Customer Engagement 101: Engaging With Thousands in Minutes
These days customer service is more than providing a great product or service – it’s about understanding and anticipating customer needs. According to a report by Salesforce, 54% of customers think companies need to fundamentally transform how they engage. The same report explains that customers expect a lot when it comes to how companies communicate with them. Here are three findings that might impact your business:
Your customers expect you to answer questions before they even ask them.
Customers expect you to be anywhere they are. That means you must be ready to communicate with them through any channel at any time.
Last, your customers expect you to remember everything about them, their transactions, and their problems. And no, it doesn’t matter to them how they contacted you, who they talked to, or if it was a week ago or a year. You must track all of it.
I know what you’re thinking. It’s crazy that customers constantly want more. You’re expected to figure out how to keep up? It’s not fair, but it gets worse. Your ability to do (or not do) everything above will impact your reputation. If you start to slip, so do your review scores online. Next thing you know, business slows because customers flock to competitors who get it right. Add to the that the fact that you might need to stay engaged with hundreds—even thousands—of customers and stuff really gets crazy.
But fear not, friends, this is nowhere near as tough as you think. In this piece, we’ll look at how slight tweaks to the way you engage with customers mixed with the right tools can help you do everything above and more. First, let’s explore what customer engagement really is and why it’s so goshdarn important.
Customer Engagement Is More Than You Realize
Is customer engagement answering questions on Facebook? Is it sending a newsletter to keep people informed? Is it making sure customers get what they came for when they visit your business? Is it reading their minds? Yes, yes, yes, and yes. Engagement is responding to customers’ questions, requests, and demands as quickly and as conveniently as possible. It’s also keeping lines of communication wide open, so you can understand likes and dislikes, and adapt your business such that it always provides a stellar experience.
More Engagement = Free Marketing
Getting engagement right is tough but it’s essential for local businesses. If you get it right, your customers will reward you handsomely for it. The best of breed understand how to use engagement to not only create a better experience for customers, but to create a marketing machine out of the customers they already have. Businesses that get it right have a process that
generates constant feedback and a great online reputation, which leads to lots of new customers walking in their doors. This is a cycle which repeats and grows with each iteration. More engagement results in happier customers, who then share their feedback and experience with others who didn’t know the brand. The more consistent you are, the better it works and the more you grow.
zSo, how do you do it? How do you create great, seamless, and personalized experiences with hundreds or thousands of customers over months without becoming overwhelmed? When you get down to it, businesses must do three things well to be masters of engagement.
1. Be Available Anywhere (Especially Over Text)
A customer or prospect has a question? It doesn’t matter where they ask it—your website, email, or whatever—you’d better answer fast. And did you know that If your business can’t text customers (and keep those conversations organized), it’s time to adapt. As the Salesforce data shows us, you’ll need to keep on top of every transaction, communication, and tiny little detail of the customer relationship. Now, do it for every single customer and prospect. Tough, right? Wrong. Technology makes it easy to do things like:
Bring Messages Together – Between multiple browser tabs, devices, and conversations, keeping on top of lots of messages can be pure chaos. Tools like Swell Message let you bring together messages from email, text messages, Facebook Messenger, and more, all into one place. That means you don’t have to spend time hunting down messages to reply to customers and prospects. They can ask you questions however it’s convenient for them, and you and your team members can all answer from one place.
Organize Conversations – Remember when we said you must remember everything about your customers? When you bring all your messages together, you get a full record of every communication you’ve had with a customer. This means anyone on your team has a record of every moment in the customer/business relationship. How nice is that?
Go Beyond Email and Phone Calls – The most convenient method of communication for many people is text messaging and webchat. In fact, U.S. smartphone users send and receive texts five times more than they make and receive calls. Your customers don’t just want these things, they expect it. If your business doesn’t have a webchat or can’t text with customers, you’re behind. Luckily, tools like Swell make it easy to add a webchat to your site, even if you don’t know anything about coding. Add to that a way to text customers from your business, and you have an easy-to-use grand slam.
Scale-Up Big Time – You must provide an excellent experience to customers and prospects alike—hundreds and hopefully thousands of them. If you’re a growing business, your customer base is growing, which means you need a way to engage effectively as you scale up; shuffling tabs around ain’t gonna cut it. You need a tool with a single pane of glass that lets your whole team answer hundreds of questions no matter where they came from. You’ll also want to find solutions that let you bulk send text messages and emails to keep people informed, to gather feedback, and what have you. Done right, tools like these help you engage with thousands of people in just minutes a day.
2. Be Super Responsive
There’s a reason Facebook business pages monitor how long it takes you to reply. It matters. If you look unresponsive or don’t reply to customer and prospects fast, your competition sure as hell will. This applies doubly for times when a customer has a problem. More often than not, your customers won’t even tell you they have a problem. How do you get their feedback and repair your relationship before they ghost you? Technology:
Get Notified – What if you got a notification anytime you got a text, email, or Facebook Message? The right engagement tools make it easy to stay on top of things.
Bring Messages Together – This bears repeating. Having every message in one place helps you and your team respond faster (and remember key details of that particular customer). No tab shuffling, no headaches, just great service.
Set up Automations – There should be no delay between a customer asking a question and an expert answering it. Make sure any engagement tool you use allows you to assign new messages to the people who can help the fastest. This saves you time routing inquiries, so your customers get answers immediately.
3. Be Proactive About Customer Experience
It’s not enough to solve problems. You must anticipate them. Engagement often means finding out what customers like and don’t like before you make a mistake, so you’re less likely to upset someone. Basically, you must improve constantly. If you’re not finding ways to improve the customer experience through better services, products, and so on, it won’t be long before your competition bests you. So, where’s that crystal ball when you need it? It’s right here: (you guessed it) technology.
Ask for Feedback Through Surveys – Want to know how you can do better? Ask! Just opening the lines of communication will give you all kinds of info about customer preference. This lets you find out what you’re doing well and what could be better.
Solicit Online Reviews – Local businesses grow if they can provide excellent service and products and make sure everyone knows it. Reviews help with the latter category. Getting more reviews online proves you’re reputable and gives people a reason to trust you. They also happen to boost your search rankings and help you get found when people search for you.
Ok, That’s a Crap Load of Stuff. You Said It Was Easy?
It’s easy, but only if you know the right tools to use. With Swell, the process is as simple as can be:
Get Set Up With Swell. It only takes a few minutes a day to do everything we’ve talked about and much of it is automated. Give us thirty minutes to help you get it up and running.
Set Up Automations. After you’ve set up Swell, you can decide who gets review invites, when, and through which medium (text or email). You can also create routing rules so inbound messages go to the right people in your organization.
Learn Swell Message — This will be your single pane of glass to manage customer engagement. You can reply to reviews, text customers, email them, and even chat with people visiting your website, all in one place.
Gather Feedback – Set up some simple surveys to learn more about what you’re doing right and wrong.
Monitor and Maintain – Take a few minutes a day to check your online review scores across multiple review platforms. This lets you monitor your progress and gives you a quick way to respond to issues or continue engagement after you’ve made a sale.
Wanna see how easy it can be? Reach out to our team to get your free demo today.