Today’s consumers expect great customer service and if they don’t find it, they’ll spend their money elsewhere. What can you do to go above and beyond to ensure customers not only buy from you, but also recommend your business? Here are four sure-fire tips for effective consumer engagement.
1. Use Twitter to Connect with Customers Instantly
Many companies like Nike, UPS, American Express and Ford Motor Company are using Twitter to immediately respond to customers’ concerns and questions. In fact, this solution has become part of their brand, much like catchy company logos.
The first company to think of using this innovative way to connect with customers was Comcast, using the Twitter handle @comcastcares where dedicated employee Bill Gerth informed customers of outages. Gerth also used Twitter’s direct messaging to keep personal information safe from Twitter boards to solve billing and system queries.
If you employ this tactic, make sure the person tweeting back has great customer service skills and the authority to “fix” consumer problems.
2. Train Your Personnel and Role-Play
Many people fail at customer service because they aren’t trained properly. Every industry is different, and each one requires the right training geared toward what the company sells or offers.
For example, a service manager at a car dealership deals more with the frustrated and angry who want their vehicles ASAP. Contrast that with a customer service rep for an ecommerce store, who may experience shoppers who are also angry, but doesn’t have to deal with face-to-face conversations. Proper training beforehand can save headaches in the long run.
And while the basics of customer service are generally the same, you should still invest in the proper training for your industry. Try role-playing scenarios and see how your personnel solves the problem. Have a round table meeting after the role-playing and discuss what worked and what didn’t. You should also cover different ways employees can improve customer interaction. Meetings such as these should be held on a regular basis.
3. Never Put the “Unauthorized” at the Forefront
We’ve all experienced bad restaurant service or bought something online that was not as described. We buy electronics only to find out they don’t work once we’re home. Even shopping at the market can be problematic if a bag-person forgets one of our items and we have to return.
What also goes along with these bad experiences: Dealing with those who don’t have the authority to help us. We hear a lot of, “I’ll have to ask the manager,” or even worse, “The manager isn’t in.” Probably the worst of all is: “There’s nothing I can do.”
Allow employees to be proactive and empower them to make decisions. Even if the employee makes a decision you wouldn’t have made, if the customer is happy, that’s the desired solution. You can always review “dos” and “do nots” during role-playing scenarios.
4. Use Voice of the Customer Surveys
New buzz words in customer satisfaction levels are the “voice of the customer” surveys. These can be extremely effective in identifying what your customers like and dislike.
The trick behind these is the length. Three to five questions are more than enough, and they should be as direct as possible. Ask about whether the service or product was as expected. Was the staff helpful? Did the customer feel happy when they left? Would they change anything about their experience?
You can also employ a simple rating system using a scale of one to five, with one being poor and five being the best. Analyze these once you’ve obtained enough of them and discuss the results with your staff.
Where people spend their money very often depends on the experience they receive. Utilizing these four customer service tips will strengthen how your customers perceive your business.