Do you find your business getting hung up on specific aspects of the customer service process, looking for ways to improve and streamline? You can’t cut corners when it comes to customer service–but you can put together a toolbox of resources that make your customer service processes more efficient. This checklist covers Inbound AV’s top 5 must-haves for developing a great customer service framework, which not only makes service easier for businesses, but works to improve customer satisfaction.
- Website live chat - Whether your business focuses on e-commerce, B2B deals, or something else, a website live chat is an absolute must in this day and age. Live chats can include chat bots that help answer basic questions for customers in need, but they can also go the extra mile to connect customers with real representatives when necessary.
If your team doesn’t have the capacity for a dedicated live chat representative, that’s okay. There are other tools we'll cover which help to provide timely customer support in different ways. But maintaining some sort of easily-accessible chat on your website, even if it’s just a chatbox for simpler questions, will make customers feel seen, instead of obscuring your business’s contact information.
Some of our favorite live chat tools:
- Live Chat from HubSpot (free) - one of many customer-focused features from HubSpot.
- Live Chat in Active Campaign - pay for chat representative seats and communicate with customers directly through your email contact base.
- Tidio for WordPress (free options) - a WordPress plugin with highly adaptable live chat features.
- WPBot for WordPress (free options) - One of the most popular chatbots on the market, WPBot is a WordPress plugin that uses AI to assist customers.
- Automated ticketing system - An automated ticketing system can help keep track of customers’ needs, making sure that nothing slips through the cracks. When a customer service interaction comes up, creating a ‘ticket’ acknowledges the interaction and what support work needs to be done on the business’s end.
There are a ton of platforms out there with automated ticketing systems that track the progress of tickets, creating workflows and sending reminders to team members to stay on top of tickets. This might also include prioritization functions, integration with email and chat inboxes, and integration with the rest of your CRM software.
Some of our favorite platforms with automated ticketing systems:
- HubSpot Service Hub - a comprehensive service platform nestled within HubSpot’s CRM.
- Zendesk - a service and support-based platform with a focus on scalable business models.
- HelpDesk - a through-and-through ticketing software that integrates with email, chat, and more.
- Email marketing platforms - A robust email marketing platform can serve more purposes than sending out marketing campaigns. Many of the top email marketing platforms today allow you to track and nurture individual contacts to ensure that customers are receiving the engagement and support they need. Some email marketing platforms also make it easier to address customer needs when they arise, by integrating with live chat functions, ticketing automation, and more.
Many emailing platforms also offer functions like 1:1 automated emails, which allow you to send out personalized emails to specific contacts, and contact tagging to keep tabs on customer profiles. When utilized to the full extent, a good email marketing platform will make it easier for your business to provide that important “personal touch” in customer service, without straining your team’s bandwidth.
Some of our favorite email marketing platforms:
- HubSpot Marketing Hub (free options) - HubSpot’s marketing products with retargeting, automation, integrations with other HubSpot products, and more.
- Active Campaign - a full-featured marketing automation platform with dozens of integrations and contact tracking functions.
- Shared team inboxes -Some of the top customer service ‘fails’ occur when multiple members of a customer service team aren’t on the same page. Unifying communications through a shared team inbox cuts down on the potential error of forgetting to forward a message, replying to the wrong person, or losing track of an important customer conversation. Shared inboxes also help to build up a full customer history of each customer your team interacts with, so if you need to hand a ticket off to another team member, they have all the information they need to continue helping the customer.
Some of our favorite applications for shared team inboxes:
- HubSpot’s ‘Shared Inbox’ (free options) - connects all members of a HubSpot account to one universal inbox.
- Google Groups (free) - accessible, popular, and free, Groups by Google is a must have for any business using Google Suites.
- Hiver (free options) - if Google Groups doesn’t cut it, Google add-ons like Hiver might be the right fit for you. Hiver focuses on helping teams collaborate.
- Strong internal management system - If your business struggles with internal organization, there’s no way you will be able to provide top service to customers. Since providing great customer service starts on the team level, using the right project management system for your company will ensure better organization, efficiency, and all-around ability to show up for your customers. Platforms that organize your business goals, projects, and tasks will help keep your team on top of things, so that customer service can remain a priority.
Some of our favorite project management tools:
- HubSpot Projects (free options) - HubSpot weaves project management and productivity features into all of its projects, making it easy to track and manage prgress.
- ClickUp - a project management platform with a focus on productivity and project tracking.
- Asana - ‘all-in-one’ project management platform.
- Zoho - features multiple style views, including sprints, kanbans, lists, and more.
- Trello (free options) - a kanban style approach to managing tasks and projects.
Noticing a Trend?
You might have noticed that we listed HubSpot as a provider under every tool category. As a certified platinum partner, we’re big fans of the HubSpot CRM platform, and we’re certain it has some pretty comprehensive customer support features. Like us, HubSpot bases itself on inbound marketing philosophies and provides comprehensive services designed to attract, engage, and nurture customers.
Whether you’re looking for customer service tools specifically, shopping around for a CRM platform, or interested in the marketing features offered by HubSpot, we’d love to talk to you.