The digital opportunities for improving customer service in your business.
We get asked many times from business at all levels, ‘why is customer service so important?’ (have you read this post? What is customer service and why should I care?)
Successful customer service can really add a brilliant USP to your business. It can make you stand out from your competition and develop a loyal following of brand advocates who are happy to recommend and refer you to their network.
This is invaluable marketing for your business. Customer service should be at the forefront of what you do. The digital world opens up a whole host of opportunities you can adopt TODAY to begin developing your customer focused business.
How can you apply the opportunities presented by the digital revolution to your business to really start wowing your customers? Here are a few quick wins for your business. Think how how you can apply and implement these within your business.
So if you find yourself asking ‘how can I improve my online presence?’ or ‘how can I provide online customer service’, start here! You will find some great strategies to deliver exceptional customer service online.
Blog blog blog!
Why should I blog?
I don’t have time to blog
Blogging isn’t for me
These are some of the excuses we hear all the time as to why businesses don’t blog. But ultimately in today’s information rich era where all the information we need it readily available at our finger tips, blogging is now a brilliant means of i) sharing your knowledge, ii) asserting your authority and iii) helping your website rank better on search engines and have ready made content available for social media sharing and customer service!
The benefits of blogging really are exciting for a business at all levels. While this is isn’t a post to show off the benefits of the form it is a post to show how you can create competitive edge through customer service and blogging can do just that.
Think about this in the real world. You work with, talk to, socialise with those you trust and those who know about their field of work. A blog does just that in the digital forum.
You can build authority (and multiple landing pages!) through blogging and delighted potential customers and existing customers alike through providing real value and exception knowledge from your industry.
Do you blog?
Get on it!
You can pick up an email auto responder very cheaply or even free these days (check out my FREE e-book on the top 10 FREE digital resources your business needs TODAY to prosper online) and you can add tonnes of customer service value for free, and for a small investment of time.
Imagine if you could send email confirmations, reminders and thank you’s to your new customers?
Would that add value to your existing product or service?
How would it make your customers feel if you thanked them for using them, sent them added value, a free e-book or instruction manual, before, during and after the transaction?
Has a potential client booked a one to one to talk about your service working with their business?
Then send them an ebook download or relevant ideas they can apply to their business immediately in the interim between now and your meeting.
Has a customer just spent thousands of pounds with you upgrading their home energy?
Then thank them with an email. Let them know how to contact you and send them you top 10 tips for maintaining the investment as an infographic or download. They will be delighted with the value.
Successful email is not spam and is very successful. One company I implemented this strategy to achieved an 85% open rate (phenomenal!) and increased sales and repeat custom. Not because we sent more email, but we sent better email to relevant customers.
I always cite Amazon here as a global powerhouse of email marketing. I receive so many emails from them but it is all relevant to my shopping choices and my interests. I read them, it is not spam and it adds huge value to me from the brand. I have become an advocate for the brand and I feel they enhance my life too.
SMS reminder service
Are you attending a clients home in the morning?
Do you have a seminar or webinar that attendees need reminding about?
SMS data capture is a great way of informing your customers of upcoming events. In the past I have used Fire Text but there are several providers, many of which also plug in to existing CRM systems like Infusionsoft or sales funnel packages like Click Funnels.
SMS is still an effective means of communication and can be used seamlessly and in an authentic manner that actually increases your customer service levels.
Skype or Zoom Calls
Skype (www.skype.com) and Zoom (www.zoom.us) are two brilliant platforms for sharing space with customers, clients and more. As many people will know as they are current users, Skype offers a free to use video (non visual is also available) call service. This provides a brilliant opportunity for those who have clients and customers abroad but even for those closer to home, imagine the opportunity bonus here for chatting with customers, leads and prospects from the comfort of your own home, office or coffee shop!
One business I work with is currently exploring the idea of Skype home surveys for the job they do. This would save an immense amount of time and money on staff, petrol and opportunity cost but also provides a real wow factor and point of difference that is of huge benefit to the customer. This can be done on mobile, tablet or laptop and really shows a varied an innovative approach to talk to customers.
How can your business implement a Skype strategy to your operation?
Be active on the platforms which your customers are engaging
If you were invited to a room of 1000 people who were all potential customers ready to buy from you, would you make sure you attended this event? Of course you would.
Well, guess what, people are all in one space, it just happens to be a digital space, and your brand has to be there. In today’s world of mass information and people power, it is now more relevant than ever to be a part of the conversation with your wider audience. This means going beyond the obvious ‘sell, sell, sell’ messages of old but instead, really contributing something to their lives.
Step one here is to search for groups relevant to your industry on LinkedIn (www.linkedin.com/groups) or by using Facebook Graph Search to find relevant pages and groups (https://www.facebook.com/graphsearcher/) . Once you have found these groups and pages be sure to like them, share some of their topics and actively contribute to the wider conversation. When you find relevant groups and pages, ask yourselves these questions to establish your digital networking strategy:
Who is the group influencer (admin / owner) and how can I contact them?
How can you add value to conversations in this group?
What is the person trying to solve and how can I do that?
What is my brand’s personality and which groups should I join to reflect this?
Which brands should I advocate in order to better reflect my own brand image?
Don’t be shy about this, get involved and start getting your brand values out there in the forums that are tremendously active in today’s digital world. The benefit to potential, existing and past customer service is immense.
Remember, with authenticity comes authority comes market master!
Can customers easily contact you online and also find a way to contact you offline via digital platforms?
How many times have you been on a website, wanted to know more about the product or service, only to find the contact form doesn’t work and there are no back up contact options for you to use? Frustrating isn’t it!
Even more frustrating if this happens to be your own website!
Remember, marketing is a joined up, cross platform exercise. Call centres, office phone staff, digital staff, all need to understand how the customer jumps between platforms.
If a customer contacts you on your Facebook page how long currently do you leave them waiting? Many times I see business pages who do not offer a reply in less than a day. In many cases, the customer has gone away in this time and found the answer to their question from another supplier and most likely purchased from them too!
There are many touch points for your customers on digital platforms, how do you currently manage customer service on
- Contact Forms on website
Is this the responsibility of one person?
If so, be sure to have your brand tone of voice nailed down otherwise your customers could be receiving all sorts of different messages and tones from various platforms. You must be consistent in your message in order to delight your customer.
Opportunities to wow your customer from online forums
When does your relationship with your customer end?
When they walk out the door perhaps?
When they pay you online and the order is shipped?
How about you extend the relationship beyond the transaction and aim to wow your customer with the aim of achieving referral or favourable reviews on the many customer review platforms?
Give them a follow, tweet their picture share their story or give them a free online follow up to review their product?
How about you email them with a ‘looking after your product’ e-book or infographic? Or ‘The 10 best things you never knew you could do with the widget you just bought from us’ e-book dropped directly in to their inbox with a polite link out to the Trip Advisor, Rated People, Google, Facebook review page you have set up for your business?
People power today is huge and you must have a 2 way dialogue with your customer and make the process of communicating with your brand easy!
FAQ Section to your website
Here’s a quick win for you, your website and your SEO rankings. If your business has a phone line that takes regular customer enquiries, ask the person responsible for this role to make a note of the next 15 general enquiry phone calls.
Once you have this list you can write a short paragraph outlining the common answers to these common questions.
Chances are the person on the end of the phone has already searched online for the answer to their question. If you are providing value and also open advice, this will be a real winner for your website and also provide organic answers to the common questions in your industry.
Simply upload this to your website with yoururl.com/FAQ and share it across your platforms. You can also email this link to customers who are almost buying from you but may need a little nudge over the line.
A great value packed addition to digital customer service here!
Implement this one in the next month and you will see benefits to your customer service, conversions and advocacy.
Produce a video ‘how to’ series for your industry
How many times have you taken to a search engine (Google, YouTube, Vimeo etc) and started with the phrase ‘how to…’
A how to series of videos for your business and your industry could provide a real value packed addition to customer service in the digital world.
Imagine if you were a TV salesperson who just sold the latest Ultra HD 4k LED Plasma wall mounted Smart TV. What could be better for the customer than them receiving, for example, a bespoke ‘how to programme your new TV for home cinema sound’ direct to their inbox, with your branding, your staff and business advising them what to do.
I can hear that referral for your TV store coming now!
This will work too with prospective customers for your business. Offering stacks of value up front is a brilliant pre emptive chunk of digital customer service.
List them here, what are the top 5 ‘how to’ videos you could make about your business and industry?
Summary and actions
Do you see here how massive customer service value can be given in the digital world?
It really need not take that much time and the scope for added sales, recurring sales and strong brand advocates means that implementing just some of these ideas really should be on your business agenda.
HELP IS AT HAND!
We are working with Google and their Digital Garage in Sheffield to deliver FREE marketing workshops which will address issues like this over a structured series of several weeks. Come and see us at the Google Digital Garage in Sheffield for totally free, immediately applicable marketing wins for your business. Check the links here:
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