Unsurprisingly, 96% of customers state that customer service is critical when comparing businesses. Companies must actively pursue advancements and innovations in their customer service strategy to gain and maintain a competitive edge. An effectively implemented SEO strategy can enhance your approach, reducing customer service costs and raising customer satisfaction.
Learn why SEO is critical to customer service efficacy and efficiency.
What is Great Customer Service?
First, let’s define customer service. Excellent customer service is more than simply the interaction you make with a client before and after a purchase. It’s the entire experience a client has with your business. Below we explore the top three factors contributing to exceptional customer service.
In a retail market where shoppers expect –– and demand –– instant gratification, excellent customer service includes quick and proactive information disbursement.
Customers want answers instantly. Whether during business hours or late at night on the weekend, the ease and speed with which a customer finds the answer to their questions inform their experience with your brand.
Personalizing a customer’s experience with your company creates an opportunity for the customer to feel unique and known. They contact you or search your site to find answers to their problem. Customers feel you respond directly to their needs through personalized content and service.
Consumers want the basics: respect, empathy, and honesty. This is especially true in customer service interactions. Foundational customer service values go far in a digital retail space where many shoppers feel like nothing more than a number. Show them you care, and they’ll stick with your business long-term.
Biggest Customer Service Challenges
Although excellent customer service produces value and revenue for businesses, it has costly and time-consuming challenges.
We know good customer service practices improve customer satisfaction, but implementing a successful customer service strategy is easier said than done. Here, we look at some of the most significant customer service challenges.
Unmet Customer Expectations
Understanding customer expectations is the foundation of exemplary customer service. Each customer has unique needs. Your team must understand your customer’s expectations for your brand. Without adequately understanding or meeting these expectations, your business will be left in the wake of a dynamic competitor.
The Wrong Tools and Channels
Your customer comes to you with their problem, not only looking for you to be present and available to help but also the right place – whether by phone, email, live chat, social media, or self-service. Customers want and need to reach you. You’re responsible for facilitating easy, accessible customer service connections.
Your business will suffer if your customer service channels are inconvenient, insufficient, or inactive.
Low Employee Retention
Hiring and training new team members is a significant challenge within the customer service industry. Customer service has one of the highest attrition rates of any industry.
Retention in customer service is difficult. Teams are constantly onboarding and developing employees’ product and brand knowledge and service skills to meet business standards. New hires require significant time and financial investment to ready them for customer care. But with impossibly high turnover rates, these investments are short-lived.
What Contributes to High Customer Service Costs
The costliest factor of customer service is your customer service team. Apart from typical employee costs (salary, benefits, etc.), you must invest time and financial resources in training and education. As we explored above, customer service positions are notoriously high turnover, which means companies waste resources training employees that leave before they can contribute to profits.
Traditional customer service requires team members to handle every customer interaction. A live person addresses even the most minor requests. This adds up quickly.
Live service interactions consume significant financial resources. According to Harvard Business Review, the average cost of live customer interaction (phone, chat, or e-mail) costs more than $13 for B2B companies. Over time, live interactions can cost businesses thousands of dollars –– or more.
Customer service models where service reps handle every need or interaction contribute to needlessly high customer service costs, making it pertinent to understand why and how SEO can reduce customer service spending.
Why SEO Works to Reduce Customer Service Costs
An effective SEO strategy engages customers looking for your product or services, drawing them to the page that best meets their search and needs. When a customer enters a query and clicks on a result that leads them to your web page, your SEO strategy has done its job.
But how does this relate to customer service? When executed effectively, SEO leads customers to your site’s self-service page. The customer inputs a query related to their customer service problem, and you deliver SEO-optimized content that meets their needs and guides them to a page where they can troubleshoot their problem.
SEO bridges the gap between the customer’s search and your self-service page.
Self-service is essential for customer service strategy, especially in an online market. Harvard Business Review notes that 81 percent of customers try to solve their problems before asking for help. And with the average self-service interaction costing just one percent of live channel interaction, businesses would be foolish not to provide self-service options.
SEO generates traffic to your self-service page. This decreases the time a customer spends utilizing chat, phone, or e-mail customer service help, allowing you to reduce customer service representative costs.
How to Lower Customer Service Costs with SEO
Now that we have identified how SEO relates to excellent customer service, how can you reduce your business’s customer service costs with SEO?
Create a Dedicated Section on Your Website for Specific Customer Questions
Your business can implement SEO and lower customer service costs by creating a dedicated section on your website for specific customer questions. Proactively answering common customer service questions saves everyone time and stress.
Troubleshooting guides within FAQs provide steps customers can take to solve their inquiries.
Use Customer Service Call Logs to Create Content
Research common issues and typical customer journeys through your call logs. There you’ll find specific complaints and common flows of thought. Analyzing call logs helps you understand your customers –– and their issues –– better, especially if you see repetitive themes and complaints. Take that data and create self-service content geared toward solving these problems.
Use Customer Service Contact Forms to Create Content
Contact forms are valuable for SEO-optimized self-service content. These forms support your lead routing process and provide customer data that informs SEO content creation.
Understanding customer need is as simple as asking on a contact form. Provide space for individuals to state their problems. Hearing customer issues first-hand and in their own words helps you create searchable, helpful content that includes the keywords and phrases your client base uses.
Align Messaging Across the Organization
Optimized content relies heavily on keyword research and implementation. You can deliver cohesive messaging across your organization by using SEO research to pinpoint the queries customers search for. Implement the same phrasing and content themes company-wide, and you will unify your brand identity while providing helpful solutions your customers need.
Manage Legacy FAQ Content to Ensure Accuracy
As your brand, business, and products evolve, you want to ensure your self-service content does too. Conduct regular audits of legacy FAQ content to ensure it’s accurate, updated, and relevant.
Over time, your customer base will likely change the words or phrasing they use to describe or search for a problem. Update your existing content to match current customer phrasing and keyword use.
Managing legacy FAQ content ensures all self-service content –– even older content –– is visible and accessible to your customers, promoting a higher customer satisfaction rating and reducing service costs.
Reduce Customer Service Spending with SEO
You want your customers to receive the help they need, and you want them to be happy with their experience with your business. SEO can help you achieve both of those goals. In reducing costs and delivering helpful content directly to the customer, SEO is the missing key in your customer service strategy.
Contact our team today to begin an SEO strategy that reduces customer service costs, increases satisfaction scores, and earns valuable traffic to your site.