In today’s economy, consumers are shopping constantly. They’re shopping off Instagram, through email campaigns, and responding in droves to sponsored content. How your business responds to their inquiries is essential to capturing the leads and converting the sales. Here, we’ll cover seven ways to communicate with prospects in a way that’ll get you sales and loyal customers.
1. Monitored Email
An easy way to communicate with your customers across demographics and personas is monitored email. Customers can submit an inquiry of any type, and your customer service team can address it.
Some companies may assign emails a tracking number and follow the journey of the customer’s inquiry and eventual resolution. If your team chooses monitored email, create a set of standards for response time and resolution.
To support your team better, you can develop pre-approved FAQs for more commonly submitted questions. While you’re at it, empower your team to provide resolutions. Can they offer a refund without manager approval or just store credit? Can they soothe a disgruntled patron by offering a discount or free shipping on a future order? Granting employees problem-solving authority can lead to higher job satisfaction and happier customers.
2. Secured Messaging
Give your customers immediate access to your team with secured messaging. For companies dealing with health or personal financial information, the security component can be a game changer.
Connect your customers to a qualified individual like a doctor or financial advisor to discuss specific and personal matters. Develop a protocol where personal information is confirmed before disclosing specific advice or account details.
For example, online birth control provider Nurx facilitates messages between medical providers and patients to determine what prescription meets the latter’s needs. Secured messages offer quick resolutions to issues and a personal touch. Learn more about this approach here.
3. Text Messaging
Keep it casual and conversational with text messaging. Text conversations can be the sweet spot for many of your customer interactions. From appointment confirmations to shipping updates and more, text offers a point of contact where brevity is appreciated.
Before implementing text messaging, ensure you have your customers’ permission through an opt-in step. Unfortunately, some companies have abused access to customer phone information and been sued for spam and unwanted text messaging. Work with your legal team to develop the right protocol for today’s climate.
4. Web Chat
We’ve all been online, browsing for a new outfit, say, or considering a new appliance. We often come up with questions that the website just doesn’t seem to answer. Fill this gap with web chat. With web chat capabilities, you can support in-the-moment customer inquiries. Clarify questions and potentially improve your sales conversion rate by providing real-time support.
Just as with email, provide your team with pre-approved responses to common questions or issues. This is especially important if there’s a known issue with a product or service. Help your team understand what they can and cannot answer and where to send more complex or thorny questions. This can help empower your team to do their jobs and give them tools to address sensitive matters.
Adopt a solution that allows you to document conversations. Make time to review them for quality and satisfaction. You can also automate a survey at the end of the chat to capture customer satisfaction and feedback.
5. Video Messaging
One of the newest ways to provide support is video messaging. Video messaging could be a great asset when face-to-face interaction is vital, as in a medical setting. Yet it can be equally helpful to a customer just looking for assistance with product installation or assembly. IKEA Sweden has tested video messaging as a time-saving alternative to extended email back-and-forths with customers, and it’s been a big hit.
Using this approach also allows you to build rapport with your customer. This is especially true if you’re able to connect your customer service rep with the same individual more than once.
Before you launch this method, coach your team members on video messaging best practices. Conduct mock video interactions and provide them with critiques and tips. They’ll improve their video presence and exude confidence while putting your customers at ease.
6. Direct Messages on Social Media
Some brands command a huge social media following. Along with that comes a high volume of inquiries. Some consumers may ask questions about recent orders or product availability on posts or through direct message. Here, your customer service function may cross paths with your social media management roles. If this sounds like your organization, make sure to develop a structure for social media monitoring and response.
Train your social media crew just as you would your customer service agents. Give them access to the same order databases and information. This access can help them resolve issues through direct message. Develop a framework of the types of inquiries that can be responded to through direct message. If an issue cannot be resolved, draft a protocol to refer the customer to your customer service team.
While you’re at it, equip your social media team with information about upcoming product launches and restocks. Product availability is a common inquiry on social media, especially these days. With an empowered social team, you can improve satisfaction through meaningful interactions.
7. Phone Calls
Operating a phone service center may be high-touch, but it can also be high-impact. In the financial and healthcare fields, the phone can be one of the most secure and reassuring ways of communicating with your customers. Often, personal identity must be confirmed through a phone call. For example, companies may need to get a verbal commitment from an account holder agreeing to certain terms and conditions.
While many younger customers balk at making a phone call for service, older customers may prefer it over all other methods. Aim to serve all of your customer demographics through your communication methods. Prioritize inclusivity that allows you to provide the best service possible.
Support All Your Customers, No Matter Their Contact Preference
At the end of the day, your customers just want to feel valued. Show them you appreciate them by meeting them where they are. Depending on your industry, you may need to maintain more traditional ways of communicating with your customers. Some individuals may prefer to speak over the phone, especially about sensitive matters.
If you’re in a cutting-edge space, you may need to be an early adopter of technology like secure video messaging. Research your core customer demographics and survey your existing customer database to learn their preferences. Design your communications approach based on real feedback and be open to adjustment over time. When you put your customers’ preferences at the forefront, you can serve them better with each encounter.