Businesses all around the country forfeit about $60 billion a year in profit because of poor customer service experiences.

If you’re not prioritizing customer service, you’re telling your customers that their time and their effort doesn’t have value to you. In order to improve customer experiences, you need to go out of your way to engage with them.

Rather than wait for them to come to you, you need to already be where they are.

If you’re interested in the ways technology could improve customer services, check out these 5 tips.

1. Chat Bots

When your customers and clients are visiting your site on night and weekends, it might seem like a ghost town. If you don’t have a physical storefront or office location, your website might be the only interface customers and clients have for interacting with you. If there’s no one to tend the shop, so to speak, it would seem like you don’t care about their visit.

Having a chatbot allows you to make sure that your customer feels acknowledged as soon as they arrive on your site. The chatbot will be able to field a few questions or general concerns.

Connect it to some kind of intermediary service and you’ll be able to juggle anything that your customers throw at you.

While they may seem corny and generic, if you’re navigating something like an academic or legal site, you might be confused about very basic questions. A chatbot is there as a safety net for your visitors.

2. Answering Services

When you’re not available to answer calls, you’re missing out on high-impact connections with your customers and clients. If someone goes through the effort of calling a business for the first time, they want to know that they can speak to a human being. Calling a business and leaving a message seems impersonal and leaves the caller wondering whether that call will ever be answered.

Forwarding your calls to an answering service offers customers the ability to talk to a living person and feel cared about. That person on the other end can answer basic FAQs, handle simple scheduling tasks, or even troubleshoot common issues. While most people will call you for one of these three things, even those who don’t will be relieved to speak to a person.

Answering services can retain the customer base you worked so hard to get while showing new customers you’re a caring and considerate company. If you want to know more about what these services can do, click here to discover more.

3. Social Media

Social media is the best way to improve your customer experience in this interconnected era.

When people have feedback for a company, they often don’t hesitate to let them know. They’re often vocal and affirmative, voicing their opinion loudly and in your face.

Social media offers the ability for customers to connect with businesses directly. If you respond to both your critics and supporters equally, customers new and old will see you as a respectable presence online. Social media can bring out the worst in people as well as the best.

If you’re launching a new product soon, social media is the way to talk about it. You can improve your customer experiences by showing off what your new product is about and what it can do.

You can take feedback before you launch something and tweak it before it hits the streets.

4. Live Video

Live video is a great way to make your customers feel connected to your brand. Whether you’re showing off your products and services in real time or just showing people around your office, live video connects your audience.

Live video is great if you’re giving a presentation, make a new product launch, or speaking at an event or conference. While most people don’t watch a live video as it happens, many people will watch it after the fact.

Live video has a lot to offer and is a new playing ground for creative people in the industry of customer service.

5. Augmented Reality

Augmented reality is the latest development in geolocation and interactivity. Ever since the popularity of Pokemon Go, everyone is waiting for the next big AR thing.

Augmented reality offers advertisers a way to target their audience down to a street corner. It also offers you the ability to offer a customer service experience that’s tightly targeted to the area your client is located in.

Augmented reality is still in its infancy but with so much excitement for seeing the world in a new way, AR is sure to be the next big thing in customer service. Another way to keep your customers happy is always having your products in stock with a good Inventory management software

6. Drone Delivery

The demands delivery from brands are getting more intense and more competitive. One of the things that’s becoming a bit of a war for limited space in customers’ hearts is whether or not you use drones. While drones have several negative connotations, they can also deliver goods quickly and efficiently without much overhead or use of resources.

Drone deliver allows you to send things on the same day, no matter the weather. You can zip through traffic and get across town in a matter of minutes when it might take you an hour.

Amazon has been testing out drone delivery for the last few years and several other retailers are starting to dabble. While it’s not an entirely new concept, the latest leaps in technology allow drones to handle relatively large weight loads.

Improve Customer Experiences by Being Sincere

One of the best ways to improve customer experiences at your company is to always be open, honest, and listening. While technology can go a long way in helping us to get things done quickly, we lose the human touch. It’s that sweet spot in the middle where we should strive to be.  

For more information on improving customer service with technology, check out these tech tips.

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The Most Hotly Contested Web Design Concepts of 2016

If there’s one topic that gets people fired up it’s web design. To succeed online, a smartly designed website is crucial. Something that brings in visitors and keeps them on your page, absorbing content.

Unfortunately, what constitutes a great site isn’t always agreed upon, and there’s constant debate of best practices, what’s hot, what’s not, and what is the cancer that is killing the industry. The argument still rages on, and recently it’s moved on to these commonly used web design elements:

The Carousel

“We’re not at the park, so why are we going around and around? Because people keep designing their sites with these blasted carousels” is just one of the commonly heard gripes about this supposedly interesting design choice.

Unfortunately, we have to keep clicking left or right to get another little morsel of information that the designers have deemed us worthy to handle. Are they afraid we can’t read full paragraphs? This one isn’t just a matter being annoyed personal preference, however, Carousel designs actually harm your websites performance.

They kill local SEO efforts by starving your site of actual content, the slow your site down with huge image files and JavaScript, and they are so confoundingly bad that nobody clicks through them all the way. The naysayers might have a point on this one, Carousels are way more trouble than they are worth.

Parallax Scrolling

You’ve seen this technique on graphics heavy sites in which the foreground and background scroll at different speeds. It creates a feeling of depth, helps tell a story through visuals, and looks pretty cool when properly implemented.

Unfortunately, it comes with some (resolvable) issues that may make it a waste of time. Like the Carousel, use of Parallax Scrolling is damaging to SEO. Since there’s usually just one page and a bunch of images, there’s no text content for search engines to crawl through and rank.

The abundance of images reduces performance (and completely kills performance on mobile devices). Most damaging of all though, is that the technique can just make it confusing to absorb any useful information, which will cut your number of repeat visitors down tremendously.

Think about it, would you stick around on a website where your only navigation option was to scroll downwards through hard-to read image/text combos? Of course, there are examples of Parallax Scrolling done right, so the argument is there that it’s all about how you choose to use it.

The Hamburger Menu

That three lined symbol in the corner on most websites that you click to access navigation options is commonly known as the hamburger menu.

While it does look cool, and you can see why one might be tempted to clean up their navigation by having it sleekly displayed in a drop-down menu, many say it kills a websites discoverability.

When your navigation options are out of sight, they are also out of mind, the thinking goes. There’s also the argument that it’s less efficient, since you’re forced to go to a separate menu just to see your options, but that’s more a matter of personal taste, it would seem.

We may never get definitive answers on whether these trends are good or bad, but it seems pretty clear that if you are going to try to incorporate any of these ideas into your design, you have to do it with care.

We’ve given you an overview of the tons of free web design options out there for building a pretty good site. When you have to move up to the big leagues though, it’d be prudent to hire some big league talent.

Professional web developers like Big Drop (out of New York), or Brown Box Branding (Dallas TX) offer great designs coupled with high level marketing strategies proven to keep the visitors coming back to your site for more.

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