An interesting observation was made in Jennifer LeClaire’s CIO Today article about customer service trends. The observation is that today’s “digitally native customer” (those who are comfortable and competent with technology) prefers a site that is self-service to working with an agent. I have to agree.
If I want an answer about a company’s service or product, I’d much rather go on the site and get the information immediately. Websites are open all the time and call centers are often frustrating. I actually consider the customer service representative to be my last resort.
How Can A Site Enable Competent Customers?
If your site is easy to navigate and has advanced search capabilities for communities and portals, then a digital native can find most of what they need. It will be accurate, easy to reference, and encourage return visits because it was a positive experience. What’s not to like about that?
If customer forums are a logical extension of your site, do them right. Make it easy to find what you are looking for and watch the traffic spike. You may need to moderate the discussions, but that is a small price to pay for such great SEO juice. Many times a customer discussion will hold the answer to the problem that brought a visitor to the forum and they stay to become a regular.
Advanced search capabilities should be part of every business site, because it enables competent customers to utilize your content. If your site isn’t up to speed, maybe it’s time to do an online health check-up and get things moving in the right direction.
The easier it is for visitors to find what they need by themselves, the more you will see them return.