Do you remember the days of the Dot-Com Bubble in the early part of this century? That was a time of high speculation and lofty expectations as to how the Internet was going to transform the enterprise world. One of the most unusual predictions made a couple of decades ago was related to the future of customer service, which some analysts believed would be nearly eliminated through automation and highly efficient business processes.
Fast forward to 2016-2017: despite incredible advances in robotics, we are not even close to replacing customer service agents with automatons. If anything, consumers have become more demanding with regard to the support and service they expect from modern companies. In today's highly competitive economy, the customer service strategies of the 20th century will not allow you to thrive in your sector. If your approach to customer service has not changed too much since the year 2000, you really need to modernize your strategies. Here are four tips to get you started:
1. Choosing a Social Media Platform
Are you a brave business owner who believes that happy customers are the secret to profits? If this is your philosophy, you should strongly consider moving your customer service outlets to your social media channels. When online footwear retailer Zappos decided to move its customer service to Facebook, the company not only made headlines but was also covered by the Harvard Business Review. Zappos has been lauded for its commitment to customer service transparency, and this is something that could elevate your brand. If you choose to utilize Facebook or Twitter as a platform for customer service, you need to keep in mind that your actions will be visible to millions of people around the world, and thus you will need to provide excellent customer service.
2. Using Branding and Engagement as Customer Service
Are you connecting with your customers? True engagement should not be limited to reacting to phone calls or alerts about customers being unhappy. Customer engagement should be proactive, and you should put yourself in your customers' shoes for the purpose of achieving true engagement.
You can harness the power of social media to listen for ongoing conversations about your business. For example, a pizza shop owner can scan for mentions of his business; if a conversation is centered on late delivery times, a customer service representative could join the conversation and inquire more about the issue for the purpose of offering a solution.
3. Reaching Out to Your Customers
Customer service is often associated with inbound business processes; however, you should not pass up the opportunity of taking a proactive stance and reaching out to your customers on an outbound basis. Outbound call centers are not used exclusively for the purpose of conducting telemarketing campaigns. If your company collects customer data, you should put it to good use with a creative outbound customer service campaign. Some ideas may include: welcoming new customers and asking for feedback after a sales transaction. As previously mentioned in the pizza delivery business example, reaching out to customers is an exercise in service, branding and engagement.
4. Listening to Your Employees
If you provide good customer service to your employees, they will in turn provide good service to your customers. If you need feedback on your products and services, you should always start with your staff. Listening is one of the key factors in achieving customer service success. If you intend to set policies and procedures to manage your customer service department, you should sit down with your staff and get their opinions on how they think customers will be better served.
In the end, waiting around for customers to call and complain about your products and services is no longer sufficient customer service. Being proactive instead of reactive and implementing the four strategies listed above is a good step towards modernization.
I hope you enjoyed this article about ways to modernize your company's customer service and outreach.
Interested in more articles about customer relations?
Read My Posts:
- 7 Ways To Reach To Your Customers
- Customer Experience: How To Keep Them Coming Back
Published by Michael J Schiemer
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