It’s really difficult to deliver such a positive customer experience that it sticks with your customer. When was the last time you thought to yourself, “Wow, using this brand’s website was awesome”? On the flip side, negative experiences seem to stay with the customer forever.

Brands therefore have the responsibility to engage with customers and ensure a positive experience throughout the course of the user journey. A critical piece to this is making sure that your customer service is optimized, as 78 percent of consumers churn after a bad customer service experience. Here are some strategies your brand can employ to be proactive in their customer service experience and mitigate churn.

Provide In-channel Customer Support

Friction points occur when customers have to jump through hoop after hoop to get the basic answers they need to continue using your product or service. In order to create a seamless experience, wherever your customers are interacting with your brand, customer support should be readily available right within the channel. For example, if you have a mobile app, customers should be able to reach your knowledge base and submit a ticket without having to leave the app. This also allows for more control over the entire experience, as opposed to email where you need to rely on their email client. Crafting this frictionless experience takes a concerted effort, but it pays off – in fact, companies who invest in their customer experience see upwards of five times the return.

Stay Ahead of Today’s Consumer Expectations

Unfortunately, customer service is still mired in processes from the age of disco. People wait on hold for what seems like hours and hours, and they are transferred multiple times – and each time, they have to explain their situation over and over again. But customers no longer live in the era when this was acceptable; they are accustomed to lightning fast answers from Google. And customers expect the same caliber of service that they receive in every other digital interaction they have today. If they can order their food online in less than a minute, why do they have to wait on the phone for twenty minutes to get customer service assistance? Not only do customers not want to wait around – they won’t. They’ll just take their business elsewhere. Leveraging messaging and chatbots (more on that later) are ways to make a great experience possible at scale and get questions answered faster.

Be Transparent

It takes what seems like forever to build trust with a customer, and just one bad interaction to lose it. Forward-thinking companies need to build trust with their customers by being open, transparent and authentic, and being proactive about providing support when something goes awry. Brands can leverage tools like in-app messaging to reach out to customers that may be experiencing an issue, or communicate to them in a timely fashion that their issue is being addressed.

Use Automations and Chatbots – Wisely

When done correctly, automating aspects of your customer service leads to higher customer satisfaction and overall engagement. With artificial intelligence and chatbots, you can create workflows to efficiently route tickets, reduce resolution time, and deliver an overall better user experience. However, these technologies should only be used when it provides a better user experience and a quicker resolution than what an agent could deliver, such as automating routine interactions (think: reset password, return an order).

Escalation Channel

Another important note: when you do offer chatbots, make sure that there is an escalation channel readily available in case the issue cannot be resolved through that automated workflow. On the user side, the experience should appear like a seamless transfer between the chatbot to an agent. Chatbots are great when used strategically to triage customers and suggest relevant FAQs, but part of providing a frictionless experience is by supplementing the power of AI with a human touch to resolve more complex issues.

While acquiring customers is difficult, keeping them can be even harder. However, the above techniques can serve as a starter guide to modernizing your customer journey experience. What other techniques have you found to be helpful? Feel free to share your insights in the comments below.

About the author:

Diana Arteaga is a True Ventures Marketing Fellow at Helpshift, a Conversational Customer Service Platform Powered by AI. In addition to her interest in creating optimized service experiences, she’s fueled by her passion for expanding opportunities in the technology and study abroad spaces for under resourced students. When she’s not binge reading human-centered design articles on Medium, she’s also not tweeting (but you can still connect with her @_dianart)