions. Provide an email address or contact form and phone number in a prominent place like a dedicated contact page or in the footer, or both.
If you don’t have a website yet, Wix is rated as one of the easiest and fullest-featured website builders available and includes a free site option. WordPress is another favorite and also has a free site option.
Email is an essential business tool and digital channel favored for customer service needs. Tried and true, it’s no surprise why people prefer this option when communicating with businesses. It’s convenient—customers can send and receive emails without the disruption of a phone call no matter what time of day it is. Even more importantly, it’s trusted. When done right, you can not only provide good customer service, but also use it as lead generation. It’s also free and well-suited to businesses with small staffs who may not always be available to answer calls.
Though the channel lends itself to being less formal, keep a professional, though conversational tone. It’s also important to:
- Keep it short, clear and to the point. Lead with important information and make it easy for the customer to understand what they need to do, if action is required.
- Respond quickly. This is an expectation that most people have. If there are windows in the day where you know there will be a long delay, consider an auto-reply letting people know when you expect to be in touch.
- Be solutions oriented. From general inquiries to special requests to complaints, having a solutions-first mindset will go a long way in making people feel valued and heard.
- Follow up. If you’ve solved a problem or answered a question about advertising, send a follow up email to see if you can be of any additional help.
If you’re working to establish your brand and engage your audience with social media, as we’ve covered in our previous articles about monetizing Instagram and utilizing Pinterest, make sure you keep up with any messages you may receive.
People often send private messages or leave comments on posts as a way to interact with businesses, and may become frustrated if their messages go unanswered.
Be sure to check in on social channels at least twice a day to respond to messages and comments. Or, if you’d like to streamline keeping tabs on all of your social channels, you can utilize a social listening tool like Hootsuite, which allows you to manage multiple social channels from one place.
All-in-One Customer Service Tools
If you’re receiving enough inquiries and emails that you’re considering using a customer service support tool, like software, be sure to first do your research to find one that works well with how your business is structured and the resources that you have. It will take time to integrate it into your website, move data and train employees on how to use it, not to mention the cost.
Still, it can be a game-changer in streamlining customer service interactions and many can be customized for small and medium businesses to only include the most helpful features, like automated responses to routine questions and letting customers contact you on a channel of their choice.
While not all of the digital tools and channels will work for every regional publisher, it’s always good to be in the know of the best practices for long-favored channels like email as well as any new and emerging tools that help to manage interactions for you.
The end goal is to increase brand affinity and loyalty. Providing positive customer experiences is a sure-fire way to accomplish both.