Cover Story Extra - More Best Practices
Many options exist for providing visual support. You could put user manuals on your site, or offer streaming video to demonstrate how a product should be assembled.
4. Add more links.
The need for customer service tends to occur once the visitor is several pages deeper into your site—not when he or she first starts browsing.
To make sure visitors can find your customer service information at any point during their user session, be sure to place prominent customer service links in a variety of locations throughout the site.
You might even consider using a customer service link that is consistent in placement and graphic treatment to establish a constant reminder that help is just a click away at all times.
5. Don't trap customers.
While you want to make it as easy as possible for customers to use your Web customer service offerings before calling or sending an e-mail, you also want them to be able to seek personal attention if they're getting frustrated. Be sure to provide options to contact a customer service representative (CSR)—by phone, e-mail or real-time chat.
6. Show customers how to find the answers to their questions.
If you provide an e-mail form for customers to fill out and send to ask questions, consider using an e-mail management system that scans the e-mail message for keywords and then identifies relevant content on your Web site. Customers are immediately directed to the section of the site that contains the answer to their question.
Not only will this process weed out e-mails that don't need personal attention, but it also will show customers that there is information already provided on the site that can be helpful to them.
7. Use reports and feedback.
Analyzing the activity on your site can give you pointers on how to improve your level of service. Keyword reports, for example, can zero in on the search terms customers use most often, says Gianforte. If customers use search terms that don't match up with how you have your knowledge base structured, you are missing out on opportunities to better serve content to visitors. Either reorganize your content, or add more terms to your knowledge items.