These days there are many technologies to help you promote your company, ranging from Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) to social media sites like Facebook and Twitter.
Even though they may be very good at attracting potential new customers, how good are they for maintaining and building customer relationships?.
People buy from people and a bad experience will always be remembered.
If we go back just over 25 years, 99 per cent of business was completed by the office telephone or mail (posting a letter in the mailbox).
If you needed to speak with your customers you would pick up your office phone and call them and your customers would call you to enquire about products and services and to place orders – or they would write a letter if required.
Business was carried out like this for many decades and customers were happy. In the late 1980’s a digital revolution was happening. More and more businesses and homes started to purchase computers and connect to dial-up internet. This made sending electronic mail a quick and exciting way of communicating with each other.
By the mid 1990’s email was already becoming the preferred medium for communicating between businesses and people had gone from checking their emails weekly to expecting responses within hours.
Nowadays customers expect replies to their emails within minutes. Within a lot of contact centres emails are handled in call queues in the same way as telephone calls, with response times and handling times being recorded.
With the latest technologies, business and customer collaboration has moved to the next level. With applications like Microsoft Lync and Skype you now have multiple ways to communicate with your partners. Adding customers to your Lync address book will allow you to see their presence and status, start and instance chat or even schedule a video conference with them direct from your laptop, desktop or mobile phone.
Additional features like being able to add a short update message to your profile allow you to discreetly promote to your contacts the products or services that you are currently working on.
The key benefits of these technologies are that they help you talk to your customers quickly and easily via voice call, video conference and instant messaging, or a mixture of the three with multiple parties participating in the call.
They also allow you to respond to product and service request by sending hyperlinks, documents or images direct to the chat session whilst you are talking, in order to help demonstrate and sell your products and make you stand out from your competitors.
One of the impacts of the internet has been that services, products and prices have tended to converge. The final decision to purchase from you rather than a competitor these days can be down to shipping cost or the customer services the buyer experiences.
Websites that have a call to action for a chat session direct from their webpage, allowing buyers to speak instantly to an advisor about the product details or stock level and delivery times, are more likely to close the sale.
Everybody expects instant response and great customer service these days. With the ability to buy the same product from many websites and businesses at the same price and shipping cost how will you make your business stand out from the crowd?
The future of customer service is customer collaboration. The modern customer demands information and support at their fingertips.
With the latest technology, we can communicate with our customers, promote to our customers and support our customers all from one application. This helps to build closer relationships and trust and provide customer satisfaction.