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Welcome to podcast #31! This is the next in our business automation series and we are excited to talk to you about how to automate customer service. In this podcast we’ll find out about help-desks, using live chat and voice-mail, polls and using forms to give customers info on your products and services.
First up we wanted to share a success with you. When we first started podcasting, admittedly we were a bit irregular with our posts. We are now posting up a new podcast every Friday (or Thursday, depending where you are in the world) and are finding that now we are regular, we are getting more and more downloads and interaction with our listeners. It just goes to show that with anything you are doing online, consistency is the key if you want to be successful.
We also want to share what we learnt during the last week. Andrew has dived into podcasting statistics and podcasting SEO, learning about how to get podcasts in front of more people. Keep an eye on our podcast rankings to see if what he puts in place works for SEO!
Heather has been busy with staffing issues and looking at hiring some new team members. She has found that using Basecamp (as discussed in a previous podcast) has been really helpful in terms of easily being able to remove previous staff from projects and to add new people in. With a good system in place they have all of the reference material they need already at their disposal and it is making it a much simpler process to train and integrate new staff. It’s a lesson to everyone that taking the time to put those systems in place at the beginning soon pays off!
So what tools do we love in terms of automating customer service? Well, one of the first things people always wonder about is the actual customer interaction which is, of course vitally important to your business! We love Zendesk as a helpdesk which is easy to use and will assist you to provide your customers with answers to the questions they have. This is a monthly subscription service with varying price levels depending upon which services you want. It is a ticketing system which sends an email to one of our team members to answer any questions that come through. This means we do not have to have 24/7 staff manning phones! We love the live chat feature that comes with Zendesk. It allows you to put a widget on your website which allows your visitors to click on it and live chat with one of your team. If there are no agents online, Zendesk will automatically turn the customers’ request into a help ticket.
Follow-up emails are also an important part of your customer service and marketing. You want to do this right to keep your customers as ‘warm’ leads and ensure you remain in contact with them. Mailchimp is one of our favourites; put your customers automatically into a list and remember to send ‘thank you’ emails for their business with you! You should also email them regularly with any updates to maintain that lead.
As for live chat tools without the whole helpdesk in place, there are some available for fairly low prices. Zopim is one of these that is cheap and easy to implement. You can choose which pages to have it on your website – we suggest it would be great on your sales page! We are using one now on this site called Speakpipe – you will see that on the bottom right of the screen. It allows people to leave voice messages for you and starts with a free option. No long distance calls necessary for site visitors!
Polls and surveys are a great way to keep in contact with what your customers and visitors are thinking and to get suggestions from them. Surveymonkey is a great tool you can use to help with this. It is an online survey program where you can ask virtually any question and in a variety of formats. Polldaddy is another similar site which you can use.
In terms of forms for customer service, Wufoo is another great tool. It will allow you to create forms for your website such as for registrations for events. Mortgage brokers have used it for people wanting to apply for a mortgage and you can use it just to allow people to join your mailing list. It starts at free for a basic package then you will need to pay a subscription for additional services. If you use a mail system such as Office Autopilot or one of the other bigger systems, you can use that to create your forms also.
We recommend that you take a look at your website from a customer perspective. Is it easy for customers to connect with you? What tools can you put in place to give them a special customer experience.