Ever wonder why big chains – from quick-service restaurants to electronic products – print invitations on sales receipts to entice customers to go the companies’ Web sites to comment online?
They’re doing it for enhanced customer engagement. Businesses need insights on how they’re faring with customers.
What’s weird, though, is that they’re only engaging paying customers, not the prospects who didn’t make purchases.
The reasons for failing to buy could be varied – perhaps the customer felt ignored when walking in the door or thought the salesperson was unprofessional. Or perhaps the customer had sticker shock.
Many of those people are undesirable if they’re among the 18 percent of customers who will only buy at the cheapest price. They aren’t ever likely to become a repeat customer and they’re likely to complain the loudest and longest for bogus reasons.
There are five reasons why good customers will buy products from you. The reasons are value-motivating perceptions – why your customers respond well:
1) They like you and your representatives.
2) They are impressed with your community image.
3) They appreciate how your product meets their needs.
4) They want convenience.
5) They like the price.
These five reasons also help you get valuable word-of-mouth advertising in social media, online reviews and people talking with one another.
Better business performance results when CEOs show leadership in investing in customer engagement. That’s confirmed in a global study.
But when is your marketing investment in vain? It becomes futile when a customer is unhappy. It matters how you are perceived after the sale.
However, after investing tons of money promoting your company, do you make it difficult in customer support? That’s when the complaints really start.
In this digital age, you must do everything possible to assuage your customers when they need help.
To emulate successful companies, here’s what you can do technology-wise in customer support:
1. Make sure your staff is motivated and empowered
Not to stereotype, but the No. 1 complaint women have about men are that they don’t listen. So whatever genders your customer-support staff is, make sure everyone knows to intently listen or read the customers’ comments.
Then, they must acknowledge the customers’ feelings. The customers might be off-base or be wrong in voicing their complaints, but it’s vital to acknowledge them right away before moving forward.
If the customer is right, then take ownership of the problem and resolve it right away. Be polite and use clear, easy-to-understand English.
If you’ve hired talented people, you should also empower them with autonomy – to fix problems as soon as possible – within cost-effective parameters, of course.
2. Depending on your size, offer 24/7 support
Many large, global companies can provide 24/7 support. Perhaps you can’t, but try to give support round-the-clock. Use live operators as much as possible.
If you can’t respond immediately when you are contacted, acknowledge the customers and ask for the nature of the contact. Tell the customers when you’ll get back to them.
“A satisfied customer is the best business strategy of all.”
3. Use a live-chat option
Bearing in mind that convenience is one factor that attracts prospects and keeps customers happy, a live-chat option makes it very convenient for your customers.
It’s cost-effective and much faster than emailing back and forth or forcing them to sit on-hold on the telephone. Plus, your employee can handle more than one prospect or customer at a time.
4. Text to cater to Millennial attitudes
Millennials like live-chats but they often like texting even more. So relate to them by text-enabling your customer-support process.
Text-enabling is important if you want them to keep coming back and promoting your company with their friends and relatives for decades to come.
5. Install customer support into your social media channels
If you’re going to use social mediums as part of your branding, you must also be ready to monitor your social-media channels. And respond rapidly to any customer comments – positive or negative.
6. Use a multi-channel approach
Customers are now programmed to expect immediate gratification. You should incorporate all your channels into one system for your employees to use.
That includes texting, chat-live, social media and each customer’s information in order to satiate your customers so they feel they’re getting state-of-the-art customer support.
7. Allow for self-service
Some customers appreciate self-service options such as chat-help forums and FAQs. But have an employee available if a customer isn’t successful using self service.
8. Toll-free number
If you provide a toll-free number, make sure a live person will answer the phone. Increasingly, customers are annoyed by auto-responses and long-waits on the phone.
To prevent added aggravation: Offer a call-back option whether it will take you five minutes or one hour to respond to the customer.
9. Staff for peak times
There are some days, weeks or months when you need to provide higher levels of customer support. So staff accordingly.
From the Coach’s Corner, here are related customer-engagement strategies:
10 Innovation Tips to Boost Your Long-Term Customer Base — Businesspeople are constantly under pressure. Daily events make it challenging to make critical decisions for financial sustainability. Businesses must innovate to survive. Here are 10 key questions to ask about your business.
HR Management: 3 Values to Deliver Top Customer Service — The three values needed to achieve top customer service are easy-to-understand but arduous to achieve. But if your human resources program adopts and implements these values, you’ll achieve enviable organizational effectiveness – a high performance culture – for strong revenue.
4 Keys So Marketing and IT Can Create Business Revenue — Businesses will generate more revenue if their information technology and marketing professionals strategize more effectively.
“A satisfied customer is the best business strategy of all.”