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4 Investments Brands Should Make to Upgrade Their Customer Service Forty-four percent of online consumers called live chat service when they're making online purchases one of a brand's most important website features.

By Firas Kittaneh Edited by Dan Bova

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

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According to the 2014 American Express Global Customer Service Barometer, 38 percent of consumers surveyed said they believed that companies, increasingly, were failing at providing exceptional customer service.

Related: 7 Tips to Knock Your Online Customer Support Out of the Park

This data indicated a significant gap that effective brands need to narrow if they expect to consistently engage their customers and build reliable brand loyalty. By utilizing new technology and innovative strategies that emphasize the prominence of the customer, organizations can position themselves as leaders in customer service and deliver the singular experiences that consumers will return for again and again.

Just how do you emphasize the prominence of the customer? Here are several strategies:

1. Make the most of your social media interactions, especially on Twitter.

Customer service requests are increasingly moving toward social media, and companies that want to excel in this new environment must invest the resources in their social strategy to drive value for customers throughout these interactions. Research from management consultancy McKinsey & Company found that between 2013 and 2015, the number of tweets mentioning brands more than doubled, and this trend shows no signs of slowing down.

Twitter, in particular, is taking steps to make it easier for brands to provide customer service through its platform. The company recently allowed any account to apply for verified status, which, once attained, means that followers can send direct messages containing service-related questions without the need for the company to follow back.

Twitter has also allowed brands to designate a particular handle with a "provides support" label, offering clarity for customers regarding where they should direct their concerns. This is especially helpful for companies with multiple Twitter accounts.

Related: 9 Things You Need to Know to Give Millennials Great Customer Service

2. Integrate customer service into your mobile app.

Consumers are constantly glued to their smartphones, creating an opportunity for brands to provide more direct customer service.

If a customer goes to the trouble of downloading your mobile app, you should reciprocate by using this outlet to provide customer service. Because so much customer information is contained within the code of the app, customer service reps can immediately see who is accessing your mobile help desk and be ready to provide any requested support.

Since mobile apps also incorporate push notifications, they're a great way to deliver users important updates such as ticket status changes and shipping information in real time.

3. Employ live chat to fully engage warm leads.

In an on-demand world, consumers expect fast and reliable answers. So, when they're visiting your website and reach a roadblock or a point of confusion with no easy way to engage you, they may quickly lose their desire to purchase.

Staffing a live chat service for just a few hours each day is a relatively low-cost strategy, given that it allows your brand to cultivate an emotional connection with customers.

A study by Forrester found that "44 percent of online consumers say that having questions answered by a live person while in the middle of an online purchase is one of the most important features a web site can offer."

Furthermore, research from eMarketer revealed that, "Fully 63 percent of respondents who chatted [with a live chat representative] said they were more likely to return to the site, and 62 percent reported being more likely to purchase from the site again."

4. Make customer service a pillar of your brand infrastructure.

New technological tools can be important assets for brands in the quest for optimal customer service, but they aren't an excuse to ignore the process of building a customer service culture into your organization, from the ground up.

Related: Why Stellar Customer Service Is Key to Building Your Online Brand

Your customer service initiative is an integral component of your brand; so, to control it, you must take steps to emphasize its prominence throughout the organization. This requires an investment in ongoing training, and a commitment from management to empower its employees to go above and beyond in providing customers with an exceptional experience.

Firas Kittaneh

Entrepreneur • CEO at Amerisleep • Sleep Evangelist

Firas Kittaneh is the CEO and co-founder of One Mall Group. At his company, he oversees a set of specialty ecommerce brands, including the offerings of Amerisleep, an eco-friendly luxury mattress company. 

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