Customer behavior has changed dramatically in the last 20 years. Fewer people purchase products based solely on TV commercials, and more consumers are starting a shopping experience when their friends recommend a product. Also, product research does not end at the border of one’s entourage; it continues with people the clients don’t even know.
A full 88% of consumers consult online reviews regularly and assess product quality based on them. Thus, no matter how rigorous your company’s marketing efforts are, customers will opt for an honest and authentic experience.
So as the customer experience evolves, executives are under increasing pressure to ensure that their company provides customers a satisfying experience. The following five easy steps will help them do just that.
1. Invest in quality CRM software
Too often, customer care agents take calls and chats without knowing much about the person they are talking to. Without an image and a background of the client, customer service agents must improvise dialogue and handle the situation in relative darkness.
However, good customer relationship management (CRM) software can bring insight to your customer care and sales reps. Most powerful contact management programs are cloud-based platforms that store customer information and optimize sales and customer care processes.
The right CRM software will offer customer care agents an intuitive platform from which they can manage their interactions with clients. Before starting any dialogue, they will have a complex picture of the client that includes important details gathered from the client’s social media profile and past chats with service reps.
This will enable agents to better understand client concerns and even what kind of tone to adopt before starting conversations. Effective CRM platforms show that the future of automation is here and that the tech can help small businesses succeed.
2. Connect the customer care team with social media
Customer care shouldn’t begin and end with phone calls, e-mail, and web chats. A quality customer experience should also extend to social media platforms.
It is easier for people to interact with a company through social media, as it provides a more personal digital environment in which interaction is nourished and encouraged. People use social media to talk about their personal experiences with the world, including their contact with companies. They want to share their opinions, and executives should not only encourage sharing of quality experiences but also deal with the bad reviews that affect the company in real time.
This is why it is important to have a PR specialist managing customer service on social media. The wrong reply can end up negatively affecting the entire company. PR specialists understand the importance of being proactive and know how to manage negative feedback and its repercussions The worst thing a customer service team can do is to ignore bad reviews and reply only to satisfied clients.
3. Measure customer satisfaction
Even after you’ve established a strong CRM and expanded customer service to social media, it’s essential to always understand where your company stands in terms of customer satisfaction. The best way to do this is to ask your clients directly what they think about your products or services.
Many online tools help you create intuitive and professional surveys that address different groups of customers. Some top tools include SurveyMonkey.com, TypeForm.com, Google Forms, and Clienthearbeat (which is a paid service). These survey tools guide users to create logical surveys (for example, if the answer to a question is “No,” related questions will not appear) and export the data gathered.
However, a single quality survey tool is not enough. Annual surveys will help your organization measure more complex customer satisfaction. Consistency will help you track client satisfaction, which will help ensure that your company is heading in the right direction.
Questionnaires can assess overall client satisfaction or focus on a certain element of a product or service—for example, their opinion about a payment system or a new website design. The company should focus on improving any weaknesses expressed through negative feedback in surveys.
Kohls department store did a great job with a recent customer satisfaction survey. Using content marketing to guide participants step by step through the survey process, the company also offered customers a chance to win prizes and rewards, which can be powerful incentives.
4. Use the IoT
An ideal company promotes a culture based on self-improvement and cooperation. Teams are not secluded islands; each one needs the expertise of others to do an outstanding job. For example, the marketing team needs the help of the creative team for visual content. The same goes for the customer care team, which depends on many teams throughout the company to operate efficiently.
Most consumers these days do extensive research before adopting new products or services. Even skeptics can become loyal customers and strong brand advocates once a company gains their trust. To earn these customers, your company must answer all their inquiries, address their doubts, and fill any knowledge gaps. This is where other teams enter the customer care process. For example, if your company’s service is cloud-based, the expertise of the IT team is needed to build customer trust.
To strengthen the link between teams, organize daily meetings in which a representative of each department can update all attendees on current projects and issues.
One of the most effective approaches is to hold a daily scrum meeting, which happens at the same time and place every day and lasts no longer than 15 minutes. Everybody presents a brief of their activities, and the tight timeframe keeps the briefing targeted and informative. This helps all employees understand how they can help improve the client experience.
Investing in the Internet of Things also helps to keep every aspect of the business interconnected. IoT devices can reinforce the efficiency of CRM software: In-store employees, for example, can be wired through their devices and able to access customer information in seconds. Time spent finding products for customers can be reduced from days to seconds.
5. Over-deliver customer satisfaction with automation
Staying within borders and limits has always been a challenge for businesses. The surprise effect has a powerful impact on the customer experience: higher retention rates.
The golden rule of over-delivering is to exceed what you promised. That means making additions to enhance the interaction. For example, clients expect to receive things like cables, headphones, or even fancy wrapping when they purchase a particular product. However, a letter thanking your customer for their purchase will further enhance the experience.
Ensuring the same quality care for all customers requires automation. Customers interact with your brand on a daily basis, in thousands of different ways. From signing up for newsletters to taking part in contests, all customer contributions are valuable and should always be acknowledged. This is where automated emails and follow-ups come in. Personalized automated emails can reach out to everybod easily and efficiently.
The key is to deliver generously. If the product is lost or damaged during shipment, send the customer a newer, updated version. When organizing giveaways or contests with prizes, reward all participants, not just the winners, with thoughtful surprises that are connected to your brand.
Adopt these five strategies into your daily company’s daily routine, and your relationships with clients will feel more authentic and personal.
For more strategies that boost customer satisfaction, see IoT For Better Customer Engagement.
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