"WHAT'S CAUSING ALL THE FRICTION FOR OUR CUSTOMERS?"
Are we making it harder for our customers to do business with us? This question is being asked more and more as businesses struggle to keep up with the ever-changing customer expectations. Customer service is key to maintaining a good reputation, but many businesses are sacrificing it in favour of other priorities. In this article, we'll explore some of the ways that businesses are making it difficult for their customers to get the help they need.
Unless your business has made some sort of appearance in the news recently, it might come as a surprise that consumers are now more wary of businesses than ever before. There’s also a new generation of customers who expect brands to be always accessible and transparent. In fact, this new breed of consumer knows exactly what they want and will not hesitate to get it from whomever can provide it the fastest.
The 3 Reasons Why You Should Engage Your Customers to Make it Easier for Them to Do Business with You
1. User Experience is Becoming Even More Important post-pandemic
If you’re like most businesses, you have a crisis plan in place in the event of an emergency. You have plans for how to handle storms, power outages, large-scale accidents, and even terrorist threats. In an ideal world, these types of events only happen once in a while. But, in today’s world, everything is considered an emergency, and it is becoming increasingly challenging for businesses to deal with the sheer volume of events — especially those that are unexpected. Businesses must now be prepared for pandemics, natural disasters, civil unrest, cyber attacks, extreme weather and political upheaval. And, on top of that, customers are also demanding more from businesses than ever before.
2. Transparency Should Be a Priority to build better customer relationships
When it comes to customer relationships, transparency is the new king. Consumers want to know that businesses are sharing important information with them, rather than keeping them in the dark. They want to know that businesses are being honest with them, not only with their products and services but also with where they are putting their money. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to make every decision you make public — only the ones that might affect your customers. But, it does mean that you should be thinking about how to be as transparent as possible. You should also be thinking about how to build a culture of transparency in your business that will make it easier for your customers to trust you.
3. It’s Important to be Responsive to your customer
In the past, businesses could make all the poor decisions they wanted without having to worry about how their customers would respond. But now, customers expect businesses to respond to their questions, complaints, and feedback every time. And, if a business isn’t responsive, customers will let them know just how unhappy they are. This means that businesses must make it a priority to respond to all inquiries, feedback, and complaints from their customers. This includes everything from social media comments to emails, voicemails, and even letters.
How Can Your Business Become More Responsive?
For starters, make sure that your business has a plan in place for responding to customer questions and feedback. This should include everything from what department or employee is responsible for responding to what information is important to include in each response. Besides making sure that your team knows how to respond to customers, you should also be sure that they are being empowered to respond to customers as quickly as possible. If your team members know that they can respond to a customer as soon as they receive an inquiry, they will most likely do so. In fact, if it takes you more than 1 or 2 business hours for you to respond the chances are high that the customer or prospect has moved on.
Next look at the entire journey a customer goes through to do business with you. Analyse it as a team and figure out where all the ‘gotchas’ are. Fix them immediately. But also build a rapid response team internally to continuously be looking at the customer journey, all of your touch points as well as your service journey. Keep them aligned, but also bring customers in to discuss these things with your employees. Let’s go a step further and see how your customers use your products or services. This way employees have much more sympathy when they see the joy (or the frustration) on your customer’s faces.
Final Thoughts and What's Next
In the end, there is no one magic bullet for making it easier for customers to do business with your company. Instead, there are many things you can do that will help your customers feel more engaged with your business and empowered to make decisions that are right for them. As a challenge for you and your team, take a look at the process of doing business with you from your customer’s perspective. Look at each step along the way and ask yourselves, “are we making it easy or hard to do business with us”?