StrategyDriven Marketing and Sales Article

4 Benefits of Incorporating Customer Service Into Your Marketing Strategy

StrategyDriven Marketing and Sales ArticleIt is no secret that customer service can make or break a business. When customers are satisfied with the products or services that your business provides, they are more likely to continue doing business with your company. Additionally, happy customers are far more inclined to recommend your products to friends or family members. Providing quality and consistent customer service can be a challenge for many businesses. To help you overcome this obstacle, here are four benefits of incorporating customer service into your marketing strategy:

1. Improve the Reputation of Your Brand

Ensuring that customer service is an integral part of your marketing strategy can give your brand a competitive edge over similar types of businesses. This means that consumers will continue coming back to your business to spend their money.

2. Expand Brand Awareness

As an increasing number of consumers are doing the majority of their shopping online, online reviews have become more important than ever. Many prospective customers may read these reviews when deciding whether or not to do business with your company. By incorporating customer service into your marketing strategy, you increase the number of opportunities for positive customer interactions. This may result in an increased number of positive customer reviews which can instill trust and confidence in prospective buyers.

3. Increase Brand Loyalty

Positive interactions with your customers are key to developing a loyal fanbase. Companies like SolidCactus offer call center services and other digital marketing solutions that can help ensure that your customers get the quality service they expect from your brand. These positive interactions can drive referrals and help spread the word about your business. Similarly, negative customer experiences can result in negative reviews which can hinder sales and cause long-term damage to your brand.

4. Encourage Cross-Departmental Communication

Incorporating customer service into your marketing strategy can lead to more unified communication across various parts of your business. When properly executed, a customer support team is made aware of any specials or promotions your marketing team is running. In turn, customer support is able to refer customers to the marketing materials.

Customer service is a cornerstone of any successful business. When you incorporate customer service into your marketing strategy, it can yield some serious results. Creating a positive customer experience gives your business a unique selling proposition which can encourage brand loyalty and lead to repeat customers.

StrategyDriven Customer Relationship Management Article

Non-Verbal Customer Communication: It’s More Important Than You Think

When we think about communicating with customers, our focus is usually on establishing the right things to say. However, as any communications expert will tell you, there is far more to getting your message across than just words. According to lots of different studies, non-verbal communication is a lot more important than you might think – in fact, it represents up to 50 percent of the message you are trying to get across.

Some of this non-verbal communication is obvious, of course. We all know that talking to a customer with a smile on your face is a lot more effective than doing it while looking at the floor or slouched behind a desk with your feet up. However, there are a lot more aspects of non-verbal communication that are incredibly subtle, and if you don’t know what to look for, you could be giving off the wrong signs. Let’s take a look at everything you need to know.

Appearance counts

How you look and what you wear is a lot more important than you can imagine. Simply put, if you aren’t dressing properly with clothes that are in excellent condition and smart, you will lose custom. Make sure your employees are aware of the impact of how they dress, and also that they have good hygiene habits!

Your business appearance counts, too

But it’s not just your appearance that counts. It’s also the cleanliness of your vehicle or the state of your store. If customers come into spend money with you, they want to see a clean environment. You need to take care of tidiness and ensure that your business premises are free from dirt and mess. Good ventilation, concern for excessive environmental noise – it’s all important and has an impact on your customer’s opinion of your business.

Make it easy

Not all customers want to have a chat with your employees. For example, shoppers who come into your store on a lunch break may just want to pop in, make a purchase and leave as quickly as possible, not get drawn into the finer points of your industry. So, it’s vital that you communicate well with these people, too. Signage plays an important role here, so consider using visual cues – not just text but images, for instance. Hang displays from ceiling magnets, defining each area of your premises. Guide your customers with arrow symbols. And make it easy for them to get what they need without talking.

The importance of eye contact

Finally, as humans, we talk to each other face to face. We do this because it is a better way of establishing intent and, therefore, trust.  For example, if someone is going to punch you in the nose, you will usually be able to ascertain their intentions beforehand because you will see it in their eyes. So, if you and your employees are avoiding looking your customer in the eye, the simple truth is that they won’t trust you – even if it’s only subconsciously. It’s a sign of indifference and bad manners, too, and it will cost you in customers and sales.

StrategyDriven Customer Relationship Management Article

You May Be Annoying Your Customers, And Not Even Know It

We all want our customers to like our business. Actually, forget that: it’s better to say that we NEED our customers to like our business. Studies have consistently shown people are more likely to spend money with companies that they, well, like. It sounds simple, and to a degree it is, but it’s also true that some businesses are turning their customers off, and they don’t even realise it. Below, we take a look at a few common issues that customers take exception to, and what you can do to change it.

You’re Not Polite

It’s easy to be all smiles when you just get your business up and running. But after a while, when business is steady, you can begin to take your customers for granted, and when that happens, your customer service standards can begin to drop. There’s no great trick to this: it simply comes down to treating your customers for what they are, humans. You should endeavor to make your customers feel like a friend and to show that you hold their business in high esteem. If you can begin to see them just as a number, then they’ll soon find a new company.

Your Website is a Mess

If you’re mostly operating online, then you might want to check that you’re not guilty of committing one of the cardinal website sins. It’ll depend on who you’re trying to target, but remember that there are large pockets of internet users that object to invasive pop-ups, overly aggressive marketing, and autoplay videos. All of these things might help to drive traffic to your website, but that’s not your end game – you’re trying to bring them on board as customers, not just spend a few minutes on your site. Take a look at your site: if it didn’t belong to you, would you like it?

You Don’t Have Any Values

It’s no longer enough to be in the money-making game. Customers are increasingly conscious of spending their money with companies that hold progressive values, and ones that care about more than just their bottom line. To check that your business practices – and supply chain – would get the approval of public opinion, considering conducting an ethical audit. It’ll make sure that all aspects of your business are in line with your branding. Nothing will undo a company’s hard work quite like a poor ethical standing.

Overpromise, Underdeliver

It’s understandable that you want to create the best possible image of your company. After all, it’s competitive out there, and you need customers to go with you. However, you need to ensure that you can deliver what you promise. It’s much better to over deliver on your promises than the opposite. If you’re talking a big game, make sure you can back it up.

Shady Practices

Finally, remember that people like honesty. If you’re cutting corners, not respecting email opt-out requests, and the like, then you’ll lose all credibility in the eyes of your customers. And what’s that’s gone, it’s impossible to get it back.

Hello, We’re Here To Help You Get On Top Of Live-Chat On Your Website

Given that you’re selling goods online, it’s likely you browse competitor’s sites often. How better to get an idea of what you’re up against? During such research, you’ve probably come across a few websites which offer live chats. You know the ones. You’ve been on the site for a while and a chat pings from the corner, saying ‘Hello, I’m Sam, and I’m here to help.’.

In truth, this is something you’ll now find from most internet based businesses. And, it’s nothing new. This is a 21st-century version of a staff member asking if there’s anything they can help with. It’s a tried and tested method which shows customers you care. As such, it’s worth incorporating this into your online store. But, before you do, ask yourself these questions to make sure you get it right.

Is your internet up to the task?

First, consider whether your internet is up to the job. The only thing worse than not offering online chat is providing one which loses connection. If your internet drops when a customer reaches out, that’s a lost sale. If this happens a few times, you can kiss goodbye to seeing any benefit here. As such, you should consider working with an IT Consultant like eSudo who can help you get a better connection for your money. Plus, such services offer ongoing support if you do run into glitches. As such, your chat should never be out of service for long. Then, you can sit back and start reaping the rewards of this extra mile.

How long should you wait until advertising live chat?

No customer likes to be bombarded the moment they click on your page. They don’t know whether they need help at this stage. As such, an immediate popup will only put people off. Instead, it’s worth delaying your live-chat. But, how long should you wait? Leave it too long and you may lose the sale. Get it too early, and you’ll annoy people. How you work this may be a case of trial and error. Consider, on average, how long people stay on your site, and how long it takes them to find what they want. Often, 30 seconds or so should be long enough. It’s time for visitors to get acquainted with what you do, and whether they might want your services.

How many people should you dedicate to this task?

It’s also worth asking yourself how many staff members you should set to this task. The thing to remember here is that no one person needs to focus solely on this. Live-chat won’t be going off at every moment of the day. As such, this can become a background task. But, you may want to put this in the background of more than one staff members’ workday. That way, there won’t ever be a time when a chat query goes unanswered. As a rule, then, you want to dedicate as many staff members to this as you can without compromising on workload.

StrategyDriven Customer Relationship Management Article

How to properly execute an online review management program

StrategyDriven Customer Relationship Management Article00As a business owner or manager, if you are thinking about assembling an online review management program, you are already on the right path to managing the reputation of your company online. Properly executing an online review management strategy in order to benefit your company takes some critical thought, training, and repetition, but the payoff is ultimately being able to provide potential customers with professional profiles that are truly indicative of the quality service and goods you provide.

Executing on Your Online Review Management Program

If you are looking to make sure the process you’re implementing is successful, you’ll want to make sure that you are constantly checking in with staff and the results to see what’s working and to detect weak areas early on if any exist. We always recommend auditing your current online reviews prior to putting a new plan in place, so that you can set goals appropriately and log progress against the original values.

As you are setting up your review management program, make sure you also appoint a single person (whether this is yourself, a manager, or another staff member) to head this project. By allowing this program to “free float” between staff members, it is more likely to get dropped by the wayside or slip through the cracks when it comes to execution. Similarly, make sure you are scheduling time each week to review progress.

Once your plan is in place, you’ll want to complete the following steps:

Set Expectations

Part of your online review management program is going to consist of setting expectations, or goals. This could mean that you’d like to have 5 new reviews left on your business’s Google My Business profile within two months.

But setting expectations should also mean that you are clearly outlining that you expect staff to treat customers, clients, or patients with a set level of quality care. Similarly, let staff know that you’d like them to ask each customer for a review and to ensure that they specify a designated professional profile, like Google.

These expectations should also be held for yourself; are you asking for reviews and working to ensure that customers have a positive experience? Make sure the expectations surrounding this program are entirely positive and aimed at bettering the company as a whole.

Follow up with Staff

Once your online review management program has been set into action, make sure you’re taking time each week to check in with staff. Ask them what kind of reactions they get from customers after they’re asked to leave a review to see if an alternative method, like using a reputation management software that sends text messages, may work better.

Make sure you’re also asking staff how they feel! Do they feel awkward when asking? Has one staff member developed a great flow of conversation that leads into asking for a review much more seamlessly? These are details that should be shared and accommodated to make sure everyone is successful.

Review the Results

At set intervals, you will want to make sure that you are reviewing the results. By this point, your goals and expectations should be realistic, so seeing one review gained after two weeks of action shouldn’t necessarily be taken as a failure.

Reviewing results monthly and quarterly may be a good way to see trends and manage outcomes by working one-on-one with staff to develop better methods of asking for reviews!