Customer service can be a chore that eats up precious resources, but companies are devising new ways to reach out to clients with troubles. Using their websites and social media accounts, enterprise support for customers has reached a new level. Companies can be proactive and track down negative feedback to douse fires before they start. Customer service has undergone some interesting changes that have opened up new lines of communication. The savvy businesses are using these methods to provide support to customers.

Here’s how it works…

Chat Support

Chat support has gained more popularity with companies as a method of allowing the workforce to do more with less. Workers can be taking phone calls and navigating chat sessions at the same time. Workers on chat only can focus on multiple clients at the same time. Chat support is easy for customers to connect to, and it allows for greater efficiency with written instructions a customer can follow in detail.

Forum Support

Forums are less about your direct involvement and more about management. You will need some representatives on the forum to answer questions in the beginning, but forums really shine when your power users become subscribers and contributors. Some companies create a position for this work that manages the community, but you can moderate responses on the forum and collect valuable feedback at the same time.

Remote Desktop

Tech support can be difficult because it involves instructions given over a phone. Some programs allow users to create a remote desktop session, in which a representative walks the customer through the process. These sessions are especially helpful for tech related questions, such as dealing with software or diagnosing a problem. This method helps expedite the problem, as the representative knows the trouble spots to check first, but it also provides a faster resolution.

Email Support

Email support gives representatives the chance to gather information on an error and create a more complete response. When used correctly, the customer provides a description of his error and some information on how to recreate the problem. Ideally, the representative studies the process and tests the results on his/her end before responding. It helps the user if your support site has fields where the customer can select broad keywords related to his issue. This helps your support staff figure out the problem without relying on unreliable user input.

Twitter Support

Support for the Microsoft Xbox is offered via the social network Twitter, and you can build off of that example. Twitter’s conversation system allows Microsoft to carry on different conversations with customers while posting relevant news items to followers. The result is that followers don’t see a crowded stream of support requests, only items that Microsoft posts directly from the account.

Community Management

Community management applies to more than just monitoring your forums. This role typically reviews responses that take place outside of your website, as well as the dialogue that occurs between customers and staff. This person also reports on where the conversation is happening and works on establishing new points of contact. Community managers also identify potential influencers, and seek to connect with those people online.

Email Alerts

Email alerts are part of any good community moderator’s arsenal, but they help executives short on resources too. Use Google Alerts to ping the search engine for queries related to keywords you designate. Follow your brand, and support related questions. You can also stay hip to reviews that may be published in niche publications with some email alerts designed to field that feedback. Reach out to the bloggers who talk about you and discuss opportunities for cross promotion.