With the increasing integration of social media in our everyday lives, both people and businesses are becoming rapidly more connected to one another. It is because of this development that business models are now having to adapt to more personal spheres of communication, like marketing, social media engagement, and customer service. Engaging potential consumers has become much more involved as a process than plunking a few rotating advertisements in newspapers and television breaks.
Now, the producer-consumer dynamic has evolved to needing actual interaction, whether it be physical or digital. Although businesses may already have their hands full focusing on new product ideation and content curation, there are only a few considerations needed to succeed in the game of consumer interaction. Here are 7 ways to create a stellar customer engagement strategy.
- Understand Your Customers
The number one concern when curating customer service is defining the needs of your specific consumer base. Understanding their characteristics and interests can go a long way when deciding what kind of experience they may respond well to. For example, while younger followers may want snappy dissemination of information, older consumers may need more of a helping hand with newer, more complex products and services.
In addition, being cognizant of those features unique to your consumer base can help in several other areas, like marketing, content curation, and even product design. Overall, taking a little time to list out the characteristics specific to your customers carries numerous benefits that go far beyond customer service.
- Availability Trumps All
Once you have an ample understanding of your consumers, the most important habit you can form is being available at all times. Whether your service is online or in person, this rule still applies and can have a significant impact on the public perception of the customer experience you’re providing. To customers, having delayed or nonexistent service is not only a major annoyance, but it is also damning for your brand’s reputation.
Plus, availability means physical and mental engagement; being present but disinterested in the customer’s concerns defeats the whole purpose of having customer service at all. Brands who encourage and enforce availability and involvement on the part of its employees should have no problems in the eyes of their consumers.
- Identify Chief Concerns
With certain products and services, there are certain concerns that rank above the rest, either in importance or frequency. For example, selling cars comes with concerns like fuel economy, tire durability, smoothness of the drive, and so on.
On the other hand, a company selling fitness equipment will have completely different queries from its main customers. Understanding that these differences exist and taking the time to distinguish which questions concern your product or service is pivotal in providing a killer customer experience. Having these considerations figured out ahead of time, just ensures speedy responses and optimal interactions.
- Consistent Feedback
Despite following all of these bits of advice, from time to time, your customer service experience may occasionally come under fire from dissatisfied consumers. This is to be expected, as pleasing everyone at all times is an unrealistic and detrimental goal to set.
However, it’s important to be able to tell the difference between warranted and unfounded complaints. The customer may not always be right, but companies should be able to identify which criticisms are constructive and build upon those comments.
- Adapt Your Strategy
After identifying serious complaints, improving a customer service experience is largely trial-and-error. Adapting your strategy is not guaranteed to shield against the same complaints in the future, but it’s the right first step. Taking consumer suggestions or frustrations and changing your service structure may take several iterations to eliminate an issue, and, in that time, more issues might pop up or fade away; there’s not an easy solution.
However, changing your strategy, however much time it takes, is much more likely to result in success than ignoring the complaints of your consumers, so why not take that extra time to adapt customer service? After all, it’s part of the business too.
- Invest in Training
A business is only as good as the people supporting it, so it makes sense that a customer service experience is only made better by the people managing, running, and upholding it. Investing in the training of employees who interact directly with consumers is obvious, but what about the COO at the head of the operations chain?
This is why COO training is crucial. Actively investing in the growth and experience of your COO can have numerous benefits for day-to-day operations, management, and departments like customer service. COO alliance in particular allows COOs to network with one another, learn proactively about executive leadership, and collaborate together on a number of projects. Investing in the knowledge and experience of employees and COOs alike ensures a more productive, efficient, and enjoyable customer experience.
- Be Willing to Care
The final tip for delivering an impressive customer experience is simply being somewhat knowledgeable or interested in the service you are providing. Customers may approach your customer service employees with confusing, unrelated, or obvious queries; as irksome as this is, the best course of action is to point them in the right direction, and this is much easier to accomplish when your employees actually care about the service being provided or the overall brand.
In addition, having that interest will ultimately mean any customer service is more stimulating for the employee and more productive for the consumer and business as a whole. Overall, businesses who actually care about the quality of the customer service department will deliver a far better experience than businesses who don’t.