Investing in customer experience is a huge part of running a successful business. It matters how people feel about using your products or services. What do they make of your brand? Do they go away satisfied, or end up wondering why they’re wasting time dealing with you? The more you can do to ensure that your customers view you positively, the better.
You can’t please everyone, though, and sooner or later you’ll run into someone keenly unhappy with whatever you bring to the table. It’s at this point that you’ll need to address them directly, engaging with them in an effort to resolve the issue and get them back on your side.
This is why there tends to be a disconnect between how companies tackle customer experience and how they tackle customer relationships. When things are going well, they hope they won’t need to put effort into communicating with people. But this is the wrong way to look at things. In truth, when tackled smartly, these two priorities are mutually supportive.
So can you improve customer experience and relationships at the same time? Absolutely. In fact, almost anything you do to further one will inevitably further the other. The happier your customer is, the more positively they’ll engage with you — and the more positively they engage with you, the happier they’ll be. It’s a tough thing to get wrong.
In this post, though, we’re going to focus on three ways in which you can work on these things simultaneously, boosting them both and leading to a compounding improvement capable of transforming your business. Let’s get started.
You Can Generate Conversation-Starting Content
Creating blog content shouldn’t just be about earning useful search rankings and filling space to make your website seem busier. It can also afford you opportunities to start conversations by prompting readers to reach out to you. They may want to elaborate on notable things you’ve said, or they may be inspired to submit information or media per your request.
You could, for instance, create a rich and detailed post (ideally through careful collaboration) all about some new features or products you’ve released, and include queries geared towards those who’ve been using them. You could note that you’d update the post with relevant comments if customers sent them in. People like the idea of being featured on large platforms, so this would tempt them to offer their feedback.
And when they reached out with that feedback, you could thank them before taking the chance to go in another direction. You could ask them further questions, pitch them ideas, prompt them to review certain products or services: you’d have extensive options, all made available to you because you pushed them to be proactive in contacting you.
You Can Reserve Interactions for Key Issues
There are many times when you need to reach customers in automated ways. Think of a customer placing an order, for instance, or making a change to some element of their user account. There’s no sense in you putting together those comms manually each time. Similarly, there are times when you don’t really need to get involved in customer issues. Modern chatbots can achieve remarkable things, and they can certainly carry out basic actions.
The point here is that more customer communication isn’t always good for customer relationships. If a customer interaction can’t be positive and unrelated to specific issues, it should be absolutely necessary due to the severity of the underlying issue. Anything else will simply lead people to associate your support staff with mediocrity and failure.
So do what you can to encourage self-support. The aforementioned chatbots will plough through basic questions on a 24/7 basis. Subscription management software can help with retaining customers through providing custom portals with self-management features. The convenience will aid to improve customer experience, and your support staff will have more time and energy to put towards the crucial high-impact problems that will make or break relationships.
You Can Get More Proactive on Social Media
As noted earlier, relationship management is often highly reactive at the corporate level. Brands will concentrate on being passive and innocuous, waiting to join trends when they’re completely safe and delicately responding to customer comments when there are no obvious alternatives. But that isn’t the only way to go. You can, in fact, be much more aggressive when it comes to social media — and there’s a lot of value in doing just that.
Any of your customers that regularly use social media are going to be fine with engagement, so there’s no point fearing that they’ll object to you talking to them. Your goal should be to boost customer experience by asking pointed questions (you could, for instance, ask a customer what you could change to better meet their needs) and bolster your customer relationships by showing people who buy from you that you’re more than just a strong value proposition.
Remember that it’s important to be likable. Customers these days want to support brands for reasons that go beyond money. If you happen to have an interesting personality, why not show it when you talk to people? It won’t be for everyone, sure, but it’s almost certain (assuming you don’t tackle any hugely controversial topics) that more people than not will appreciate it.
And if you get people to like you, they’ll talk about you, giving you even more opportunities to jump into small conversations that can lead to big things. In particular, you can start to play with things like running polls and generally seeking user-generated content (UGC). UGC gives you more material for your website, ties your customers to you by putting your creative efforts together, and cultivates the positive perception of your business. It’s an easy win.
We’ve looked at three key ways in which you can improve customer experience and customer relationships at the same time. Smart content will provide valuable insights and prompt queries. Encouraging self-support will boost convenience and free up your time to concentrate on big issues. And being more proactive on social media will make your customers feel more appreciated and help you show personality.
If you want to improve your business in the near future (and you definitely should), then you should focus on those three things. They’ll surely deliver results.
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(feature image credit: Wallpaper Flare)