Effective customer interactions can lead to increased sales and improved business results. Companies that are not able to improve their communication with customers can lose customers and risk negative word of mouth.
It may sound harsh, but customers have high expectations and if your company doesn’t meet them, they will probably switch to someone else. So the major question we need to ask is how can businesses improve their customer communication? In this post, we have compiled a few tips to make your customer interactions the best they can be.
1. Make it personal
Not many customers are looking for bots or automated systems when they are in need of assistance. Offer your clients more than automated responses and make full use of social media channels to communicate with them. If it’s appropriate in your business area, post photos of your staff or publish interesting facts about your company on your social media profiles. This will show your clients that there are real people on the other side of the screen. Use good judgment to communicate with customers in your own authentic voice.
2. Be available
There’s nothing worse than a company which takes ages to respond to customer queries. Make your best effort to answer comments and concerns within 24 hours – this will prove to the customer that you care about their issues. If you are an e-commerce operator, you can easily set up a call center to make sure that customers can reach you. Complex cloud-based call center solutions offer various unique features, such as IVR menu, call routing, automated call-back, and many more.
3. Minimize the on-hold time
According to research, 75% of customers believe that it takes too long to reach a live agent. Many customers who are trying to call you get quickly frustrated and simply hang up with a clear decision never to shop from you again. A good automated call center system will help you limit hold times to a minimum. For example, CloudTalk helps you ensure that all calls are routed to the right agent or voicemail.
4. Practice active listening and empathy
Active listening is a crucial skill for any service provider. During a conversation with a customer, try to clarify and rephrase what the customer says to make sure that you have understood everything correctly. Then acknowledge their feelings by saying something like "I understand that you must feel upset."
5. Don’t be afraid to apologize
Part of being empathetic in all customer interactions is admitting your mistakes. Nobody is perfect and many customers appreciate when a business simply says "I’m sorry" and strives to fix the problem as soon as possible. Being too pride and not admitting to your faults is a sure way to turn customers off.
6. Be transparent and communicate
Make sure that your customer knows what’s going on. If you can’t solve their problem in the first interaction, at least tell them what the next steps are and what the timeframe is. Don’t hesitate to explain the situation, apologize for any issues and communicate what you are going to do to fix it. If it’s possible that the issue might happen again in the future, be open about it so that the customer can prepare.
7. Give your customers a way to provide feedback
The truth is that no matter how hard you try, you will never be able to anticipate all customer issues. That’s why you should create a way for customers to let you know about their experience with your business. That also means providing them with an easy-to-find email address and phone number. Whether it’s a survey sent from your CRM tool or a contact form on your website, allowing your clients to give feedback means that you are informed about any space for improvement. In addition, if customers don’t find a way to voice their dissatisfaction, they may release their frustrations on your social media pages. In short, asking customers for feedback regularly is a good way to detect potential problems before your customers decide to leave you.
8. Follow-up after a problem is solved
This is especially important if you have loyal customers who tend to use your services or buy your products regularly. Make sure that any issues or problems are fixed and your customers were satisfied with the customer service. For example, you can send them a feedback survey via email.
Whenever you feel in doubt when it comes to good customer service and positive customer interactions, remember the golden rule: Treat others as you want to be treated. After all, in one way or another, we are all customers.