Chances are the first human contact that consumers have with your company is with your customer support team. In today’s competitive environment it’s becoming increasingly important to offer a high level of service to keep customers coming back. If you’re not putting much effort into providing excellent customer support, your business could be suffering.

Industry experts provide these tips on how you can improve your customer’s experience:

  1. Offer 24/7 support. Customers want help when they run into an issue. Whenever possible, offering 24/7 support gives customers the most access to the help they need.
  2. Offer self-support options. When available, many customers will first turn to self-help options including customer forums and FAQs. These allow customers to try to solve the problem on their own, leaving customer support to deal with more complex or rare issues.
  3. Have a live-chat option. A live-chat option on your website allows customers an easy and convenient option to reach out for assistance, speeding up response times.
  4. Use text. Text-enabled customer support is especially important to today’s tech-savvy customers.
  5. Utilize social media. When customers reach out to you on Facebook or Twitter, you can show your commitment to their needs by responding promptly.
  6. Allow for multi-channel help. A support request that begins on Twitter may need to move to email, chat, or a phone call. A ticketing system that allows for seamless transition will help improve customer support.
  7. Reduce hold times. The sooner a customer speaks with a live person, the more satisfied they are likely to be. Have a person answer and direct calls if possible. Offer a callback option and estimated wait times for those on hold.
  8. Have enough staff. Identify your peak times and be sure to have enough staff on hand during these hours.
  9. Listen to your customers. Validate all complaints, and take ownership of the problem. Speak clearly and directly about the solutions. Be sure to keep track of complaints so you can make changes if a problem arises frequently.
  10. Hire good representatives. Your customer support team is the voice of your company. You want to trust their discretion so you can allow them the freedom to solve each problem to your customer’s satisfaction. A good support representative will not only solve the problem, but leave the customer feeling valued.

Good customer support is essential to your business’s reputation. With the limited resources most SMBs have, customer support is not always a high priority, but by investing into your customer support system, you can secure a loyal and satisfied customer base.