When consumers think about customer service, odds are the first things that comes to mind are long phone queues, difficult conversations, and stretched resolution times. While all of that is in the hands of the company to improve, it’s not what we, on the inside, should be thinking about first. Zero level customer support comes into play before all of the one-on-one interaction, when a customer is just starting to consider how a problem or concern could be resolved. Companies should be able to support the customer before they have even been contacted, so they have to be thinking ahead of game. What does a customer do when he or she is first discovering an issue or concern? Well, they Google it.
The online world is the zero level zero of customer service. Here are the top three ways to help a customer from the zero level.
#1: Forums. Building a forum can be a slow process at first, but its success will result in a lot of happy, well-taken-care-of customers, who will be able to meet and interact with peers who share their same problem or have dealt with it in the past. Forums also have a broad range of positive benefits aside from resolving your customer’s concern, like improving the community around your product, creating an inclusive, engaging atmosphere for your customers to participate in, and increasing loyalty levels and repeat buyers. As a side bar to the customer’s experience, your company will also get to enjoy a rich, honest source of customer feedback, which can help you to pinpoint how and where your product needs to grow.
#2: Knowledge bases. Providing your customers with a detailed, vast, searchable knowledge base can deflect a lot of those customer concerns that have a common occurrence rate or simple solutions. Allowing customers to resolve their own concern with just a few keywords entered in can save a lot of hassle and stress from both the customer and your team, and it always leaves the customer with more information and truth about your product than when they started out. It can produce a sense of freedom and control, as well, which has a very rewarding effect on the type of DIY customer base that is up and coming with the Millennial generation.
#3: Downloads and manuals. Like knowledge bases, customer support downloads and manuals help customers to help themselves if that’s the sort of thing they want. Downloads and manuals generally provide a much more detailed account of the product, services, and troubleshooting options than the knowledge base or online forums might. This type of support will often make use of chats, pictures, graphs, and a good many other kinds of visual support that can help learners of any variety take command of the product in their hands.