Successful businesses know how important it is to effectively communicate with customers. Plenty of emphasis is put on winning that first sale, but harnessing ongoing customer relationship to drive greater average lifetime revenues is key to longer-term success. And communication is at the heart of this process.
With so many competing technologies (PSTN vs SIP trunks, anyone?) and channels – virtual phone numbers, email automation, SMS and good ol’ fashioned face-to-face conversations all have roles to play in this ensemble – effective customer communication can quickly get lost.
But it’s never too late to whip your contact center into shape and improve your approach to CX (customer experience). So without further ado, here are five customer-focused moves that you can make to improve the effectiveness of your contact center.
Make yourself accessible
There was a time when, if a customer wanted to communicate with a business, they had very limited options – call them up on the phone, visit them in person, or grab a pen and paper and write a good old-fashioned letter.
Thanks to advances in technology, many more communications channels can be added to that list – including email, apps, web chat, SMS, apps and social media platforms.
Voice remains the preferred method of communication for consumers, with email and web chat coming in not far behind. This isn’t just during regular business hours either. Out-of-hours support is vital. If customers can’t reach you whenever they have questions, concerns or need support – it won’t be long before call someone else.
One interesting point, according to research by Microsoft, is that a customer’s preferred communication channel varies depending on their use case. So customers with ‘complex issues’ are still most likely to pick up the phone and ring your contact center, while those with simpler concerns may prefer to use ‘self-service’ channels such as SMS or IM.
Create a local presence
When it comes to extending the accessibility of your contact center, it’s not just about the channels you offer. When we’re talking about voice and SMS, location matters.
You need to provide customers with cost-effective local call routes to your contact center, even if they are geographically very far apart. How do you quickly build a cost-effective local presence, potentially in dozens of markets around the world? That’s where SIP trunking comes in, enabling you to connect your contact center to toll-free and local numbers in the immediate vicinity of your customers. Learn more about the cost savings that SIP trunking delivers in our on-demand webinar.
Ensure cross-channel consistency
Customers don’t want to have to go through the patience-testing process of having to repeat themselves as they move from one communications channel to the next. Can you blame them? They’re busy, and they want to know that you respect their time enough to provide consistent service across all channels.
A customer might, for example, connect with technical support through web chat, but then want to speak with a customer support representative without having to start over. This requires authentic omni–channel functionality.
Customers expect to be able to continue conversations and transactions across multiple channels – without breaking flow.
Provide real-time updates by SMS
With the breakneck pace of modern living, there has never been greater consumer demand for real-time updates from businesses. SMS notifications are a great channel for this form of communication, because of the ability to automate sending and the confidence you can have that they will be seen at the customer’s earliest convenience.
They let you kill two birds with one stone: boosting customer satisfaction by providing efficient, real-time updates for things like service requests, delivery times, or invoice; and reducing costs by automating some of the workload that would otherwise need to be assigned to contact center agents or account managers. Happy customers and less expenses? Winning!
Respect consumer privacy and GDPR
One third of consumers admit to having canceled transactions due to concerns about privacy and personal data. If you want to reap the benefits of heightened customer satisfaction – respect their right to privacy.
This means assuring them that their personal data will be kept safe, informing them of why or how their information may be used and then following through on your promises.
While we’re on the topic, if your customers were kind enough to trust you with their email or phone number – don’t spam them. It’s rude.
Clear and effective customer communication should be a cornerstone for every successful business. After all, it is one of the biggest differentiators in the increasingly competitive world of modern business.