Wondering how important it is—really—to engage with your customers via social channels?The customer support gurus at HelpScout discovered that 56% of customers who use real-time channels to interact with an organization say they feel a stronger connection. Platforms that allow brands to have real-time e-conversations with consumers—such as instant messaging and SMS, Twitter, Facebook, and other social channels—provide a unique potential to boost customer engagement and solidify consumer relationships. Real-time channels blend two key objectives of communications strategy: customer engagement and customer care. Because the platform fosters open-ended conversations, brands can use these channels not just to answer questions and address customer service issues, but also to market and share content and start a branded dialogue with customers, promoting 2-way engagement that invites customers to talk back to your brand. Successful dialogues don’t just provide an efficient means of addressing customer concerns; by opening a direct channel of communication they create the opportunity to offer a personalized experience that will delight customers and create brand advocates. Let’s eavesdrop on a conversation between a customer and manager that took place via the SMS-based feedback platform enabled by OwnerListens:
Customer: Line is really long, as usual. I wish you guys used OrderAhead.
Manager: Thanks for your feedback! Unfortunately, we can’t support OrderAhead at our Main St location, but guess what! We’ll be opening 2 new locations on the East side this year—one at Washington Park, and one at College and Goethe. Our new Washington Park location will be opening next month, and will offer OrderAhead for your convenience. I hope we’ll see you there.
Customer: Awesome! Let me know the minute it opens.Good customer service demands that businesses respond quickly and thoughtfully to customer concerns. But great customer service isn’t just reactive—it’s proactive. This manager took the initiative to provide her customer with info about how to get the service she wanted, and in the process alerted the customer to a new location and opened up another opportunity to get that customer’s business. Not only that, but the messaging platform allows the dialogue to remain open-ended. Now, this manager can easily contact the customer to let her know when the new location opens, or if the current location begins using OrderAhead—or any other info that would be pertinent to this customer. Superior customer care involves using feedback as a starting point for establishing deeper relationships with customers. Customer comments may often come at the end of a transaction, but they can mark the beginning of an ongoing conversation that allows you communicate product and service info that will tempt your customer back, while helping develop a stronger bond with your brand. Let’s look at another proactive response to customer feedback:
Customer: Tresor was pretty good! I’m gonna try a tea next time.
Manager: Hi! Thanks for the compliment. Tresor is our most popular coffee blend, but if you’re going to go for a tea next time, we recommend our Morocco Select, a combination of black and green teas along with some spices and a little bit of mint. It’s a specialty you can only get here, and it’s a drink of choice for our regulars as well as our team. Hope to see you soon!This manager seizes on the customer comment as an opportunity to engage the customer and shore up that future visit. He offers a product recommendation, provides all of the relevant info, generates enthusiasm about the product by emphasizing its popularity and exclusivity, and wraps it up with a call to action, reminding the customer that he wants to come back. The numbers show just how effective this strategy is. When companies engage and respond to customer service requests via real-time channels, those customers end up spending 20% to 40% more with the company. And customers who experience positive social care (i.e. a quick and effective brand response) become nearly 4x more likely to recommend that brand to others. Good customer service may satisfy your existing customer, but great customer service—proactive customer service—ensures you’ll get the chance to keep showing new customers how great your service can be. OwnerListens offers customer feedback solutions that have the best traits of real-time systems and private communication. With SMS-based feedback, owners and managers can both provide excellent customer service and protect their online reputation.