Customer service has been a cornerstone of thriving businesses for a very long time. And in today's climate of on-demand everything, consumers are expecting to enjoy customized experiences in which their wishes are granted every step of the way. This sounds great — if you're the buyer. But if you're on the business side of the equation, this type of all-encompassing satisfaction can be difficult to deliver.
You don't have endless time to allocate toward each customer who has a question or concern, and you certainly don't have enough manpower to individually respond to each inquiry. As you continue to grow, this problem will only be amplified.
Luckily, there are smart approaches you can take using technology that will help you get closer to meeting or exceeding customers' expectations without too much extra time or expense. Read on for a few creative ideas.
A lot of customer service teams have their valuable time tied up in answering simple questions. If you find that your brick-and-mortar employees are getting pulled away from their primary job duties in order to answer the same types of questions repeatedly, get proactive. You can use iBeacon technology to directly market to individuals who walk through your doors, whether they're on an iPhone 7 or using an iPad Mini 4. All of these devices come equipped with this technology, so you can reach a great percentage of consumers by tapping into this. Use this to send a quick alert to those on your premises that educates them about how to shop in your store, or answers the three most commonly asked questions — before they ever have to ask. You can also take advantage of this by sending some sort of sale offer. If you're looking to get more buyers in and out of your store more quickly, put a time limit on the sales offer.
If iBeacon technology doesn't make sense for your particular business, consider how else you can preemptively answer your audience's most burning questions. Maybe each week you could write a blog post that covers a certain question you're asked often, and share that via email with your customer list. Another idea is to create and post short "explainer" videos on your social media channels, in order to engage followers and inform them at the same time. Your customer service team will still have to spend some time answering routine questions and doling out standard information, but by taking any of these approaches, you will greatly reduce the volume of these calls and emails. A little proactive thoughtfulness can go a long way in freeing up your internal team's time, and in helping customers feel more understood and satisfied.
Automated Relationship Building
Even though you'd love to spend time one-on-one with every prospect and customer, this usually isn't a reality as your business scales. Instead of dismissing the idea of personalized attention altogether, consider using marketing automation tools to do the relationship building for you. Of course no software system can replace human interaction, but you can use nurture campaigns and automated emails to make customers feel like you care. Some of the most well-loved tools out there are Infusionsoft and Pardot, but you should choose one that fits your business' size, needs and budgets specifically.
Rather than merely setting up an email campaign to tell buyers about a new promotion you're having, think of unique ways you can use the automated features of your system. If you want customers to feel appreciated and noticed, maybe you can make your website interactive. If you're in retail, for example, you could place a quiz on your homepage (i.e. "what's your home décor style?") and set up your marketing automation tool to automatically deliver quiz results to the individual, along with specific product recommendations. This will feel fun and personalized to the consumer, but won't take you any time or expense (after the initial set-up is complete).
Also consider setting up automated "thank-you" emails to go out about a week after a purchase is made, or an automated notification to remind you to actually hand write a thank-you note after a large purchase is made. These things take time on the forefront, but can yield a lot of customer goodwill and repeat sales.
The thought of personalizing the buyer journey can feel overwhelming, and the idea of spending more time and thought on technology can feel overwhelming too. But if you approach them strategically, creatively and with an open mind, you might be surprised by how little you have to do in order to reap significant results.
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