How do you interact with your customers? Is it easy for them to find you? Are you responding to all their inquiries? Are you doing everything you can to keep them happy?
With the online ecosystem of search and social media, it’s easier than ever for customers and businesses to interact. But it takes effort for a business to be both discoverable and engaging online, and companies must be cautious not to neglect the human component of connectivity.
Here’s a framework in this blog post that can help you leverage search, social and telephony tools to engage more effectively with your customers (and win some new sales!).
It’s likely that the products or services you provide are of interest to people (if they weren’t, you wouldn’t be in business). But how easy are you to find?
Optimizing your website for search engine optimization (SEO) purposes is one strategy for improving your firm’s visibility; launching a blog that establishes your company as a thought leader in its field is another. An analytics platform like Google’s, meanwhile, can help you track your website’s popularity.
We’ve found Google Analytics to be invaluable for tracking traffic right here on our blog. Google Analytics, powered by Google search technology, tracks clicks across the social web, so we can see exactly where our blog content is getting shared. Plus, Google Analytics links up with Google+. It’s one of the only analytics platforms to offer Google+ link tracking.
Social (Real-Time Interaction)
And why does Google+ matter? Quite simply, search is how you get customers in the door and social is what you use to keep them. Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and, yes, Google+ can help you provide high-quality service; boost sales; and build brand loyalty.
Social is becoming so pervasive in the business world that Salesforce declared 2012 “the year of the social enterprise.”
“Social media is dramatically changing how we connect, share and collaborate,” the company notes.
Your business’ social media footprint must be developed with care, however. Not only must you commit to being reachable in each of the social channels you enter, you have to be willing to accept public criticism. Corporate Facebook and Twitter pages are, after all, open to both positive and negative feedback.
Telephony (Person-to-Person Connectivity)
That level of openness is a good thing for both consumers and companies, as it encourages honesty and fair dealing. But because many people will want to reach you outside the digital realm, too, you can’t afford to neglect telephone communications.
Very often, this means having a phone system that meets your customers’ expectations. Take an objective look at how your phone system functions: is it easy for your callers to reach the department or person they’re looking for? And do you have an auto-receptionist to handle incoming voice traffic?
An auto-receptionist also has the benefit of burnishing your firm’s image. Modifying your voicemail greetings or on-hold messages can accomplish the same goal by sharing key information – like special offers or awards you’ve won – with callers.
Ultimately, a well-designed business phone system helps you stay connected with your customers. While digital communications are incredibly powerful, there’s no replacement for hearing another person’s voice in real-time – a worthwhile truism to keep in mind in the web-enabled age.
Originally published Aug 30, 2012, updated Aug 27, 2020