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The biggest competitive advantage that I can offer you is to meet your consumers’ needs better than your competitors, and to know what kind of research tools are available for this mission.
Meeting your consumers’ needs isn’t quite simple and you may feel like they want everything possible, as fast as possible and for the cheapest price possible. It sounds overwhelming but in some sense that’s exactly how every single one of us are, at an intrinsic level, as a customer.
You have to face the fact that you are never going to be able to meet all the needs your customers may have. Get over it. There’s no way to do it all. However, you can focus on what is within your reach to meet as many customer needs as possible and to get amazing returns in the process. There is one vertical you can work on that will bring your business many results over time:
It puts you right in front of your customers and gives you the chance to have an open conversation with them. It is through customer service that you will have the chance to understand exactly what they want. And guess what: when you know what they want, you can sell that to them!
In a world where the business environment gets wilder (in a good sense) everyday, going smart with customer service plays a major role in standing out from the crowd. It’s easy to make sense of focusing on customer service if you look at successful companies such as Amazon, Apple, Costco and Salesforce.
A recent Inc. article asked the following question: have you ever heard of anyone who has a bad experience with customer service from one of the companies above? Let me know if you have. I certainly haven’t.
To get to where they are today, these companies put clients on top of everything else and worked to get them satisfied. They certainly have their own particular answers to some questions like:
- What do customers really want?
- What motivates consumers?
- How do they shop and make decisions?
You can have answers for those questions too. In fact, the intersection between the answers to those questions and your company, is the exact spot you want to be in.
In this article, I will help you get a new approach to insights, learn what are the hard questions you need to ask yourself, and how to get the answers. In the end, you will have a full set of tools to be able to answer the above questions by yourself and to head in the direction of exceptional customer service. This article is a gold mine for you!
Mindset and Toolkit
Your attitude and understanding of what really matters
This is the basic, because if you don't have the right understanding of what really matters, anything I write below will not really help at all.
In customer service you need empathy, good manners, articulation and understanding. This is true for any field of business you are in, from real estate to technology services. It doesn’t matter what kind of client you are helping, empathy, manners and articulation are indispensable for a good experience.
Meet your customer when he acts!
You customers are the center of your business. You have to pay attention to them carefully, in every step of the sales process. You should try and watch them while they shop on your online store or use your product.
Try to understand how your customers make decisions on the next step they take in your website, if they buy something or not, how much time they spend on searching, how fast they decide to leave All these aspects are important to understanding your customers behaviors and how you can adjust your website to be in synchronicity with their actions.
How to do it?
Hotjar – one of the best ways to keep track of every step your
customer takes in the direction of your products. Hotjar gives you many tools to understand what users want, how they interact with your website and products, how they respond to certain stimuli and much more.
They offer heat maps that show where your customers focus on your website, conversion funnels that facilitate your sales process, form analysis, feedback pools, surveys of various kinds and user tests.
The old approach that always works – through observation and casual conversation. This has worked since the first time a human being decided to sell something to another individual.
1. Give your customers a platform to express themselves
Listen to what they have to say. From our own experience, a live chat on your website is a great tool that you can use to provide better user experience and to understand your customers more. Of course you need to train those who will give support through the chat and follow their performance to make sure they really listen and give real and caring responses to customers.
Clients need to feel they have a personal connection with the agent they are speaking to. They need to feel they are being listened to by another human being who is capable of understanding them. Otherwise, it will make no difference if you have a chat robot or an impolite, cold support agent. So choose to use a chat box with the right people on it. It will be the ultimate communication channel between customers, potential customers and your business.
How to do it?
LiveChat – it's a great tool that you can use to talk to your customers in real time. When you have it installed, you can receive instant messages from your clients and answer them right away.
You can also set up automatic messages to send to your visitors when they open a certain page or take a certain action.
If you do not have the manpower to support this service, you can use the Contact Us form, but try to provide a quick response whenever possible. Just make sure you get back to your visitors with satisfying answers. The speed in which you respond and the quality of the response plays a major role in your customer service and in your sales.
2. Better listening and learning with social media
Unfiltered conversations consumers are having about their preferences, experiences, and habits, all involving your brand, may be taking place on social media. You have to be aware of what’s being said about your brand, products, services, team, business place and anything that involves your image and branding. That’s also part of customer service.
If you don’t pay attention to it, it may be too late. Bad news spread out like a virus and are very hard to get over. Keep an eye on what people are talking about your brand and avoid getting burnt.
How to do it?
Mention - surprising tool that allows a business owner or PR manager to follow the way customers talk about his brand in social media. It monitors a wide range of platforms, including the most important ones: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube.
Mention gathers user data through social media and converts it into intelligible information about what is the attitude of potential customers towards the type of products or services you are selling. It gives you a complete view of what people are saying about your brand, if it’s good or bad, if it has spread out or not, etc. Very useful, especially for mid and large size companies.
Take responsibility for the OOPS!
You asked for feedback? Know how to deal with it. Whether or not you were directly responsible for what the customer is feeling. There are an infinity of things you can do to turn any situation around (considering your customer is upset about something).
With the right approach and a good dose of empathy, you can deal with any situation that comes your way. But to hear what your clients have to say, you must provide them the right means to give you feedback.
How to ask for a feedback? After a chat support, you can insert a quick survey asking the customer how he would rate the support received. Chat providers usually have an option to insert a survey at the end of the conversation.
Another possibility is to ask the customer to rate the call at the end as well. You can also, send an email and ask customers how the shopping experience was. I am sure the possibilities don’t end here. Use your creativity and communication channels at hand to hear from your customers.
Customer service done right
Customer service, is the art of listening to your customers and translating what you hear into the best products or services you could ever offer. With the right mindset and tools, it is possible to accomplish the task.
The accomplishments bring the benefits of a fresh company and increased revenues. It is just a matter of opening up your ears to what your clients and potential clients have to say. Are you ready to do it?