Customer Service Web Pages–Make them Usable, Findable

Your customers ARE your business. They can refer you to others, brag about your service, or they can try to destroy you on social media with one bad experience.

How can your customers contact you on to renew their subscriptions, change their address, cancel, or ask a question? Phone call, online chat, or website customer center? Whatever tools you have, how do you promote them to your customers? A recent look at many controlled brand websites showed me 1–how difficult I can be for readers to even find customer service sections and 2– how outdated these web pages can be.

Can your customers find your subscription center?  Many home pages do not have a clearly marked link to a subscriber center. Can your reader click on a “subscribe” link? Or the “Contact us” or “subscription center” link in tiny print in the home site footer”? Your links—do they work?

site selection

Here is one home page I liked, where the subscription center is clearly identified

Once your customer reaches your customer service center, how easy is it for them to update their record?

 Most of the brands I work with offer print and/or digital editions. But, many of the web pages I saw only give the opportunity to look up subscriber information if someone has a print label with their subscriber account number.

BAM sub page

Here are a few samples of forms I like that include look up options by either account number OR email address.Facilities exec cs

Space News

 What happens after a subscriber requests a change?  Your customer should receive a notification of the change. This can be a pop-up message or email that confirms the contact information change was made, even if it is a deletion.

 Why is updating your subscription center important? I work in the audience development sector and spend a lot of time looking at websites. If I can’t find your link, a reader who may be looking for the page get frustrated and leave your site. And this person might possibly be a valuable, engaged customer who then decides not to come back. Ever.

It makes financial and business sense to keep your customers who move, change jobs, names, titles or even just change their email address. As it gets harder to acquire new customers and click through rates continue to drop, keeping current customers engaged definitely can help control your budgets. And keep your current customers engaged with your brand.

The journey continues.

Cindy Cardinal

The Customer Service Conundrum

Let’s face it—many departments do NOT want to manage customer service. I see the Customer Service Shuffle take place in media companies often, especially when people change roles.   In a company where 1 or 2 people are tasked with handling customer service, there are debates about where it should be managed—marketing, editorial, general intern, front desk, audience development.

There are some truly talented front line customer service representatives (CSRs). They thrive on helping people, resolving problems all day. But for people who do this work as just part of their job, the tasks of reviewing and forwarding these emails and calls can remain unanswered for days, while that person does other “more important” work.

And what a mistake this can be. If there is a general customer service inbox (phone or email), these requests can be urgent. For a media company, it can be a simple address change or missing issues, or it can be someone who wants to purchase a large number of back issues, have an editorial question, wants to place advertising or host a webinar, alerts you to a technical problem with a website or specific email effort.

As our attention spans become fragmented and we demand immediate response, what does it say when it takes a week or more to respond to a simple request? Simple: we don’t care about our customers. They will get their information next time from another site, another vendor. Not responding to customer service inquiries can lose a company customers.

CSR’s are often the face-of-the-company to new and regular customers seeking advice. CSR’s should be good listeners, problem solvers, multi-taskers, well-spoken and have decent writing skills. When they respond to e-mails, an instant viral message can be one filled with misspellings or incorrect information.

CSR work is also a great way for people new to a company to better understand the products that a company offers, learn where contact deficiencies might be on a website, interact with people in other departments.

Think about the Customer Service Representative role in a different light in your organization. They solve your customer problems all day long.

The Journey continues.