Maintaining an open line of communication with your clients is key to any successful business relationship, as your clients will be more satisfied if they know that you’re behind them every step of the way. This does not necessarily mean you’ll need to spend extra man-hours to keep those lines of communication open though, as there’s a lot of customer service requests that don’t need a human being to handle them.
Putting automation to work in your business frees you and your employees up to continue to move your business forward, while still keeping a level of support that your clients expect. Here are seven cost effective ways you can automate that process.
Customer Communications Management Automation
Initiate the Conversation
Don’t wait for the customer to reach out to you: there are actions your client may take that might be a clear sign of a need for assistance. For example, a website visitor spending a lot of time in your help pages probably needs some kind of support, while somebody looking through your products and services might benefit from talking with a member of your sales team to assure the sale.
While these are only two examples of ways you can open the lines of communication and lead to increased customer satisfaction, there are many others. The bottom line is that anticipating a need when it comes to your customer relationships based on their behaviors pays dividends later. There are multiple great tools out there which can help initiate this conversation, two of which are LiveChat and BoldChat and both with customizable audience interactions.
Use a Virtual Assistant to Handle the Simple Things
Just because you’re trying to be proactive doesn’t mean you’ll need to hire additional staff. A good portion of customer service requests are simple in nature, and with chat bots becoming ever more intelligent, automated systems can handle those issues quickly and easily. This frees up your employees to deal with more complex problems.
A good place to start using digital or virtual assistants is in those proactive connections we just talked about. Chat bots such as Botsify (for Facebook Messenger and other apps) can answer those simple questions that might arise from whatever actions your client is taking on the site, and if it needs to will hand the conversation off seamlessly to a live person to handle the more difficult.
Make Use of New Technologies
Don’t be scared to try out new technologies to solve some of those simple issues. Biometrics is one possibility, and using things like biometric password recovery (utilizing fingerprints or facial recognition instead of old school methods like “mother’s maiden name) takes out the need for a call into your call center or a support chat to authenticate their identity.
Other new technologies that might assist in the automation process are the use of mobile apps, like those which walk customers through common issues so they can fix problems themselves without the need for your involvement. Others might use SMS to text a code to a number to get information on their account, a balance due, or to automate the payment process.
Use it for The All-Important Follow-up
Even after you’ve made the sale, it’s still important to keep the lines of communication open. The follow up increases customer satisfaction by merely letting your client know that you’re there if they need them, as well as addresses potential problems early on by addressing issues early.
A few days after any transaction it’s worth it to reach out to your client to ask them if they have any questions or are experiencing issues and might need assistance. Problems are easier to fix early on, so a simple automated email might be all that is needed to open a line of communication between you and your client.
Automate Your Social Media Presence
Social media outreach is an important part of your business’ public face: it gives potential customers and clients a sense that they’re connected to you. Promotion of what your business offers through social media channels may open up new sales leads, while customers may turn to social media to contact you about issues. There are many social management systems (HappyFox is a great example of this) that will actually filter social media contacts based on the content of the message itself, taking out the work of a middleman to direct queries to the right person.
These same systems can also automatically post to your social media accounts, allowing you to automate your marketing strategy and give your content maximum exposure.
The survey is a tried and true method. Although you’re not always going to get a high response rate, the data obtained from well designed surveys are great ways to not only spot potential problems, but also initiate a dialogue with your client. Keep them short, relevant, and to the point. You might also want to use those survey answers to initiate further automatic emails to gather additional feedback on areas where the response might be a cause for concern.
While 21st Century consumers have shown a preference for using the internet to communicate with businesses, many still appreciate talking to a human being. That’s why the callback is still a worthy option to include in your customer relationship strategy. On the same pages where you might have a “Chat Now” button, a “Call Me” button might be just as useful (MobiForge has some great examples of Click to Call or Click to SMS solutions).
All a customer would need to do is provide their phone number, and on your end the calls can be forwarded to a callback queue for your telephone representatives to answer. After all, some issues are better (and more quickly) dealt with via a phone call, so don’t always rely on a digital option to automate your communications with your clients.
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I like that you included ideas that got people in touch with other real people. Many times I’ve gone through the troubleshooting (I don’t want to waste anyone’s time, least of all mine) and know that I need a real, thinking person.
I am not a fan of automating conversations except if you want to send a buffer message if you can’t reply immediately.