7 Ways to make every interaction with customers specialOpinion ·
The rise of e-commerce didn’t just open up a new frontier for businesses to compete on; it has forever changed the business dynamics of every industry. The most significant change has been the power shift in customer-brand relationships and the evolution in the metrics that define a company’s eventual success or failure.
The impact of exceptional customer interactions is no longer limited to just physical stores. Today’s consumer has more channels for reaching out to brands than ever before. For brands, that’s an opportunity to generate leads and improve conversion rates. But that can only happen when you actively work towards making these interactions memorable and impactful.
Even if today’s consumers have countless digital options at their fingertips, many physical stores are still up and running. That's because many still prefer the old-school feeling of brick-and-mortar stores. The reason isn’t just nostalgia. Most consumers still take the time to go to a brand’s physical location because of the positive interactions they experience there.
Great customer interactions encourage positive feedback loops. When you consciously work towards making every interaction with your clients wholesome and memorable, you improve customer retention and boost revenues.
What are customer interactions?
Customer interactions include all communication between your consumer and your company. From the moment they become aware of your brand to the ongoing after-sales relationship. On average, a customer interacts with a brand eight times before actually completing a purchase. Some of these happen on digital platforms, others over the phone, and some might be physical.
Each one of these eight interactions is an opportunity for your brand to convince customers you are creating value for them. After the sale, getting your customer to register their product and give you their data is another main touch point. If they have any complaints, questions, or feedback, that again creates multiple opportunities for the brand to interact with customers.
Every customer interaction is an asset for the brand. Because it’s an opportunity for your company to understand:
What your customer’s expectations are for your products.
What type of experience they’re looking for with your brand.
Ways you can deliver the above and turn customers into loyal brand patrons.
Regardless of the means of the interaction, you can make each one significant for your customers by basing your customer interaction practices on data-driven analytics.
Different Types of Customer Interaction
Customers interact with businesses throughout the sales and after-sales process. Most commonly, the three main types of customer-brand interaction are:
During marketing, and through advertisement.
Throughout the sales funnel.
After-sales customer service, and complaint resolution.
Today, brands should adopt omnichannel strategy. This means they should be able to actively answer questions and resolve complaints from their customers through multiple communication channels such as email, social media pages, physical mail, and face-to-face.
Typically, when a brand launches its advertisement campaign, the customer reaction can be either walking into its store, searching for brand-related content on social media or scrolling the e-commerce. The consumer then shows interest in any particular product or service and asks questions to evaluate the offering.
Online, potential customers can use the live chat option where your sales representative or automated response system attempts to answer questions and guide them about your products or service. If the customer buys your product, there will be further conversation whenever they have questions or complaints.
It’s important to note that not all customer interactions will follow this sequence of events. Maybe you're participating in a trade show, and many consumers show interest and interact with you but don’t make a purchase. Maybe your consumer is already familiar with your product range. Or perhaps an angry customer calls your helpline with an issue that’s beyond your control, such as delayed shipping due to bad weather.
The basic rules of making customer interaction will remain the same here. Just like any other element of sales, not every customer will be fully satisfied, and not all customer interactions will be positive, but how your customer-facing staff resolves complaints can make all the difference.
Similarly, not every interaction will end in a successful sale. Not every person that walks into your store will become a brand patron. Even if they don’t walk out with any of your merchandise, they take away the experience of interacting with your staff and an impression of your brand.
7 Ways to make every interaction special
In today’s hyper-comparative business climate, offering your customers high-quality products for their money is no longer enough to make you stand out among the crowd. The quality of interactions your company has with customers is equally important as the quality of your product or service.
Having positive interactions takes more than just improving what initially meets the eye. The best-looking store or e-commerce website won't make the impact that an attentive and considerate customer care representative can have on a consumer.
Think about it, where would you prefer to shop yourself? A brand that gave the cheapest deal or a brand that made you feel valued, answered questions attentively, and gave you a more wholesome experience?
As humans, our buying decisions are often based on various factors. One of the most important of these is how any experience makes us feel overall. Feelings make interactions either positive or negative. Interactions shape experiences. And experiences affect our future choices. Your customers are no different.
To make every interaction with your customers special, here are 7 of our top tips:
1. Make customers feel heard and valued
The number one thing you can do to impact every customer interaction positively is to practice good emotional intelligence. Not every interaction will always be on a positive note, but making your consumer feel, heard, and understood will help smooth over tough conversations with potentially unhappy customers.
Empathy is how you improve customer retention and make interactions more memorable. "Sorry", "please", and "thank you" are no doubt the magic words, but how you use them can make all the difference.
Imagine this: your toaster oven is burning the bread daily. It’s been just a few months since you purchased it, so surely it must be a faulty piece. You call the customer hotline all worked up, and as soon as the customer representative listens to your complaint and illustrate possible solutions, you lose all steam.
That’s not an uncommon scenario. The customer service representative helped turn a tense interaction into a positive one by:
Responding with empathy
Listening to your grievances,
Thanking you for your time,
Apologizing for the inconvenience
Offering you compensation such as a coupon or new product in exchange for your trouble.
The issue here wasn’t just burned bread. The customer care representative understood that their product was causing you frustration. That’s how the brand made you feel heard while troubleshooting the problem. You felt like the brand valued your time and business, turning a complaint into positive customer interaction.
Showing empathy and respect for your customer’s time and the business they bring you is always a great business practice.
2. Don’t sound salesy
It’s natural for most people in the business of selling stuff to view every customer touch point as an opportunity to plug their brand. But it’s one that often backfires. Customer retention is a long game, and positive customer interactions are its key element. The balance between highlighting your products and being too pushy is a fine one to master.
Most people rate pushy salespeople as a negative experience that turns them off. Be meticulous yourself, and teach all your customer-facing employees the importance of cultivating relationships. When you focus on making interactions positive and meaningful, you have to worry less about pushing your product or service on buyers.
When interactions with your brand are memorable, you retain more customers. These loyal customers then promote your brand and generate most of your revenue.
3. Practice communication and operational transparency
Transparency in communication and operations is another crucial element that improves customer interactions. By being clear on what you can deliver as a brand helps manage customer expectations and gain their trust.
Being transparent during customer interactions helps you take a proactive approach to maintaining your brand image. That’s a much better strategy for customer relations than putting out fires and managing expectations after the fact. Being honest with your customers generates their trust in your brand.
Operational transparency means giving buyers access to information about how products get processed, what materials are used, and how you source your material. It also means keeping them updated regarding data security and pricing breakdowns such as taxes. Customers are 22% more likely to rate their experience with your company as positive when they feel they’re in the know and part of the process.
4. Promise what you can deliver
If you're going to take one thing away from this blog, let it be this: it’s always better to over-deliver than to over-promise. It can be tempting to promise something you’re not sure you can deliver to appease an angry customer. But this temporary Band-Aid is a bad business practice for several reasons.
The customer wants a big order done and delivered by Tuesday? Whenever you’re not 100% sure that you can make it happen, don’t promise it. Sure, your customer might take their business elsewhere. But that loss will still be smaller than the impact of the negative experience of not getting their order on time.
Similarly, taking responsibility is crucial if your brand has made a mistake. Instead of promising instant resolution, ensure your buyer that you’ll look into the matter. Make sure you follow through and give compensation to your customer for their trouble.
That’s how you can kill two birds with one stone. First, you can leverage the element of surprise to make the interaction positive. Second, you display your values as a brand by taking responsibility instead of blame-shifting or false promises.
5. Add that human touch
Technology has given so many advantages to brands in all industries. But as we increasingly rely on these innovations, customers still want a feeling of connection and personal touch when interacting with a brand’s product. That’s even more important for online brands without physical stores.
Always using rehearsed, official language while speaking to consumers can sound fake, cold, and unauthentic. If you want to connect during customer interactions, it's best to follow general guidelines instead of scripted dialogues. Listen to what your client wants, and identify their expected outcome from the interaction.
Personalize the experience as much as you can for different customers considering also the nature of the interaction. For example, maintain an empathetic yet serious tone when a customer comes with a complaint. But you can be more upbeat and talkative if they have questions about your product.
Having superb products or compatible services brings customers to your door. Connecting with your brand on a personal level during interactions is what keeps them coming back. The human touch is the main component in making every customer-brand interaction special.
6. Establish omnichannel communication
One of the worst customer interaction strategies is limiting the communication avenues available to your buyers to reach out to you. If your customer has a question on social media, do you address them or simply copy/paste the company hotline number?
Of course, it’s not possible to be available all the time to all customers, but try and keep as many ways of reaching out to you open as you can. Instead of making customers come to you, meet them where they are and make a positive impression on them before the interaction even begins.
Make sure you make it simple and easy for customers to reach out to you, regardless of the nature of their interaction. Strive to give satisfying answers and ask for feedback on their experience. Keeping the channels of communication open leads to fruitful customer interactions and addresses their concerns and queries.
7. Use customer feedback as a guide for future communication
Like other elements of your sales funnel, data and analytics can have a revolutionary impact on the quality of customer interactions. When you use data based on your customer’s feedback as a guide, you save yourself the hassle of reinventing the wheel.
Collecting feedback from your customers is fundamental to understand what they value, identify potential pitfalls in your strategy and plan the right actions to further improve the experience. Gather reviews and feedback after every relevant interaction.
Analytics help identify best customer interaction practices as well as practices that are hurting your business. It’s also a surefire way to identify and prioritize your customer’s expectations, wants, and needs from your brand.
How Layerise helps you master communication with your customers
Customer interactions are not that easy to master, but being able to collect the relevant customer data will dramatically help you enhance the whole customer experience. Layerise helps companies break down the complex dynamics at work behind every single consumer touch point.
Like any relationship, positive interactions build a solid foundation for your customer’s long-standing trust in your brand. And like other aspects of doing business, interactions can be improved by the use of data and feedback. Most often, it's not just numbers and revenue that make brands stand out from their competition; it's how they treat their most precious asset: the customer.
Layerise helps you collecting data and processes it to generate a customized experience for your customers. Precise, actionable data based on your customer’s feedback makes it easier to create valuable interactions. Thanks to our advanced solution you can leverage the customer data collected to interact with the customer in a superior way: You can create personalized marketing campaigns and personal sends-out.
Communicating with your customers has never been easier thanks to Layerise Chat feature. When using this communication channel, your representatives won’t need to search for specific customer information because all this data will be automatically displayed for you. This will allow for a smoother interaction between customers and agents.
Layerise helps brands like yours improve communication through all channels and always stay ahead of the competition. Want to give it a try yourself? Book a free demo today to see how Layerise can help make your customer interactions exceptional.
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