7 Foolproof Ways to Ace Customer Interaction
What’s a “great customer experience” to your business?
For your customer support executive, it could be quick and accurate responses to customer queries. The sales executive might think of providing easy access to products and services at competitive prices. And, maybe offers and discounts too. Marketers might think of multi-channel communication that makes customer interaction easy, from a website and social media platforms to personalized emails and messages.
The right answer is – all of this matters! The gateway to unforgettable customer experiences lies in true customer interaction management.
What is Customer Interaction Management?
Customer interaction is any communication that takes place between a company and its customers. Until a few years ago, most companies focused on conversations that occurred between a customer and a customer support executive. Business contact centers, sales, and post-sales customer service interactions formed the crux of customer interaction management.
Now, a hyperconnected world means that a holistic customer relationship management (CRM) strategy needs to go beyond support centers. Research from GE Capital shows that 81% of shoppers research products online before purchase. With an abundance of businesses competing for customer attention, a brand that wants to make an impression has to utilize every opportunity to make a connection with potential leads.
This means that customer interactions have to be handled way before the actual purchase of a product, across all touchpoints. Some of the areas to focus on to up your customer interaction game are:
- Traditional customer service and sales channels such as phone calls and emails
- Chat and proactive messaging on your business website
- Social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Whatsapp, and Slack
- Self-service resources for customers
- Forums and message boards for cross-customer interactions
Reasons to Take Customer Interaction Management Seriously
To put it bluntly, a business cannot exist without its customers. You can have an excellent product, but if your customer experience is poor, you are not really going to be able to sell it well enough. A dissatisfied customer will tell an average of 15 other people about a poor service experience, research indicates. Given that another study from McKinsey found that “70% of buying experiences are based on how the customer feels they are being treated,” it’s hard to deny the vital role that customer interactions play in business.
To outline more explicitly, a business that gets its customer interaction right will benefit from:
- Repeated engagement from loyal customers
- More leads through word-of-mouth recommendations
- Higher customer satisfaction, leading to higher customer retention
- Honest feedback from customers because of open channels of communication
- Better market insights and data for accurate customer profiling
- An opportunity to automate routine interactions that will:
- Improve customer experience through quick and accurate responses
- Improve employee motivation because of better utilization of their time and skills
- Efficient workflows because of clearly-outlined CRM strategies
- Easier training modules for contact center and customer-facing employees
In the long term, an engaged and satisfied customer base will help grow your business organically by hitting the profitability ball out of the park.
7 Tips for a Delightful Customer Interaction Strategy
Creating a positive customer experience is not a one-time affair. It requires consistency in the way you interact with your customers across the board. Routine CRM evaluations, implementing and monitoring metrics like net promoter score (NPS) and customer satisfaction scores (CSAT), and making a lasting impression with every interaction are essentials to a solid customer experience.
Here, we provide tips on how to ace customer interaction every time:
1. Chart the Right Customer Interaction Cycle
First impressions matter. When charting an engagement and interaction plan, it is vital to consider every aspect of the interaction cycle, from greetings to the close of the conversation. Psychological research shows that greetings help form emotional bonds.
Train and encourage all your front-end employees to open with a courteous greeting before delving into the issue at hand. When automating online conversations through chatbots and virtual assistants, think of the tone of your greeting and the kind of brand image you want to portray. Then, spend time trying to get to the heart of your customer’s needs and problems. Don’t forget to end the conversation on a positive note. A thank you and an apology, where applicable, can go a long way in creating a good customer experience.
2. Connect Where Your Customers Are
E-commerce giant Amazon has one of the highest customer satisfaction ratings among its peers. This is because Amazon meets its customers where they’re at. From one-day shipping to services like doorstep delivery and convenient pick up options, they give their customers everything they could possibly want.
A business that is able to emulate this with ease and convenience across all channels is bound to score better on customer satisfaction metrics. This goes for communication too. Today’s customers want to be able to reach businesses across platforms, from social media to customer support contact centers. Create an omnichannel communications strategy that will allow your customers to touch base with you the way they want.
3. Commit to Transparent Communication
Mistakes are an inevitable part of life; even big corporations slip up from time to time. Not all customers will hold a mistake against a company, but they will hold you accountable for how you respond. Take Adobe, for instance. The American software company has always taken responsibility for its errors. When a technical glitch in 2017 led to a temporary outage in services, Adobe apologized publicly on Twitter with a puppy video.
A great customer experience doesn’t have to be 100% error-free. It needs to be transparent, empathetic, and responsible. If you find yourself in a similar situation, don’t shy away from apologizing. Train your employees and managers to take responsibility and do everything in their capacity to remedy an error. And like Adobe, it never hurts to use a little creativity to diffuse a situation.
4. Be Human
As far as possible, make every customer interaction empathetic. Remember, customers, are not just a sales source. Ultimately, they are human, so position your interaction with that in mind.
Steer clear of heavily-scripted and formal conversations. Even automated and AI-driven chats should sound natural. While a set of rules and instructions can help solve customer issues quickly, it is important to train your employees to use their judgment to know when to deviate from the script. This is especially important on social media channels, where an emoji or a GIF can make conversations seem more personal and drive a better connection.
5. Wow Your Customers from Time to Time
While a consistent and effective communication strategy is important, pleasantly surprising your customers from time to time can wow them. Discounts and offers are one way to delight your customers, but a good conversation can also do the trick.
Not every interaction with a customer needs to be transactional. Handwritten notes, thank you emails, social media shares, and wishes on birthdays and other special occasions can show your customers that you care.
6. Take Customer Feedback Seriously
Every interaction has the potential for feedback; surveys and forms are not the only way. Repeated complaints and low customer satisfaction metrics are tell-tale signs of poor customer experiences.
Communication is a two-way street. The key to improving customer satisfaction levels is to listen and then act upon it. Collect feedback constantly, from cues in customer service interactions to specific survey forms, and then work on prioritizing and fixing the issues as quickly as possible.
7. Equip Your Team with Motivation and Support
The golden rule of support is that a happy employee leads to a happy customer. Support starts at the source. When leaders keep employees happy and motivated, they are more likely to pass on the good vibes to customers.
Keep morale high among employees via appreciation and praise, where due. A positive work environment doesn’t mean that employees are let off the hook for everything, but are treated with respect, understanding, and empathy: just like customers. Employees will learn by example and automatically go the extra mile for customers.
Interact with Freshchat
Every interaction with a customer has an impact on business, no matter how small. Building an effective team that is empathetic and equipped to handle diverse situations can help your business avoid poor customer interactions. Another valuable addition to your interaction strategy is effective technology. The right tools can be the backbone that holds your team together.
If you are looking for a customized customer interaction strategy that will wow your customers and meet them where they’re at, look no further than Freshchat! Our omnichannel messaging services, complete with automation support and proactive campaigns, will keep you on top of your customer support game.
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