7 top tips for after-hours customer support
If top-quality customer service is the engine that propels your business forward, then after-hour support is one of its more important gears!
The average business day ends around 5 o’clock, but this often ushers in the very time that many of your customers are free to start surfing online. This makes after-hours the most convenient time for them to contact your customer support.
Having customers in other time zones makes 24/7 customer service even more essential. Here are our top tips to ensure that your after-hour customer service is of the highest order:
1. Maintain a dynamic presence on social media
Social media doesn’t know about ‘office hours’ – it is ‘open’ day and night, 24/7! Numerous customers will access your business’s social media channels long before they contact you.
For this reason, how you project your brand on social media is vital. It’s very likely the first impression your potential customers will form of your business. So be sure to create a dynamic, welcoming, and interesting image for your brand.
Post regularly to build and enhance your image. Invite your customers to interact with you. Always respond to questions asked, and be sure to interact with issues and topics raised on social media.
2. Make an AI chatbot available
Using chatbots and artificial intelligence (AI) is a common and ever more popular way of supplying 24/7 after-hours customer support. They never have to take a bathroom break or have a nap!
- Provide rapid and to-the-point answers
- Schedule and book meetings
- Answer FAQs
- Connect customers to an agent
- Retrieve and supply resources
- Build up a database of interactions for self-learning
3. Outsource your after-hours support function to experienced specialists
Many businesses are not equipped to handle their own after-hours customer care support and live chat functions. However, there is an easy and obvious answer to this dilemma – outsource to a specialist!
They will advise you, and ensure that your after-hour customer support is of the highest standard. They have the staff, latest technology, expert knowledge, and experience to relieve you of this burden.
In addition, you’ll be able cater to your multilingual customers in all time zones. You may be pleasantly surprised at how reasonably priced outsourcing this vital function can be!
4. Use video to create personalised CX
Video is an excellent medium to engage with both current and potential customers. You can use it to answer frequently asked questions and launch promotions in an immediately engaging and visually arresting way.
Pass on information by using videos to introduce or explain products, procedures, and services, and to clarify issues. Use pre-recorded video tutorials as a great way of dealing with and minimising the frequency of FAQ calls.
5. Provide a mobile support function
The use of smartphones has risen steeply over recent years. It currently stands at a mind-boggling 5.28 billion users in the world today and rising!
Mobile devices are used for a wide range of activities including shopping online and accessing live chat functions. Providing excellent mobile support is therefore a vital part of good customer support. Many businesses are in fact adopting a ‘mobile first’ strategy and leverage mobile apps to keep up with their customers 24/7.
5. Give your customers self-service options
Self-service options are great for today’s busy customers who don’t have time for lengthy phone calls, dropping by your office, or setting up consultations. Self-service options can include:
- Customer logins
- Consultation forms on interactive webpages
- Online appointment scheduling and cancelling
- Access to informative and interesting blog posts
These self-service options give your potential or current customers the freedom to access information after-hours and when it is convenient for them to do so.
6. Provide a good self-service knowledge base
Providing a comprehensive knowledge base is a relatively inexpensive way of providing after-hours customer support. It costs significantly less to create, build, and maintain a knowledge base than to hire staff to provide that customer team support. Ideally, your self-service knowledge base should provide answers to all the most commonly asked customer questions.
8. Always follow up with customers
Even if you’ve implemented and used all of these tips meticulously, never fail to follow up! Make sure that a customer’s question has been answered and their problem or issue resolved. If a customer is dissatisfied, you need to know about it – so that you can set it right. Let your customers know that you are willing to go the extra mile to help them.
Nowadays, after-hours support is no longer a ‘nice-to-have’ facility – it is an absolute necessity if you want to:
- Meet the requirements of customers over different time zones and geographical boundaries.
- Live up to the expectations of today’s demanding digital customers.
- Build customer trust that no-one will be left ‘hanging’.
- Ensure customers that you’re there for them 24/7.
- Ensure customers that your support isn’t time and geography bound.
- Improve your resolution rate and decrease your churn rate.
- Gain a valuable edge over competitors that don’t offer after-hour support.