If You’re Branding Yourself As Customer Friendly, Be Customer Friendly!

On May 7, 2013, wrote:

Roughly 83 percent of online shoppers expect some level of support during the shopping process, according to a 2013 report by LivePerson. Whether you’re an online retailer or a B2B marketing company, you have people who purchase and use your product or service regularly, and at some point, they’re going to need your help.

And they’re going to need it now!

How you reach out to these customers in their hour of need, makes all the difference. Your customer service efforts can make or break your brand. It’s all about understanding your customers’ needs and doing everything in your power to meet them. Needless to say, your company needs to have excellent customer service in order to be able to meet the needs of such circumstances.

The good news is that technology has changed the customer service landscape, so you can personalize the experience. Here are four tools to help keep customers engaged with your brand.

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Applications

CRM applications manage to market campaign effectiveness, track and record interactions with customers, offer insight into opportunities through sales leads, and gauge buying behaviors to better understand the customer base. It uses technology to automate, organize and synchronize tech support, customer service, marketing and sales. For the uninitiated, companies like Salesforce.com, ZoHo and Oracle offer online or physical software solutions that make it easy to manage all data related to your customers.

Chat

Provide a way for customers to easily locate and initiate a chat session with you. Offer direct and easily accessible live chat on your website. It’s also important to keep response times down. There’s a reason your customers are reaching out to you when they log on. They don’t want to spend 30 minutes on hold. Making customers wait in a chat window defeats the purpose of easy online communication.

Social media

While social media are a very conversational medium, social networks are where businesses should go to listen. According Forrester Research, brands should think of sites like Facebook and Twitter as listening posts. You can easily and quietly watch to see what Internet chatter your brand is getting. Put the conversations into context, though, as they don’t represent the majority. From time to time you can respond with queries about your brand on social media but it’s not the end all, be all of customer service.

Review sites

Finally, there are review sites like Yelp, Google Places and Merchant Circle where current and past customers will congregate and either praise your brand for delivering a fine product, or voice complaints about your service. While it may be tempting to get frustrated, and even fire back at your critics, run from this temptation and avoid it like the plague.

Instead, use this as an opportunity to engage with your users. Naturally, there will be upset customers that are just content to be upset, but don’t underestimate the power of accompanying the cost of a retail item or giving a little something for nothing. Since this is all out in the open on a review site, it showcases your stellar customer service abilities to all viewers.


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