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Guide to Real-Time Customer Service

Category: B2B News
What is real-time engagement??
Real-time engagement in customer service means engaging customers without delay. Typically it entails the use of a powerful customer service platform with live communication capabilities across the major channels. Best service providers are capable of real-time analytics to give you valuable insight into your customers.

When 54% of today’s shoppers prefer using social media instead of phone or email for customer support, the need for businesses to be quick on their feet on all major social platforms could not be stressed enough. Realistically, their only hope lies in investing in the most technologically advanced customer support tools or help desk systems available in the market now, not later. Fortunately, there are a number of applications like Zoho Desk that meet this criterion, and they come with price packages that are as pragmatic as they are scalable. No matter their capabilities, however, the success of your chosen solution still relies on your preparedness to deploy and implement the system.

In this article, we’ll walk you through the steps needed to get your business up to par on providing real-time customer service. Watch out for the sections that delve into topics like real-time analytics architecture, real-time customer feedback, real-time customer analytics and real-time customer intelligence, as they all comprise the critical foundations of enabling real-time customer support. Further along, we’ll also take on one of the more urgently asked questions about real-time customer service: what is real-time data analytics? As you will find out, these will all be discussed as we go along the guide.

real time customer service

Through a real-time, technology-driven customer service strategy, businesses can bridge all interactive platforms for an outstanding experience to improve the company’s marketing and customer service efficiency. At the heart of this strategy is a real-time analytics platform with its symphonic arrangement of servers, massive data storage systems, network components, multiple clusters and streaming hardware and the various applications to finally send all the information to the user dashboard. This is Big Data, and it is configured via a real-time analytics architecture to meet the increasing demands of software developers to provide all sorts of real-time analytics tools for their business customers at the other end.

Customer service data analytics and real-time analytics platforms are all the rage today as customer experience has become the key brand differentiator, overtaking price. Customers want expert agents at the other end of the line or they could do better with chatbots or knowledge bases instead. Boosting real-time customer experience has become the currency of cutting-edge customer support or help desk applications, allowing agents to come up with a meaningful, helpful real-time response.

What customers think about customer experience?

Customer Expectations are at an All Time High

67%

of customers say their standard for good customer experience is higher than ever

76%

of customers say they expect companies to undestant their needs and expectations

64%

find the customer experience is more important than price when purchasing

Source: iperceptions

Designed by

A cutting-edge customer support platform should have no trouble addressing such real-time analytics examples as customer sentiment analysis and anomaly detection. With those in hand, agents can adjust how they provide quality real-time customer engagement and cutting down a possible brewing dissatisfaction from any customer. With real-time access to customer information, agents can provide real-time incentives and promotions to those customers whose profiles justify them.

How to implement real-time customer service?

1. Implement a multi-channel setup

Customers can reach or contact vendors through details provided in their websites such as telephone, social media, email, chat, snail mail, etc. Not all customers communicate their issues or complaints through social media. It is actually more varied. On an ideal setup, one would visualize a productive and harmonized day for their agents. But in reality, it is more chaotic as an agent receives tickets from countless customers from various channels.

Zoho Desk presents a unified single dashboard for all social media interactions.

A company should never be self-regarding. According to Brandwatch, 96% of social media netizens that discuss brands in social media platforms do not follow a brand’s social media pages. Companies are required to go beyond their social territories to monitor undocumented discussion to gain useful and important insights.

Investing in any one of the leading help desk software that features multi-channel management lets you cast a wider net to capture customer queries or complaints at once and nip them in the bud before they escalate to PR crisis-proportions.

2. Go mobile

You can’t be at the office all the time but with today’s advanced help desk tools, you can stay abreast of customer-agent conversations wherever you are. You want a solution with a mobile app for iOS and Android to give you the flexibility to access customer data anytime and anywhere you’re internet-connected. With your help desk tool in your pocket, you get to keep track of the newsfeed, a standard feature in top help desk solutions.

Likewise, some apps come with real-time customer analytics like live traffic and customer satisfaction rating from a mobile device. The Radar mobile app built inside Zoho Desk is a good example. It lets you view urgent tickets, channel traffic and agent performance in real time. This helps you catch a difficult situation at once. You can step in for difficult issues to help the agent or have an expert or manager to provide assistance.

3. Utilize real-time data

Real-time data is not enough: it should be put in context. It allows decision-making based on recent data, not old or limited ones. A customer’s latest purchase history or complaints they issued are sufficient sources of valuable insights. But knowing a customer to the fullest extent is the most effective measure. This means being knowledgeable not only about complaint information but also tracking when and where it happened, how many times has the issue been encountered, and the channels they access.

Take note, however, collecting real-time data is just half the problem solved. You need to provide a real-time solution. It is reported that 75% and 78% of Facebook and Twitter users expect a response with an hour, respectively. An hour may seem short, but in the customer service industry, that’s a handful of wasted time. This prompts managers and CEOs to prioritize social media engagement and management to deliver quality and issue-responsive service.

Get help desk software that provides real-time customer analytics and real-time customer intelligence. There are a number of these now, hooked to server arrays using real-time analytics architecture. With such powerful service data analytics, you can easily provide real-time response and provide resolutions immediately. It should allow a creative and interactive customer experience across a multi-channel space.

4. Set rules on unique issues

With help desk apps based on real-time analytics platform, setting rules on how to address predefined issues is now a breeze. This handy feature allows you to resolve repetitive tickets or FAQs right off the bat. But what of unique cases? Even the most highly trained agent may falter in the face of something that she encounters for the first time. In this case, you or a designated expert has to step in and manage the ticket.

There’s a way for you to get notified of a unique case—going a notch higher, Zoho Desk’s Radar allows you to set predefined exceptions so you get notified of real-time anomalies, data that suggests your FAQ won’t suffice. The advantage of having such a tool is you avoid addressing unique issues with annoying inside-the-box answers.

On another note, unique cases are an opportunity for you to learn more about your customers’ needs. It highlights a gap in your product, perhaps, or a mismanaged expectation that your key messages fail to clarify. Capturing these critical issues in real time helps you improve, not just your customer service, but your product sooner than later.

5. Centralize customer database

Making customer service-related data available to the whole company allows representatives to have a full view of possible resolutions they could provide to customers, instantly. After all, daily customer interactions provide insights that will guide businesses to more productive daily operations and effective workflow.  The cornerstone of a good customer service strategy relies on how representatives address a customer’s concern or a team’s capability to meet expectations right on the spot.

With Zoho Help Desk, you can customize elements of your unified help center database.

Advanced customer support tools enable the collection of data or information that can promote real-time communication between representatives and managers. Customers do not enjoy having to repeat the information they already stated. So it is up to a well-coordinated team to transform data into wise business decisions.

Centralized customer database can also be the springboard to a knowledge base portal, which many of the current customer service vendors now support. If you are already invested in one that does not have it, going for a third-party knowledge base management software could be the key.

6. Provide self-help

Around 90% of consumers expect a self-service portal from a vendor. In some cases, a customer may not have the patience and availability to interact with a customer service representative and go through the process of being transferred to any number of agents for a simple query. Surely, most companies have received some or several complaints in the past and have categorized and summed these complaints to provide Frequently Asked Questions some knowledge base portal.

It is better to make full use of the FAQ section or knowledge base portal and transform it to be easily navigated and understood while still addressing all possible technical problems that a customer may encounter. It will be more effective to mix chatbots with a well-designed FAQ and social media responses. As it is, chatbots are no longer exclusive to AI platforms. They are gaining wide acceptance, and many customers already prefer chatbots over real agents.

What is the best tool for real-time customer service?

Zoho Radar is designed for real-time analytics and reports you can quickly act on.

If you have noticed, we kept mentioning Zoho Desk while covering all the essential steps that you need to accomplish in order to enable a real-time customer service for your customers. The reason for that is simple and straightforward:  it’s one of the best representatives of technology-aware customer and help desk applications that pretty much provides all the key points discussed in this article—and more.

With a powerful content-aware Zia AI engine calling the analytic shots, Zoho Desk offers you the capabilities of a true real-time customer support system to let you engage with customers like never before.  Zia is powerful enough on its own, but things really get interesting with the other capabilities opened by the enterprise-grade subscription, which lets you access a wider window of opportunity for your business.

The vendor has an appealing free trial where you can tinker with the features at no cost. You can sign up for Zoho Desk free trial here.

Zoho Desk

An award given to products our B2B experts find especially valuable for companies

Zoho Desk won our Expert's Choice Award for 2018

Our score
9.0
User satisfaction
100%

Part of that is due to a module designed for managers: Zoho Radar. The powerful module is all about real-time critical data about customers, from live traffic, ticket traffic to customer happiness ratings to give managers the decisive information and chance to address anomalies and souring customers instantly before they close the door on your brand. It lets you define the metrics that you want to keep a close eye on, as well as the deviation threshold that triggers a warning notification calling for your action.

By Nestor Gilbert

Senior writer for FinancesOnline. If he is not writing about the booming SaaS and B2B industry, with special focus on developments in CRM and business intelligence software spaces, he is editing manuscripts for aspiring and veteran authors. He has compiled years of experience editing book titles and writing for popular marketing and technical publications.

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