Online customer experience can have major impacts on customer loyalty.

Online customer experience can have major impacts on customer loyalty.

Customers are flocking to online channels for support and product help.

In fact, 60% of customers now turn to the web first, before they ever contact support via the phone. Once on a company’s site, 63% of online customers say they would return to a website if the site offers live chat. In other words, customers are realizing the amazing efficiency that live chat offers, and they’re rewarding companies that offer easy, online customer support with agents readily available through live chat.

If you’re looking to improve the online customer experience, by offering live chat, here are some tried-and-true tips.

Improve the online customer experience: Proactively seek customer opinions

Here’s a scary statistic for those of us in customer service: A typical company only hears from 4% of dissatisfied customers. Considering that 91% of unhappy customers will not willingly do business with a company again, you can see how crucial it is to understand your customers’ opinions about your service and brand.

Surveys are prolific – but surveys don’t tell you the whole story. Customers, if they even fill out a survey, may rush through the answers, or not give you the full story. Furthermore, surveys are limited in the information you can glean from customers.

In lieu of relying on surveys, to really understand how your customers interpret the experience of interacting with your brand, conduct qualitative research with your customers. With qualitative research, an experienced researcher will take your customers through strategic questions that will give you far deeper insights than surveys alone. You’ll learn where customers are getting frustrated, what aspects they like about your online customer service, and learn how they navigate your channels.

Improve the online customer experience: Make “Amazing Service!” your brand

Customers pay attention to how they’re treated, and, in fact, people are more concerned about great service than they are about a great product. Fifty-nine percent of customers will try a new brand if they think it will offer a better service experience. Does your brand convey that you offer amazing service? (And you MUST deliver if you’re going to brand it.) People gravitate toward service-awesome brands. Look at Zappos. Nordstrom. Rackspace. Customer service drives their brand. Advertise and brand your online customer experience – customers will notice.

Improve the online customer experience: Train your online customer service agents

Once customers are on your site seeking support, when your “Live Chat” pops up, are your agents ready and able to answer customer questions? Surveys show that customers say agents fail to answer questions 50% of the time. Yikes. How your agents answer questions, help guide customers, and listen to customers’ concerns – through live chat – is a huge part of the takeaway that customers have from your online customer experience.

You can’t afford not to perfect the online customer experience

Customers today are picky, and they have so many choices when it comes to finding companies that go above-and-beyond with their online support. How does your online process work? Do you have a robust live chat program? Are your agents well-trained? Do you conduct frequent qualitative research with your customers to understand theircustomer journey? Spend time and resources investing in the online customer experience – your customers will reward you with returned business and their loyalty.