We’re living in the era of the connected consumer — and digital enthusiasts will become more and more connected in the coming years through ongoing innovation. But due to this unprecedented level of connectivity, today’s consumers expect a smarter, faster and more personalized customer service experience to satisfy their every whim.

And the proof is in the pudding. Case in point: According to a survey by Forrester Research, 77 percent of U.S. adults say valuing their time is the most critical thing a brand can do in order to provide strong customer service. From social media to cloud contact centers, here’s how the modern entrepreneur can keep pace with today’s connected consumer in real time.

1. Social Media

Time is money — quite literally. In order to meet the ever-growing demands of today’s connected consumers, 75 percent say they expect to receive an answer to an inquiry within one hour via social media. While it’s not always easy or feasible to keep tabs on each of your social platforms, Facebook is making it easier to keep in touch with social-media-savvy consumers.

Looking for a convenient way to connect with your customers? Facebook Messenger, which has more than 1 billion users worldwide, allows anyone to connect instantly with a business or individual. But beyond simply exchanging messages with your customers, Facebook Messenger features a wealth of useful tools that can provide an enjoyable overall brand experience.

For example, the instant messaging platform allows you to:

  • Set a welcome greeting: Want to show your customers that they’re always top of mind? Start by setting up a customized greeting to appear when someone begins a conversation with your page for the first time.
  • Turn on instant replies: This useful feature allows you to send an automated reply to anyone who messages your page. And because you can’t be on your laptop, tablet or smartphone every waking minute, this feature can be useful to greet customers and thank them before you respond in a more personal fashion. Plus, it also shows that you care.
  • Use an away message: Customers don’t enjoy waiting, but they despise being ignored. With that in mind, turn on an away message when you’re not near your computer or smartphone in order to let customers know you’ll respond soon. Setting this expectation can do wonders in providing a top-notch brand experience.
2. Cloud Contact Center

Many companies understand the importance of being available day and night for their customers. And while it might seem impossible to be available 24/7, it’s vital in providing real-time service. Brands can make a lasting impression with their customers by providing live support across a variety of channels, including phone, email, social media and more.

In fact, with cloud contact center solutions and a team of remote agents, business owners can rest assured knowing no customer question or concern goes unnoticed. Reliable and flexible cloud-based solutions, including those sold by Aspect, can handle a mix of inbound and outbound customer service interactions.

3. Self-Service

Due to the growing popularity of knowledge bases, online communities and FAQ pages, customers can uncover information within minutes and, more importantly, forego the need to contact your company directly. In a recent consumer survey, Nuance Enterprises found that 75 percent of tech-savvy respondents said self-service is a convenient way to uncover answers to some of their more burning questions.

So, what exactly does self-service look like? Beyond providing FAQ resources and listing company information, you’ll want to ramp up your SEO game. In fact, today’s connected consumers want the ability to locate company contact information, reviews and testimonials via a quick Google search, which can be achieved by optimizing your website.

Indeed, developing a set of carefully-curated search results will undoubtedly help your customers find the answers to their questions. Additionally, brands should monitor the keywords that customers type into their website’s search box and update content on specific pages, where appropriate, in order to improve the overall customer experience.