Customers once accepted that if they wanted customer support from a company, they would have to wait until regular business hours. As long as those companies satisfied their business customers, they could often leave an outgoing message on their toll-free numbers that directed callers to call back Monday through Friday between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.
As the business world’s hours have expanded, so has the demand for after-hours customer support. To remain competitive, businesses of all sizes must be able to be there for their customers, whether they need help at night, on a weekend, or on one of the biggest holidays of the year. This is especially true of B2B providers who must meet the ever-growing demands of businesses.
Fortunately, there are tools that can help. Without even coming into the office, businesses can be on call for their customers, offering the support they need, the way they need it. Here are a few tools that help small businesses offer customer support around the clock.
If you’ve ever been on a website, only to see an offer for help pop up, you’ve likely experienced live chat-based customer support. There are many tools that provide live chat plugins for your website, but My LiveChat is free. Just insert a few lines of HTML code on your website and you’ll be able to offer visitors the opportunity to ask for assistance when they need it. When customers click the button, your team will be alerted that someone wants to chat, allowing them to provide help using a mobile device or PC from wherever they are, as long as they have Internet access.
When customers need help, they no longer pick up the phone and call a 1-800 number. They post a tweet, send an email, or head straight to a business’s website to live chat. Desk.com specializes in helping businesses provide services customers want, tracking social media mentions and connecting email accounts to a business’s ticketing systems. One company detailed how the solution helped it increase customer satisfaction ratings with 24/7 support.
The days of desk phones are over, as businesses increasingly see the need to allow their workers to be mobile. For small businesses, a solution like Grasshopper is a great alternative to more expensive phone systems. Simply create a phone number or keep an existing one, set up a custom greeting, and add departments and employees. Each extension can forward a caller to any phone number anywhere in the world and the caller never knows they aren’t interacting with employees in an office complex. This means employees can be on call after hours from the comfort of their own homes.
For the many businesses that sell on marketplaces like eBay and Amazon, direct communication with customers can be challenging. XSellco is specifically designed to meet those challenges, helping manage and organize incoming customer service requests to make sure sellers meet required response times. With many of these third-party services requiring responses within a certain number of hours, failure to respond in a timely manner can be crucial to a business’s future growth. One of the biggest benefits for businesses selling on multiple sites is that they can use XSellco’s dashboard to manage all of those tickets in one place.
If your customers need support outside of standard business hours, you can improve satisfaction rates by finding ways to provide it. For small businesses, however, affordability can be a challenge. These tools will help you better connect with your customers, improving loyalty and boosting your reputation as a company that cares about the people who buy your products.