Hospitality is about being subtle and thoughtful. Great customer service is hard to find, but so valuable, that we’ve created a voluntary system to pay those that display it. This is why employees have always been so important to a business. However, the world is changing and some customers only engage with companies online. This means that the customer service they receive must be preemptive.
Preemptive customer service is the idea of giving customers what they need and want before they know it. In-person this can be hard, but manageable because you can see and engage with the person, even ask questions if needed. This makes it easier to help customers with the resources they need, but this is not an option for an online user. An online user is random and self-driven. His actions are completely his own and there is no employee available to help guide him through his thinking process in order to reach a sale.
Online customers require an even greater level of understanding than an in-person customer. It’s best to start by acknowledging that online customer service should prioritize convenience and efficiency. This is the reason for the website and the reason they thought to use it. With this premise, a company should make sure that everything is engineered to meet these expectations on every aspect of your website.
Consider using software that creates online tools you can use on your website to aid users with navigation. These are called help authoring tools. Such software also allows companies to provide customers with an array of instruction manuals, how-to guides, and troubleshooting checklists. A business utilizing MadCap technical documentation tools for providing customers with the resources they need is being preemptive with online customer service.
The best way to use these tools or any online tool is in conjunction with the right data.
Collecting data from users is the best way to begin to identify user patterns. These patterns can be used to increase the efficiency of your website. The data should include a recording of all user engagements with the website in question. Once enough information is collected to begin recognizing patterns, a restructuring of the website to accommodate these patterns will provide a higher level of preemptive service.
For example, if the user entered the website and spent more than a few seconds on the main page, and engaged in what appears to be an aimless up and down scroll, you can learn that the user had trouble finding something. If you’re lucky the user eventually found what they were searching for and clicked it. Once you know what that user was initially looking for, you can redesign the webpage structure to make whatever the user was looking for is now visible as soon as you come to the website.
Thinking like this is the epitome of preemptive customer service and this mindset should be applied to everything. This same approach should be applied when redesigning FAQs, instructional manuals, or any other online assistance. They should always remain adaptable and grow with the user by consistently updating to recognized patterns. Users should never have to spend more than two clicks before they find what they want.
Every business must learn from their mistakes and read into the data and analytics of their business website in order to learn the patterns of their users and then to develop a site that accommodates the users and creates a seamless experience for them.