One of the most important factors in retaining and converting potential customers into long-term business is the relationship that they develop with your company and your brand. Audiences around the world are becoming more skeptical and selective about where they spend their hard-earned money, so establishing loyalty is essential if you want to succeed.
With that in mind, how do you actually go about building better relationships with your customers? In this article, we’re going to take a look at some of the most important steps you should be taking, as well as what to look for when choosing the best customer experience software for you.
It can be easy to get distracted by metrics like profit margins and conversions, but you need to make customers happy first. Consider your customer and their needs above anything else. What are they looking for? What problem does your business solve? And how can you make sure that their experience with you is positive and memorable enough to leave a mark?
That can range from the images you use in your marketing, personalized messaging based on individual user journeys, and a mobile-friendly website that loads quickly every time, to adapting the entire ethos and shared values of your company as a whole.
One of the best ways to know what your customers want is to listen to them directly. Use open-text feedback in surveys to understand how they think, and speak to your customer service representatives to find out the most common problems that you can solve.
There is nothing more off-putting for customers than when they try to get in touch and are met with a brick wall. You need to be available to them when they need you, preferably in the places where they are already spending their time.
This means having an active presence on social media as well as being easy to reach through traditional contact channels like email and phone numbers.
The number one complaint that you will see about any customer service experience is not feeling heard. Make sure that any communication that customers can have with you is met with a timely response, showing them that their pain points are being recognized and listened to.
No matter how well you get started with your customer experience, things will change over time, and you can always make improvements. Therefore, it is essential that you are constantly analyzing the data that is available to you and adapting to it. You need to know what works, what doesn’t, what your customers are doing, and how they are feeling.
Investing in quality customer experience software can make a huge difference in this regard, but you have to spend your money wisely.
When choosing between what’s on offer, you want to think about what you are trying to get out of your investment, what will be most effective for the channels that you are intending to target and the resources you have to set up and manage this kind of tool.
Any company’s growth depends on customers and customer service. As such, your customer service must also be exceptional to keep your customers. Treat them poorly, and they will reciprocate the same energy. They’ll feel like you’re being selfish, ditch you and opt for caring rivals.
Put plainly, your customers are the real boss because the company ceases to exist without them. This reality forces every business to keep up with customer service trends less they lose their real bosses.
At the core of top-notch customer service support is a collection of systems, processes, and tools that turn your strategies into excellent customer satisfaction.
The foundation of modern customer support is hinged on the cloud. Traditional call centers are now on the cloud by leveraging cloud call center software solutions alongside other tools to maximize customer service experience. As such, these trends improve customer satisfaction and impacts your marketing too.
Some of the post-pandemic customer technology trends redefining the business landscape include:
Before we unpack these key trends and their impact on marketing, let’s first understand what customer service technology entails.
The trends we are about to unpack are primarily driven by technology in customer service support. Customer service technology is a collection of tools, systems, and strategies that maximize your customer service.
It is designed to enhance high return on investment (ROI). It does this by turning your business process towards customers. It also develops effective communication strategies to enhance the exceptional customer experience across all channels.
Your marketing efforts must also adapt to these changing customer service trends. As such, you can leverage them to scale your marketing efforts. So let’s explore how these recent customer service trends are impacting marketing.
Companies no longer work on two contact points like in the old days using phone or fax. Now there are more channels, and some are popping up. You currently have a phone, email, live chat, social media, SMS, and private messaging apps like Facebook Messenger and Whatsapp.
As such, omnichannel support is the best approach companies are resorting to keep up. The greatest customer service should always meet the customer where they are. With reliable 24/7 omnichannel support, customers can choose the suitable channel to connect to a support agent.
As such, your company can create a smooth customer experience that maximizes customer satisfaction. Some of the benefits of 24/7 omnichannel support include;
These benefits can also improve your marketing campaigns. You can easily reach your customers on their preferred channel. You can quickly streamline your customer support and marketing campaigns across multiple channels under a single platform.
So, how do you implement or upgrade your customer service to catch up? Besides, you should achieve this whether you have an internal or outsourced customer support team.
With the current trend in remote work, you’ll also need to empower the remote team to be efficient as an in-house team. A cloud call center software solution can help you implement 24/7 omnichannel support. It will empower your agents wherever they are. They can plug in using a phone or laptop and ensure you offer reliable round-the-clock support.
Plus, there is zero on-premise hassle; you do not need to worry about system updates, security, hard drives, etc. Get your internet connection right, and the rest is handled by the firms like Bright Pattern cloud software solution providers.
Another incredible customer service trend is real-time support through live chat. You can do it using audio or video chat. But, video is more effective and impactful in customer service support and marketing.
A live chat lets you guide the customer step-by-step regarding their queries on your services and products. People spent about half a trillion hours on mobile live streaming apps in 2020 alone. The industry is projected for more growth in the future.
So, including real-time support as part of your customer service support strategy can benefit you in various ways:
Since it can also drive conversion rates and enhance customer engagement, live streaming or live chat can improve your marketing too.
The rise in messaging platforms like Facebook Messenger, Whatsapp, WeChat, Telegram, etc., has prompted an increase in AI chatbot adoption. Chatbots are automated widgets that can act as customer service agents on your website.
But chatbots powered by artificial intelligence (AI) can do more than simplified tasks. They can track orders, suggest products based on user preference, improve conversion sales, etc.
Since it can ask and help guide a user to the right resources, it can pick web visitors’ behavior, taste, and preferences. Those insights can be helpful for other marketing campaigns. As such, automation of customer support through tools like AI chatbots can maximize the efficiency and accuracy of your team.
Plus, it can save you money by reducing the number of human agents on standby. You will only need to escalate complex tickets to human agents.
You can check out leading chatbot providers relevant to your industry to help leverage automated customer service support.
Customer service support is a growth-driving factor you can not afford to miss. Recent trends like reliable 24/7 omnichannel support, an increase in AI chatbots, and live chat increase customer engagement and satisfaction. So, you must keep up with relevant customer service trends to leverage your growth.
The trends can also impact your brand positioning and conversion rates, thus scaling your marketing efforts. To adapt to these trends, you can use cloud call center software solutions, AI chatbots, and live streaming platforms.
If you’ve ever worked in retail or owned a business, you’ve likely heard the saying “the customer is always right.” While this might not technically be true, the saying boils down to customer experience and making customers feel like they come first.
Putting your customer first isn’t always easy, as there are so many different factors to consider in running a business. You have to concern yourself with costs, cash flow, inventory, hiring the right employees and much more.
However, 78 percent of customers who have a negative customer service experience abandon an intended transaction. Putting customers first can turn that number around. There are some concrete things you can do, both offline and online, to make customers feel they are number one in your eyes.
One of the first things you need to do if you have an online presence is test the user interface, or UI, on your website. Everything should work the way it is supposed to, and the interface should be intuitive. When a user visits your site, does the visitor know exactly where to go and how to find essential functions, such as the home page or search feature?
Look at your website through the eyes of a first-time visitor. Does it load quickly enough? Can you find what you want quickly? Get input from others and make adjustments as needed. Also, check that all links are working and forms are submitting correctly?
Adding a loyalty program brings customers back again and again. However, if the customer experience is negative, it can overpower the benefits of the loyalty program. 74 percent of consumers state that the overall customer experience, or CX, impacts how loyal they are to a brand. Another 59 percent switch to a competitor when having a poor experience with a brand.
Sephora offers a loyalty reward program that works in both their brick-and-mortar and their online stores. You earn points for each purchase, and those points are worth free products and samples. However, the more you spend, the more your level rises, giving you even more points and free products. This setup rewards their most loyal customers with exclusive perks.
One of the best ways to improve CX is to survey your current customers. Anytime someone orders, offer them an opportunity to complete a short survey. This feedback will tell you what they enjoyed about the experience of ordering from your site and what they didn’t enjoy. Armed with this information, you can make changes accordingly. This type of CX is valuable to your overall business strategies.
Studying heat maps and where customers exit your site also allows you to paint a picture of things that need to be adjusted. For example, if you notice that a high percentage of visitors abandon their shopping carts when you add shipping costs, it might be time to rethink what you charge for shipping.
Invest in training for your sales clerks and customer service reps. Make sure the training program pushes a customer-first agenda. Those who work for you should have the same philosophy you do about customer service. Train using a variety of role-playing scenarios so that new employees can practice their skills.
Make sure that you clearly outline all policies so that employees know how to deal with a wide variety of situations. There should also be a clear chain of command. If an employee isn’t sure how to handle an irate customer, they should immediately know who to refer that customer to for a solution to the problem.
Businesses that focus on the emotional connection they make with their customers sell more than their competitors by about 85 percent. Creating an emotional connection involves several factors. You first need to understand your target audience and what they care about. Once you know what your audience cares about, you can present a solution that appeals to them.
Subaru captures the love we feel for our pets in their commercial titled “Dream Weekend.” The man goes on a road trip with his 14-year-old dog, crossing items off the dog’s bucket list, taking selfies and building memories. It tugs at the heartstrings of every dog owner out there and makes the product relatable.
There are many reasons why Walmart has been such a successful company. One of them is their liberal return policy. They take returns on most items for just about any reason, allowing store credits, exchanges or refunds.
If you want to gain the trust of customers, create a generous return policy. While most won’t take you up on the offer, you do have to be prepared for some to return items without much of an explanation. In the long run, you’ll build rapport with customers and a loyal following that will far outweigh the minor losses associated with returns.
Today, many retailers have both an online and offline presence. However, these two elements shouldn’t be separate from one another. Instead, figure out a way to mesh the two and create consistent customer experiences between them. If a customer emails you, the experience should match what happens when that same customer comes into a brick-and-mortar store.
Many JCPenney stores now allow you to order online and pick up in store. If you are in the store, and they don’t have an item in the size or color you’d like, they will order for you. You can pick it up when it arrives at the store or have it shipped to your home. Having a choice about how to receive the product makes the customer experience a more positive one.
When was the last time you entered a store and felt entertained? There are many ways to create this feeling, but one is to immerse your customer in the world of your store. If you are about fun, vibrant clothing, then put fresh, bright colors at the front of the store. Add beach balls and summer settings to show where your clothes might look best.
You can also use apps to send pings to customers’ phones and walk them through a unique in-store experience. The CX of your store involves many different things. Even how quickly the consumer is greeted upon entering your store has an impact on the overall feel of your brand.
Making a lasting impression requires putting customers first. The best way to do that is to put yourself in your customer’s shoes and figure out what they most want from the experience of your store or website. If the entire philosophy of your company is “customers first,” then everything else falls into place.
Lexie Lu is a designer and writer. She loves researching trends in the web and graphic design industry. She writes weekly on Design Roast and can be followed on Twitter @lexieludesigner.
Customer retention is the surest path to business success. The cost of acquiring a new customer is 5 to 25 times more expensive than retaining a current one. Furthermore, repeat customers spend more than new customers, so that increasing customer retention rates by 5 percent increases profits by 25 to 95 percent, Bain & Company research has shown.
These numbers illustrate why customer retention is such an essential part of a winning business strategy. Here are three proven strategies you can apply to digital marketing to boost your customer retention rates and multiply your profits.
In order to improve your customer retention, it’s important to first establish a baseline so you can measure your performance. This means tracking your churn rate, also known as your rate of attrition, which is the percentage of customers you lose in a given time frame, such as over the course of the year. Your churn rate is the complement of your retention rate: the lower your churn rate, the higher your retention rate.
To track your churn rate, you must first collect and analyze your customer data. This usually requires doing a data audit to determine what your customer data consists of and where it is to be found within and without your organization. The most efficient way to collect your customer data is by using a customer relationship management tool with analytics capability. Infor CRM training videos can help you learn how to use your CRM analytics to study your churn rate and other vital customer data.
Once you’re established your churn rate, you can start monitoring it as you adjust your customer retention strategies. This can enable you to know what adjustments are working so you can make continuous improvements.
In order to boost your retention rate and lower your churn rate, an important step is mapping out your customer lifecycle and how it supports your customer retention and repeat business strategies. Your customer lifecycle maps out all the stages of your customer’s journey, from the time they first become aware of your brand through the time they make their first purchase, as well as beyond their initial sale as they continue to interact with your customer service and sales teams.
For successful customer retention, your customer’s lifecycle should include marketing efforts beyond your initial sale, such as upsell and cross-sell campaigns. You should also include post-sale touches with the customer to check their satisfaction with your product and find out how likely they are to refer you to others. Insights from Analytics provides a seven-step customer lifecycle map you can customize to develop your own customer lifecycle map.
In order to maximize the effectiveness of your customer lifecycle, you should use market research into your customer base to develop offers that will appeal to your loyal customers. Find out what your customers want by identifying their pain points and what benefits appeal to them and then create offers that appeal to those needs.
The best way to find out what your customers want is to ask them. You can solicit this information by using a number of tools, including mobile texts, your social media profiles, your email subscriber list, your blog and your marketing promotions.
Tracking your churn rate, mapping your customer lifecycle and developing offers for loyal customers are three proven strategies for customer retention. By applying these strategies, you can retain more customers, generate more repeat business and maximize your profits.
As a working mom, you understand just as well as anyone that there are too few hours in the day to waste your time and energy on anyone or anything that isn’t worthwhile. When you apply this mantra to the businesses you patronize, you create a framework for how to treat your own customers to create greater brand loyalty. Here’s how:
When a customer calls a business to deal with an issue, they want to see their problem resolved in as little time as possible. But, if they forced to speak with representatives from multiple departments, this can make a “quick” phone call take 45 minutes or longer. Believe you me: No one wants to wait on hold and explain the issue to each representative to whom they’ve been transferred.
You can help build loyalty with your customers by streamlining your customer service process to take as little time as possible. To do this, start by using a cloud contact center to manage all of your company information so that customer service representatives can easily input and access customer notes across multiple channels (live chat, email, phone and social media support).
In addition, avoid having customer service representatives read excessively wordy scripts. Instead, get straight to the point by encouraging direct communication that’s tailored to each individual customer.
Use the Golden Rule to retain your customers and attract new business at the same time. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
If you have a brick and mortar location, host a mom’s night out shopping event. You may also want to offer guests wine, hors d’oeuvres and desserts to make the event feel extra special and encourage guests to buy more.
Treating customers as you’d want to be treated starts with treating your employees in a similar manner. Plus, boosting team morale can bolster customer loyalty, because a happy employee treats customers better than a disgruntled one.
Get real with your team member and ask them for suggestions about how to improve your workplace. What would make each team member happier to go to work each day? Ask what types of perks or benefits employees wish you offered and work to add some of these to your team.
It’s also helpful to randomly do nice things for your team, such as ordering in lunch for everyone, cutting out an hour early on a Friday, and treating everyone to happy hour or simply bringing in bagels and coffee one morning. A little extra effort can go a long way in showing your team that you care.
When a customer identifies an issue they have with your product, it’s critical that he or she feels heard by your customer service reps and that a resolution is eventually reached to retain brand loyalty. But the next steps are equally as crucial to the loyalty of your customers. So, be sure that when a product issue arises, instruct your team to get to the root of the problem in order to prevent this issue from happening again.
Having a great product isn’t enough to compete anymore in today’s market. Nine out of ten marketers now regard customer experience as the key competitive differentiator, even outranking factors as important as price and quality. Today’s independent retailer needs to cultivate a reputation for stellar customer experience in order to attract shoppers away from competitors and build brand loyalty. Here are four steps you can take to improve your customers’ experience in order to meet and exceed their expectations, keep them coming back for repeat business and make them want to tell their friends to buy what you sell.
Companies such as Nike have pioneered the successful use of mass personalization, where customers can select from digital options in order to choose customized products. Experts see mass personalization as the future of retail, but many companies have yet to catch on. Digital marketing provider Lyris has found that only 24 percent of marketers use personal information they receive from customers in order to customize the value they deliver. Meanwhile, over 70 percent of customers feel jaded because they are used to receiving impersonal marketing offers.
You can stand out from competitors who haven’t yet caught on to mass personalization by making efforts to customize your selection for individual customers. If your product line lends itself, you can follow Nike’s strategy of enabling customers to choose custom selections. For instance, jewelry retailer Argos uses 3-D printing to allow customers to choose personalized rings, earrings, pendants and bangles.
Marketing offers can also be personalized for individual customers. For example, Amazon does this by suggesting products to customers based on items they have previously purchased and based on items bought by other customers who purchased or browsed the same things. In a similar way, your web designer can set up your website to display customized selections based on customer browsing and purchase history.
Another way to extend personalized offers is to use mobile location marketing techniques. For example, you can geotarget all customers in a certain area with an offer specific to their location.
Another customer experience technique Amazon has used to great success is offering free shipping through its Amazon Prime program. This program has been so successful that the entire retail calendar has been restructured around Amazon’s annual Prime Day sale. Depending on your product, free shipping for special customers might make sense for your company as well. RJMetrics contributor Anna Kegler provides a formula you can use to figure out where your free shipping price threshold should be based on your company’s order history and your products’ price points.
Another way to enhance your customers’ experience is to provide the customer service channels they prefer. You can dramatically improve your customers’ satisfaction as well as your efficiency by offering self-service options using tools such as online knowledge bases to answer FAQs. Seventy-two percent of American consumers prefer self-service to traditional support channels, Forrester found.
Live chat is another channel that can boost customer satisfaction. A Zendesk study found that live chat achieved a 92 percent customer satisfaction rate, which is higher than any other channel.
Self-service and live chat can improve your customers’ experience, but for optimal experience, you should also offer live phone service options. Being unable to get a hold of a live human on the phone is Americans’ biggest customer service complaint. Offering a 1-800 number is an easy way to make your customers happier with you and complain about your competitors instead.
Smartphones and tablets keep people connected wherever they go, helping them to stay in touch with their social media sites. This rising number of connected users who spend increasing amounts of time on social media has opened new customer service opportunities for businesses. To start with, those businesses need to recognize that the usefulness of Facebook extends beyond marketing.
Although advertising on Facebook and using the site to provide news and updates undoubtedly continue to benefit companies, customer service has also grown in importance. Now, rather than measuring the success of social media presence only by the number of “Likes” received, the degree of customer engagement has become an important metric. This article highlights some ways you can harness the power of Facebook to your maximum advantage.
Facebook gives companies a huge audience that can see everything customers have to say. When people notice that your business consistently responds to comments, complaints and other messages, they recognize you as a responsive firm that cares for its customers. Here´s how you can achieve that:
People can commonly use Facebook to ask questions about your business policies, products or services. When you see these comments, either you or someone on your team should provide complete answers and explanations. When you provide a detailed response to inquiries, all subsequent visitors to your Facebook page will have access to the same information, so your effort will provide long-term benefits.
Online consumers tend to use Facebook as a platform for expressing dissatisfaction. Moreover, according to a study conducted by Forrester Research, three-quarters of them expect to see a reply when they leave a negative comment. When you do not respond to negative complaints, you make people feel ignored, leading them to rebuke your company in ways that could permanently damage the reputation of your brand.
The potential for Facebook to offer either advantages or disadvantages should underscore its importance to your business. You must promptly and professionally deal with complaints and solve problems. For example, you should always thank people for bringing matters to your attention. You should also apologize for all inconvenient situations and offer solutions. For simple problems, communicate openly on Facebook. Handle complicated issues that require research, investigation, and negotiation through other channels, so you can have more flexibility and avoid overloading your social media account. Your customer service can set you apart from competitors, so make sure you let it shine.
Sometimes people will use Facebook to praise your company. Do not ignore those either – thank everyone who leaves positive remarks to show that you value and appreciate their opinion.
Regardless of whether people say positive or negative things on your Facebook page, go beyond a one-time dialogue. In other words, leave the door open for customers by engaging them in further activities. For example, continue conversations by exceeding a simple expression of appreciation and ask them questions to see what other products or services they would like to see. You can also offer them a gift, such as a special discount. What you can also do is follow up with people whom you have previously served to make sure they have received the resolution they deserve.
To improve your customer service, consider creating a loyalty program for your fans and followers. You can also offer exclusive deals and giveaways to show your human side. With such gestures that are shown in public conversations, your company can not only build quality relationships with individuals, but it can also publicly demonstrate its people-oriented approach.
Always pay attention to the way you communicate and how you make your customers feel. You must always have a friendly, compassionate tone and a respectful attitude. It is also important to adjust your tone to match that of your clients. For those who use informal speech, respond in like manner. Consider using emoticons, but don’t overdo it. Similarly, you should accommodate those who want to stay on formal terms. Avoid arrogance and condescension at all costs, so that you create a friendly, approachable reputation for your brand.
Never make customers wait. A study reveals that almost half of people who communicate with a business via social media expect a response within an hour. If you take longer than sixty minutes to respond, your audience will interpret your sluggishness as a sign of poor customer service. To create a great image for the world to see, make sure you quickly respond to customer comments.
Depending on the size of your business, you might need the help of staff members to filter through all the messages posted on your Facebook page. If you have other people monitor your page and handle responses, make sure you train them in proper procedures. If, on the other hand, you try handling everything yourself, try setting up notifications so you always know when someone needs your attention. Remember, monitoring your brand goes beyond the popularity of your page. Get some tools that will help gauge the overall sentiment directed toward your brand.
To gain the most from Facebook, remember that you must provide excellent customer service via every form of interaction, including in-person encounters in your stores, phone calls in your call centers, and email correspondence. If they receive poor customer service, people may blow off some steam by sharing their experience with their Facebook friends. All it takes is one viral post to seriously damage your company’s reputation.
To prevent that, resolve to give your customers your full attention in every situation. When they have a problem or concern, show them empathy. Always exceed expectations. When you have a successful experience with a customer or shopper, ask them to “Friend” you on Facebook. You never know who will give you free, rave reviews.
Facebook gives you an opportunity to make public impact while satisfying individuals. The way people perceive your brand depends on the way you interact with them. Whether people praise you or reproach you, you have the chance to put your best foot forward, showing the world that your company desires more than a fast sale.
Among other social media, Facebook ranks highly as a powerful customer service tool. When properly used, it offers a platform where your customers can advocate for your brand. Take charge of your Facebook presence, and show the world that you have an open door for everyone. When you take the time to show people you care, you leverage the power of Facebook to your advantage.
Natalie Smith, a freelance writer from Seattle, enjoys covering topics related to marketing, customer service, and social media. For more information, You reach her @Natalie Smith