In the service business, if you don’t catch a message when it comes in, you could miss out on a new customer or lose one you already have. Research shows that “59 percent of people will walk away after several bad experiences, 17 percent after just one bad experience.” Timely communication is critical.
For smaller businesses, fielding customer questions, project requests and follow-ups from all corners of the internet — plus calls and texts, too — requires more resources than they usually have. Consider that more than half of smartphone owners use nearly 10 different apps each day, checking 10 times daily. This engagement can translate into higher customer satisfaction and growth — but only if a business can keep up with all the ways consumers communicate with them.
Technology can be an answer to avoiding missed customer communications. Here are three ways the right system can help.
Streamline Many Messages Into One Conversation
Teams, which can waste inordinate amounts of time parsing through disparate communications, need better ways to streamline inputs. An integrated approach makes it easier to respond quickly (and with the right information) and leads to a more complete view of the customer.
Responding quickly, no matter from where the lead comes, helps ensure that customers remain engaged, and increases the chances they’ll return to a business for repeat service. In the same way, a delay in initial interaction can discourage a customer, and any disruption during the customer journey can potentially cause attrition.
A growing number of small businesses are taking the aforementioned integrated approach and embracing new technology such as a centralized inbox that combines most popular communication channels — from email to text, chat, phone and video — and creates a single, linear conversation. But because many of these organizations lack administrative or operations resources, any platform (or inbox) needs to be easy to implement and customize. And it needs to be able to integrate with the likes of Gmail, Outlook, iCloud, Hotmail and any other iMap email applications. This integration capability allows businesses to easily import customer histories and use their preferred email programs.
Don’t Let Customers Miss Either
No-show appointments or reservations can have a major impact on revenue. Automating appointment confirmations and reminders ensures that customers don’t forget and frees up time should they need to cancel. Automation can also be applied to billing, marketing and reviews, and to set up customer communication prompts.
In fact, one of the best ways to foster customer relationships is to follow up. It demonstrates care and opens up the opportunity to make things right if anything goes wrong during the service or stay.
Of course, it’s not possible to manually reach out to every customer. Technology can do the work. For example, setting up an automated thank you that includes a link for a Google review is a quick and easy process full of benefits. Customer communications don’t have to be limited to the last step of a service. Email automation should be part of your business’s always-on communication strategy.
The cloud plays a big role here, enabling platform solutions that offer a variety of interconnected capabilities and also have a consistent look and feel, which is part of an ideal customer experience.
Meet Customers Where They Are
The volume of channels can also muddy the view of a customer journey. Did they come from a Google ad? A referral? A social platform? Platform solutions help businesses track entry points, provide better service and convert.
- How does a customer find you?
- When they find you, how would they communicate with you?
- Can they easily book?
- If they book or purchase, what comes next?
- How do you remind them about an upcoming appointment or stay?
- How do they pay?
Determining the answers to these questions helps streamline this process. In each interaction, the goal is to turn your customer journey into a single conversation that can lead to a conversion and repeat business.
Manage the Chaos and Communicate Effectively
Thryv surveyed 1,000 small businesses and found that they use, on average, 11 channels each month to communicate with their customers. This fragmentation in communication is leading to mass disarray, confusion and lost opportunity.
Centralizing and automating communications is a great place to start for any business that wants to better serve customers and take advantage of the right moments for growth.