Customer service has undergone a significant paradigm shift in the last few years. What was once perceived as a ‘money sink’ is now embraced as a revenue-generating engine. Through automation technologies, businesses are empowered to deliver personalization at scale.

Not only can you track and manage customer service requests – you craft feedback loops and highly customized user experiences. You can even transform help desk requests into strategic upselling opportunities.

The possibilities are truly limitless – which is why innovative companies like payroll management platform ZenPayroll have positioned customer service as a research & development operation.

Customer service has the potential to be a powerful conversion driver. These three techniques will help your team build a revenue-generating marketing engine:

1. Content-Meets-Education

This tip has been played and replayed. It’s overplayed. If you’re reading this blog post, you’re probably rolling your eyes. Of course, you should create content. It’s a no-brainer that audiences enjoy compelling, engaging, and entertaining material.

What’s equally important to keep in mind is that content will do more than ‘educate’ audiences. In addition to building your brand, you’re also educating your audiences.

As Rishi Dave, CMO at Dun and Bradstreet and former executive director of global marketing at Dell points out, today’s consumer is entirely self-directed and research driven. By the time they reach out to your sales team, they’re likely ready to make a purchase.

Consumers rely on content to navigate their buying journeys -- whether they’re looking to buy a new product or upgrade an existing one. It’s crucial for your brand to be present as part of this process. If you’re not there -- with a voice -- you’ll miss out on crucial conversion opportunities.

2. Live Chat (that Actually Works)

When consumers have quick questions, they won’t want to dig through content -- nor will they want to wait on the phone to talk to ‘the next available service rep.’

Live chat is your best option -- it’s an easy way for prospects and customers to get their questions answered.

The problem with live chat software, however, is in the execution. Companies try to take shortcuts by offshoring customer service -- by providing low-quality service. There’s a misconception about ‘chat’ -- that customers have lower standards when communicating through a web-based window. Not to mention, offshoring is cheaper.

Here’s the thing.

Customers know when your brand is cutting corners -- when live chat reps are unable to answer simple questions. It’s incredibly frustrating and creates a highly negative brand experience -- with no human voice to calm an escalating, negative experience frustrated emotions will percolate.

For a model live chat experience, check out women’s e-boutique ModCloth. The ModCloth team has invested in building a top-notch service team of care representatives. These team members are service oriented and are trained to dig deep into resolving needs and pain points. They think on their feet and are downright awesome.

Their secret ingredient is, in fact, not so secret at all. It’s empathy -- a genuine understanding of what customers (and prospects) want, value, and need for a positive shopping experience.

3. Personalization

Even with the convenience of online shopping, brick-and-mortar businesses are still thriving. Why?

Customers still value in-person interactions and experiences. This dynamic will never, ever change. No computer screen will ever be a substitute for an in-person conversation.

It’s true -- it’s impossible to replicate the allure of a brick and mortar storefront, but you can build marketing programs that respond to your audience’s specific pain points and needs.

Target your audience with a personalized message -- based on past engagement activity -- or provide a focused response to a specific pain point with a targeted e-book, or offer.

By responding to specific interests, you’ll ramp up conversion rates, decrease churn, and provide a highly compelling value proposition.

Final Thoughts: Always Test and Iterate

Conversion optimization is a process of constant, continuous learning. Just by getting started, you’ll amplify your learnings about your customers and prospects. You’ll hit roadblocks, but it’s mission-critical to ‘stick with it.’ Test, measure, iterate, repeat -- that’s the marketer’s mantra.