So here’s the deal: simply being able to speak to a customer care representative does not define superior customer service today. Recent research has even found that over half said they would prefer to quickly solve their issue using an automated system rather than wait to speak to someone on the phone. What’s the key to wowing customers with your contact center? Here are five things your customers want.

1. Accessibility
Your contact center must be, you know, reachable. Display a number, an email address, a contact form, and social media buttons on your contact us page so that customers have multiple options. Also, place your social media and link to contact us in your website footer. Customers love having access to live customer service 24/7/365.

2. Live Chat
Live chat support is standard for many ecommerce companies, and many customers expect it. But why use it? It’s ideal for handling minor immediate concerns that don’t need heavy firefighting (i.e., one-off questions that are probably already answered on your site). It is handy during the shopping experience to provide recommendations and upsells.

3. FAQs
A knowledge base/FAQ section on your site is an excellent tool for your customers and your contact center. It doesn’t matter how quick your response time is or how many agents you have – customers should not have to contact customer care to find out whether you accept credit cards or ship internationally. But if they do, your contact center should be completely familiar with your FAQs and readily provide that information.

4. Empathy
Something has gone wrong, and a customer is dissatisfied, which is why they’ve called or emailed in the first place. Acknowledge their anger/disappointment, thank them for sharing their feedback, and most importantly – apologize! Even when it’s not your company’s fault! Having a script is a good start, but it pays to have contact center agents who can keep the conversation a little less businesslike and tap into their emotional skills. This helps build trust and rapport and works with angry and passive customers.

5. Taking Ownership
How often have you called an 800 number, only to be placed on hold and ping-ponged from one agent to the next, each claiming that the next transfer will take you to the correct department? Infuriating, right? This will anger your customers and damage your operations’ reputation because it gives the impression that nobody wants to help (or knows what they’re talking about). Prevent passing the buck by empowering agents to solve simple problems without escalation. Whether offering a standard ‘angry customer discount’ or placing a re-order to them at no charge, you can use plenty of on-the-fly options.