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If McKinsey & Company's July findings are any indication, consumers have rediscovered their power in the pandemic. Due to a combination of product shortages, economic and professional concerns, and a general willingness to change their buying behavior, 75 percent of shoppers say they have behaved differently since the coronavirus began to spread. In many cases, their new buying habits have left them exposed to unknown brands.
This is a great blessing, especially for entrepreneurs trying to disrupt a market or industry. Under normal circumstances, it can be difficult to get consumers to distance themselves from the products and services of their favorite companies. However, given the general uncertainty in the world, customers are increasingly open to giving untested organizations the opportunity to inspire them.
If your startup or small business hasn't focused on customer service, then this couldn't be a better time to do a big customer-centric push. However, you need to make sure that you have the infrastructure, protocols and tools in place to ensure that the first impression of your brand is downright impressive.
Below are a few ways you can improve your game when it comes to serving current and potential customers.
1. Leverage the technology to make sure your sales time is quick and responsive
Your sales team cannot afford to drop the ball anywhere and anytime, especially when customers are so freely moving from one product to the next. Mixmax, a sales engagement tool, offers the time management advantages of using critical sales tools that let your sales team focus less on tedious tasks and more on locating. Make sure they have the resources they need to take customers from lead generation to conversion by investing in the best tech stack for your needs and goals.
What kind of solutions could be useful? If your focus is on improving the responsiveness of your sales reps, whether they work from home or from the office, you can go for high quality telephone and video conferencing software that integrates most forms of visual and audio communication. On the flip side, you may want to optimize the information your prospects get. If so, you may be more interested in adding a secure contract management system to your toolkit.
Related: How the sales process has evolved dramatically to fit the future
2. Centralize knowledge so everyone can be a star in customer service
Nothing frustrates customers more than not being able to get quick answers to their questions. A quick way to ensure that everyone in your company can solve a customer's problems is to set up a centralized knowledge management database that can be stored on your intranet or other cloud-based software. You may even want to add a company wiki so employees can find all the information with just one login.
By giving everyone on your team access to customer information like purchase history, contact points and other data, you don't have to exchange consumers between service reps. Centralized knowledge management systems can also be invaluable when you've removed part or all of your workforce.
3. Channel your inner nostradamus and predict customer questions
You want to make it as easy as possible for customers to find answers to potential questions. According to Drift's 2020 Conversational Marketing Status Report, 34 percent of consumers say they cannot find the information they need online as it's their biggest disadvantage for customer service. Rather than forcing potential buyers to search for the solutions they want, make your website rich in content that will give them the insight they crave. Many customers find it attractive to be able to solve their own problems, and they will appreciate being able to find answers quickly.
What should your content look like? Ideally, you should have a variety of frequently asked questions about content on your website. The content can take the form of videos, written copies, pictures, blueprints, schematics, instructions, or even GIFs. Whatever you find helpful, it has to be a home on your website. Of course, you might want a more traditional page devoted to the biggest FAQs your sales reps and customer experiences (CX) reps hear. Just make sure your FAQs are up to date and don't get out of date or irrelevant.
Related Topics: 5 Tips To Help You Create Great Content While Working From Home
4. Stay vigilant on social media
Spend a little time social listening and you can find out exactly what your customers want. And you're in good company: more than half of companies currently use social media listening to get real-time consumer information. Of course, a lot of customers will talk about what they didn't like about a CX. However, your honesty is exactly what you need to hear and read. Add social listening to your sales and marketing plan today. That way, if you discover that a customer is dissatisfied with you or, better yet, a competitor, you can act quickly.
For example, you can find a critical review of your latest gadgets on Twitter. Treat this knowledge as an opportunity to solve the problem. Connect with the user publicly or privately and work together to resolve the problem. Most people are willing to work with companies to get what they want. And you could turn a disgruntled shopper into an avid fan if you're quick on the draw, take crisis management seriously, and empower your CX team to do the right thing in every situation.
5. Make being your customer a rewarding and unique adventure.
Why do buyers rave about Apple, Lululemon or Southwest Airlines? While their products and services are usually well-considered, the key to the brands' almost iconic followers is culture. The desire to be part of a community is a basic human desire and certain companies have made it an amazing experience to be their loyal customer.
When trying to develop a large following of fanatics who wouldn't think of going anywhere, consider the user experience from start to finish. Look for ways to exceed expectations and make shopping with you not only a pleasure but also a must. You could end up building a society of kindred spirits, like BMW did with its MINI vehicle series. MINI drivers see themselves as part of a movement and collective, and the brand promotes that camaraderie on their website. Who doesn't want to be part of the "in" crowd?
Related Topics: How To Earn (And Keep) Your Customers' Trust
Customers are moving like never before and are in a discovery phase. Meet them where they are and surprise them with a CX like you've never had before. They are more likely to rave about, let alone stick with your organization for the long term.