5 July 2013

One key step in your business's visibility is to make every interaction with your customers count. This blog takes you through how to do it.

This means that your website, your customer services, your social networks, your entire communication strategy, needs to come from the same place.

That place is on the same level as your customer. And not just your customer as a “group market”, but your customer as an individual.

In order to get to the point where every customer interaction is working for you, you need to step right back and look at the bigger picture.

Understand your customers

The nature of customers has changed. Now, the customer will choose when, where, and how they engage with a brand. You need to know who your customers are, what they say, whether what they say differs across channels of interaction. It is important to pinpoint the best channel for interaction with your customer base, and focus all of your customer information into that channel.

Even if you have a well-known brand, your customers are now more likely to support a brand that is visible and active within their own channels. If you are not there, you will miss out.

Within your customer knowledge, you have to fine-tune your information about your customers down to an individual level. Every customer experience must be optimised for an individual interaction, rather than a group interaction. This means that customer feedback is the only metric you will need to evaluate your strategy.

Further to this, you need to determine whether you are speaking the same language as your customers. Do they understand the names of your services? Any acronyms/industry terms you might use regularly? Processes that you want to talk about with them? In other words, would your customers fully understand everything you put in front of them, in any interaction you have?

Talk to your individuals

Once you have gained a full understanding of your customers, and you have started to refine it down to an individual level, you can start engaging with the individual.

This means that all assistance, in every interaction, has to be personalised to that person. Your knowledge and information needs to be not only relevant, but relevant at the point at which the customer requires it.

When you start to frame everything from the customer’s perspective, you can see that nearly every interaction you have – whether online, or by phone – is an opportunity to help a customer do something. You don’t want to sell your customer a lawyer; you want to help her to create blinding legal documents to ensure her business goes from strength to strength. You don’t want to sell your customer a tax accountant; you want to help him make the most of his hard work so that he can enjoy his money not see it all disappear to the HMRC.

It’s important to note that you can’t fake it when you interact with your customers. At a personal level, sincerity and a genuine willingness to help, count a lot; this also applies to your customer experience interactions.

The customer experience is your marketing strategy

Once you start focusing on your customer experience in terms of making every interaction count, this experience becomes your marketing and communications strategy. If you are able to resolve your customer’s problems quickly and easily, that is one thing. But if you are able to be genuine, to know who you are and what your company stands for, you can bring that into every interaction you have. It also means that every interaction is an opportunity for you to learn something new: about your company, about your customer, about your service.

Selling is no longer a simple matter of positioning a service in the right way. If your customer experience, and the customer interaction, is the focus of what you are doing, then you can use your marketing to reinforce the truth about your company.

Your visibility in your customer’s preferred social networks demonstrates this easily. If you are open and honest, you can take customer feedback in full view of your market. You can use that interaction to solve a problem quickly, and other people will see it. If you are active, and a customer asks a question, you can respond quickly, and other people will notice.

Making every interaction count means knowing your customers at an individual level, and being able to speak their language. If their needs include fast response times, you need to be able to provide that. The key thing is knowing your customer; if you aren’t sure what they want, or how to provide it, or you have arguments with your colleagues about it, you need to stop discussing it and gather that information. Sometimes starting from scratch is the most beneficial thing you can do.

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