Here, the CEO at Yonder Digital Group, Chris Robinson, offers owners five easy tips to help improve their firm’s communication strategy and to keep customers loyal to their brand.
Customer experience is one of the biggest challenges small business owners face, and it definitely shouldn’t be overlooked.
Every year for UK businesses, poor customer service reportedly leads to £12bn in losses, and low “contactability” standards has been revealed as one of the key reasons.
A recent survey of over 2,000 UK consumers from digital group Yonder showed that the majority of sectors are failing to provide “excellent” contactability to their customers by making it difficult for them get an answer to a query or resolution to an issue.
Utility companies, DIY stores, fashion brands and delivery firms were, for example, amongst those business types rated as “poor” in terms of contactability by almost a fifth of those consumers polled.
On the other hand, online retailers, banks and hotels ranked high in the list, despite just 20 per cent of consumers rating the overall communication strategy of firms in these sectors as excellent.
This data is particularly worrying when combined with previous research, which showed that 81 per cent of consumers tended to take their business elsewhere if their queries weren’t answered quickly and effectively enough by a company.
The old adage “every customer counts” is even more pertinent for small firms, since any customer who defects and takes their business elsewhere will ultimately have a significant impact on the bottom line. Therefore, keeping customers happy is key.
A voicemail message is not what your customers want to hear when they call for your help. Here are five easy tips to help improve your firm’s communication strategy.
Don’t hide your contact details
No one likes to waste their time looking for a contact number or email address. If your customers need help or have a question, they’ll want to find a way to get in touch with you as quickly as possible. Make it easy for them and make your contact information easily accessible.
Give your customers the power to choose
Some 84 per cent of consumers are more likely to stay loyal to brands that offer a range of “touchpoints”. Business owners can adopt a multichannel approach by providing a range of options for your customers to get in contact. This will allow your customers to choose the best option for them, whether it is an email, a phone call or posing a question on a live chat platform.
Customers enjoy live interaction
While more and more small businesses are investing in digital technology and channels to support their customer service, 87 per cent of UK consumers said that they tend to stay more loyal and increase their business with companies that offer a real person to talk to when needed.
Live interaction is more direct and it offers a more personalised service. For example, if a customer service agent is aware that a customer is a regular buyer, then they can personalise their service and look for opportunities to upsell.
Technology, on the other hand, can be used to ensure that customer service agents are able to see previous interactions between the customer and company and to track customers’ journeys and habits.
Train your sales representatives
Make sure that the sales agents who are dealing directly with customers are skilled and suitably trained. If information about customers’ details and habits is made readily available, then the sales agent will be able to use it to offer a more tailored service.
Don’t put your customers on hold
You don’t want your customers to feel forgotten by being put on hold for too long. Improving your live services by reducing waiting times, can make a difference to your customers’ mood.
If there’s an urgent query that needs to be answered, it’s important for the customer to be able to talk to a human agent fairly quickly. A long wait can be highly damaging for the company in the long-term.
With technology, waiting times can be gradually reduced, and with the right tools businesses can gather useful data, such as the number and type of queries received, and adapt their customer services options accordingly.
Eight out of ten consumers willing to pay more for a better customer experience, so small businesses should be careful not to underestimate the power of “CX”. Maintaining open and varied channels of communication is essential if you want to answer your customers’ queries efficiently and effectively.
Chris Robinson is CEO at Yonder Digital Group
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