Most customers can control their daily lives in the palms of their hands. Smartphones and tablets have created a new, customer-centric way to solve problems. We are no longer required to pick up the phone and speak with a customer service representative when we have an issue we need resolved. We’ve progressed (or regressed, depending on your view) to the point where we can order food, clothes and a ride to the airport without speaking directly to another human.
Online customer service is valuable for all businesses, even those in the service profession like funeral homes. While it may seem unlikely that someone will send you a message on Facebook during an at-need situation, there are several other ways that customers can utilize your online presence, including education and prearrangements. Here are five ways you can create a positive online customer service experience.
1. Provide opportunities for self-service.
Do you provide any of your prearrangement forms online? Some funeral homes have started to include fillable forms on their website for customers interested in their preneed services. The information, which generally includes questions that help to write an obituary, is sent to the funeral home’s preneed contact. The contact will then get in touch with the family and set up an appointment to finish making the arrangements. An online form offers a convenient way to connect with people who are interested in your firm’s preneed services.
2. Create content that answers common questions.
Do you often get asked the same questions by prospective client families? If so, this could be great material to begin creating content for your website. Whether it’s with a Frequently Asked Questions page or a monthly blog, providing basic information to customers can help them answer their own questions without having to call or email you. If they feel you are educating them from the start, they may be more likely to utilize your services.
3. Provide an online chat option.
You’ve probably noticed that many websites are now offering customers the ability to chat with a live representative. This tactic is a great way to answer any immediate questions your customers might have about service details and other specific items. If a chat option is something that you are interested in, remember that you will need a real, live person to manage the chat line 24/7. For many funeral homes, this option may not be practical due to capacity. Customers will expect a timely response back to their inquiry with this feature.
4. Be open to meeting your customers where they are.
There are several different ways that you can communicate with preneed leads, so it’s important to be open to connecting with them where they feel most comfortable. Traditionally, the preferred contact method has been a phone call. In the future, it’s possible that leads would rather be contacted via text, Messenger or even email. As you engage with potential leads, remember to ask them what their preferred method of communication is to make sure they are as comfortable as possible.
5. React to comments (good and bad) on social media.
Everyone knows that it’s easier to air your grievances when you can hide behind a screen. Whether you’re getting positive feedback or complaints on social media, it’s important to respond to everyone. From a simple “thank you” to a request to have the commenter send you a private message, taking action will prove that your funeral home truly cares about the people they have served.
Your customer service extends far beyond your funeral home’s walls and onto your website and social media profiles. Do you have an online customer service presence? Let us know how you manage it in the comments.