Successful businesses are in tune with their customers: they know how their customers think and what it takes to keep them satisfied. If you want to ensure your business is successful, you must commit to understanding your customers’ wants and needs.
And if you know your customers well, you can even anticipate their demands and intuit what they want before they ask for it. Ask yourself where your customer touch points are and how you can control them. When do your customers contact you? Why do they do so? How do they prefer to interact with you? Comprehending customers’ motives is a prerequisite to providing them with the service they expect and deserve.
Increasingly, that means interacting proactively with customers across social media channels. Salesforce, the cloud-based customer relationship management application, has even called 2012 “the year of the social enterprise.”
In today’s marketplace, Salesforce says, business owners must “engage in new ways with customers, employees and everyone that matters to your business.” We at RingCentral are already making an effort to do just that – we’re engaging with people on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+ (and here on our blog, of course).
And it appears that other companies are following the same tack: A recent British study found that consumer engagement with social media nearly doubled between 2010 and 2011.
While social-media channels are instrumental to customer engagement, conventional phone communications can’t be ignored. Merlix, a RingCentral customer since 2006, knows the value of referring customers to a toll-free number.
“A toll-free number has always accounted for about 20 percent of sales for an online retailer,” Merlix CEO Matt Griffith explains. “Most people will buy online, but some want that comfort of hearing a human voice.”
Setting up an 800 number is only part of the puzzle, however. Ensuring that customers can navigate your company’s phone system and reach the person with whom they need to speak is crucial. Consider testing your phone directory from a customer’s point of view, both during and after business hours. Assess the navigability of your directory and determine how easy it is to reach a given person (or his/her voicemail).
If your company’s directory is less user friendly than it could be, consider tweaking your phone system’s settings. Change how your auto-receptionist manages incoming calls; you can have them routed to any number – desk, mobile or home, and you can adjust how calls are handled at different times of the day.
With the right phone system settings in place, customer calls never have to go unanswered. You won’t miss a single communique, and every caller’s concerns can be addressed in a timely fashion. That, in turn, will help keep your customers satisfied and engaged with your brand – and ensure that your firm has a robust pipeline of repeat business in place.
How are you using both social media and your phone system to proactively engage with your customers? We look forward to hearing your comments!
Originally published Jun 14, 2012, updated Aug 07, 2020