Are you doing enough?
Life has been a little crazy here at TMP towers. And it’s meant we haven’t reached out on the blog in a handful of weeks.
So, we figured we’d go down the irony route today!
I’ve got a friend who lives overseas and only hear from her once in a blue moon.
In fact, I got an email just a couple of days ago and the open line was ‘please don’t tell me it’s really been a year since I last got in touch’!
Granted, I am not much better (my blogging hiatus just goes to prove that). It’s so easy to let life get in the way.
Though I must admit, infrequent contact is more acceptable as long as it’s pleasant chit chat.
What really galls me is those ‘friends’ who only get in contact, usually completely out of the blue, when they have a problem and need something from you.
We all know the sort I mean. It’s always about them. And it really pisses me off.
And the same goes for businesses.
Contact is critical
Customers don’t want to be treated as a fair-weather friend.
So, ask yourself…. How often do you communicate with consumers?
Do you care about the needs of your end users?
Are you responsive?
Or do you only reach out when you want something from them?
No news is NOT good news. Especially when it refers to the relationship between a customer and your brand. And no contact is even worse.
Frequent communication is critical to help you deliver top notch customer service. But why? And how do you make it happen?
Don’t dismiss the data, but…
Today’s business world is drenched in data.
We have bucket loads of information about end-users at our fingertips and we don’t even need to pick up the phone and speak to anyone to obtain it.
It’s easy as pie to discover how a customer found your product. Or which features they use the most on your website. And how long they spend on each page. Plus, you know whether they are opening your emails. Or whether they contacted your customer feedback management team for help and support.
Sure, all of this information is great and can help us make informed marketing decisions.
But it can also put us at the top of a slippery slope, because it often means that brands feel there is no need for actual, real end-user contact.
Cold, impersonal data shouldn’t be a substitute for real contact.
Only by reaching out and making it personal can you get a true insight into consumer challenges, areas of concern or plans.
We all strive for high-quality customer service. And that means keeping it real and having frequent conversations with real people!
Automation is your friend
Welcome emails to new users are strong customer touch points.
They help to warm prospects towards your brand and shows that you care.
An automated email is spot on because, on most platforms, you can personalise them and schedule them to arrive at the perfect moment. IE: when a prospect becomes a customer. Because that’s when they are most fired up about your brand.
Reaching out reaffirms that they made the right decision in choosing you.
And it is also the prime opportunity to ask – and answer – some common questions.
Yes, that’s right… get in there and ask them what you can do and what they want to see at the outset, as opposed to waiting for issues to arise. Get feedback on day one.
Our survey says…
There’s no doubt about it. Surveys are insightful.
They can be automated (yay!) to be sent out at time or project-based intervals and can help you understand exactly what customers are looking for.
Nothing beats soliciting feedback at the right time in the brand-customer relationship. What’s more, in can help you better understand what your consumers are looking for in a scalable way.
Surveys can be used to help you spot patterns and trends and assist in informing decisions about product development, branding and sales.
They show that you are there, are listening and that you actually care. And that helps to create an emotive end user experience.
Just make sure a skilled customer service professional reviews the findings. Don’t leave that to automation. A robot can’t decipher what the results are NOT telling you. A human can.
Keep content regular – and informative
You don’t have to invite consumers over for afternoon tea or be constantly picking up the phone to keep your brand in their line of sight.
You just need to keep reinforcing your authority on your subject matter.
Updates, articles and the likes of top tips via email or social media can be highly effective.
So, why not consider putting together a regular newsletter? Look to educate consumers about their industry as well as yours. And keep content relative.
By reaching out regularly and being informative, you can ensure that your brand is there when they are looking for something.
Humans help too…
I said it earlier and I will say it again… automation is your friend.
But that doesn’t mean that you should forget about the power of human contact when it comes to customer outreach.
If it works for your business, consider offering a welcome consultation to new consumers. Answer their questions and make sure they are using your product or service to its fullest potential.
Show you care. In doing so, you will pitch yourself more as a partner, not a replaceable vendor.
You should also go where your end users go. Whether it be actual public spaces such as trade shows and events, or social media where you can take off your brand mask.
Social media is a great way of connecting with customers in a more intimate fashion. You can even talk about things that have nothing to do with your brand. It can help take a relationship to the next level.
It’s also important to look out for – and respond to – brand and product mentions. This helps you respond to consumer concerns, solve problems, point them to helpful third-party resources or acknowledge their praise about your products or services.
Live for live
Customers don’t want to have to go around the houses to find help and support.
Make it easy for them to reach out to a real, live person, by it via phone or a live chat facility.
In this instance, automation isn’t the best policy. Yes, it can save time and money but a trained customer service professional is far better equipped at dealing with queries and providing the right solution to a problem.
So, don’t simply hide a ‘get in touch’ link in the footer of your website. Make it stand out.
Invite and welcome people to reach out to you, so that they feel comfortable in doing so.
You could even go the extra mile and have a human reach out to them!
I know that may be pretty scary but it is certainly ground breaking and powerful.
Plus, it will set you apart from the competition.
Seriously, why not consider phoning you 5 newest/oldest or best/worst customers each month?!
Just pick up the blower and reach out to learn more about their requirements, their experience with your brand or any challenges they are facing.
Ask what frustrates them or what they love.
Because customers need to hear from you. You need to be invested in them and their success so they will reciprocate.
Don’t be that fair weather friend that people only hear from once in a blue moon. Cement yourself in their lives. Nurture that customer/vendor relationship.
Your brand (and bank balance!) will thank you for it.