In this customer-centric era, customer experience has become the cornerstone for the success of a business venture.
Having said that, customer experiences are largely governed by how you talk to customers and how efficient your customer service team is. After all, improper customer interactions defeat the very purpose of creating a frontline.
Don’t forget: “Customer interaction is not limited to conversation customer service (although that is equally important), it also includes all the other customer touchpoints right from telephonic conversations on helpline numbers, to feedback collections, and even sales reps in stores.”
This article will cover the following topics:
Have a look at the importance of customer interaction in the success of a business venture:
Customer interaction is a broad discipline that incorporates methods to engage with customers, be it on virtual platforms or in physical stores i.e. customer interaction takes place at multiple touchpoints.
When you interact with your customers and provide them with a pleasant experience throughout these touchpoints, it contributes towards building a positive brand image.
In this section, you will find the 5 most compelling reasons for you to focus on improving your customer interaction practices:
1. Improves customer experience:
While top-of-the-line products can bring new prospects, it is an efficient system of customer interaction that promises a great customer experience.
Moreover, personalized customer interactions that ensure a great customer experience can also help you get away with a little spike in prices.
You read it right! Have a look at the following figures obtained from various sources:
- 86% of customers are willing to pay more money for an enhanced customer experience (Super Office).
- 88% of customers are willing to pay more in exchange for a better experience (CSZ).
- 52% of customers said “Yes” to pay more for a better customer experience (Forbes).
Having talked about the benefits of improved customer experience, let me tell you what happens when you provide an unsatisfactory CX.
According to results obtained from a survey of 1,044 US consumers performed by Zendesk:
- 58% of customers stopped buying from a company after a bad CX.
- 52% of customers took their business to another company.
- 48% of customers said that they wouldn’t consider the company for future purchases.
Have a look at this chart to get a better understanding of the above-mentioned stats:
2. Establishes a loyal customer base:
A great customer interaction implies better customer engagement. And, when customers feel valued, they tend to continue interactions with your firm, thereby bringing you a steady flow of income.
Here are some results we found that will tell you about the benefits of customer loyalty:
- According to The Retail Touchpoints Network, 41% of the overall US revenue generated is from repeat customers which represent only 8% of all visitors.
- According to Microsoft, 97% of customers say that customer service is an important factor in their choice of brand loyalty.
- According to Digital Strategy Consulting, Loyal customers generate about 40% of e-commerce sales.
3. Increases brand referrals:
The loyal customers that you gained through satisfactory customer interactions can increase your brand’s awareness through referrals to friends and families.
Moreover, you would save a lot of money that otherwise would be invested in advertisements and marketing strategies to reel in new customers.
Have a look at the following figures to understand how referrals benefit your business venture:
- People are 4x more likely to buy when referred by a friend.
- The CLV of referral customers is 16x higher than non-referrals.
According to a survey conducted by Nelson, 92% of respondents trust referrals from friends and family.
4. Creates a customer base for new products:
When customers start trusting your brand, they wouldn’t mind trying out the new products that you release into the market.
Also, when you maintain good interactions with your customers, they tend to support you in newer ventures.
Wondering how? By providing you with invaluable insights into their demands and thus facilitate useful product development.
Moreover, you could even ask them to use your new products on a trial basis and gather feedback to improve it further. This way not only will you develop a great product, but also keep your customers engaged and make them feel valued.
5. Prevents bad brand image:
While satisfied customers prove beneficial, angry ones can have the exact opposite effect on your business.
When angry customers leave behind negative feedback and referrals, you lose valuable prospects, not only in their circles but also people who refer to online reviews before making purchases (which are plenty in number.)
93% of consumers in a survey said that online reviews influence their buying decision.
Thus, great customer interaction can prevent the loss of prospects, thereby safeguarding future business opportunities for your brand.
If the previous section removed any lingering uncertainty about the importance of customer interaction, have a look at the12 best practices that will ensure great customer service conversations:
12 Pro Tips on How to Talk to Customers
1. Use AI for immediate assistance:
Sometimes, due to the sheer traffic of calls, your customer service team might not be able to respond to your clients.
However, according to HubSpot, 90% of customers say that an immediate response is essential when they ask a customer service question.
So if your employees are pressed hard, why not let machines handle your customer service conversations? Integrating AI within your frontline can make this happen.
Here’s how AI monitored customer service boosts your frontline efficiency:
- You can use AI to monitor questions asked by customers and provide immediate assistance based on FAQs and common customer complaints.
- It is very efficient in data mining and thereby reduces response time to customer complaints.
- It is rapidly replacing mechanical labor thanks to its accuracy, speed, and ability to perform huge loads of tasks without tiring.
Also, AI monitored customer service will not only make your frontline faster but is also very economical.
In 2017, Gartner predicted that “By the year 2020, the average person will have more conversations with bots than with their spouse.”
It is difficult to say that this prediction was realized within the stipulated time. However, with numerous businesses implementing AI in their frontline, it is very likely to happen in the near future.
2. Use videos for better interaction:
Videos are a great way of talking to customers. That’s because videos make difficult features sound simple and are easier for customers to understand.
Not only do video descriptions make the product-learning process simple and fun, but it is also what encourage present-day customers to make purchases.
Also, videos can help in increasing the interaction time between customers and your websites.
According to Insivia, customers spend 2.6x more time on pages that have videos compared to the ones that don’t.
Moreover, you can use descriptive videos to help customers understand your products and make concrete decisions, thereby reducing the return rate of goods.
Bonus Tip: “Use SEO practices while preparing videos to improve your ranking on search engines.”
3. Personalize interactions:
Having talked about ensuring customer engagement, you might wonder how to be more engaged in conversations with people you hardly know.
Well, one way is to ensure that your frontline has a thorough knowledge about your customers’ choices and preferences to increase engagement during conversations with clients. When you personalize conversations, the customer automatically feels connected.
You could use customer personas that are prepared from prior client conversations, product purchases, area of work, day-to-day requirements, etc. to create a data-centric business plan that ensures personalized customer engagement.
Tip: “You can assign this work to your marketing team as they might already be pursuing customers for their customer-centric marketing strategies (if not, then they better start.)”
4. Use an omnichannel approach:
With most of the current business world functioning virtually, your customers can easily be distracted by notifications from different online platforms.
An omnichannel approach will help you to talk to a customer seamlessly throughout multiple touchpoints keeping their preferences and behavior patterns in mind.
You can do this by providing cross-channel conversations for customer service.
Bonus Tip: “You can also use intelligent AI like chatbots for talking to customers on platforms where live agents are not available.”
5. Maintain Transparency:
Tech-savvy customers of the current era tend to get educated about a company before engaging with them.
So, if you want to add reliability to your brand’s list of traits, it is paramount that you start opening up about product information along with some basic info on your company’s vision, ideals, and mission.
6. Empower your Customer Service Team:
Your customer service team is arguably the most crucial part of your business. And for it to function effectively, you must empower them.
Have a look at some suggestions to empower your customer service team and improve customer conversations:
- Authorize your employees to make important decisions. This way, they will be able to solve some of the customer issues without transferring the case to technical agents.
Did you know that 89% of customers get frustrated when they have to repeat their issues?
- Give them access to client information that can be used to personalize their customer talk.
- Allow them to express their ideas during team meetings and make them feel valued.
- Conduct training programs to teach them about customer service etiquettes that they need to follow while talking to customers.
Let us now focus our attention on some important etiquettes that are mandatory during conversations for customer service.
Converse with the apt Customer Service Etiquettes:
Your frontline, be it in-store or on telephonic communications, needs to follow some etiquette when they talk with customers.
This section will teach you how to talk to customers not only to provide them with an engaging experience but to pacify the angry ones as well.
7. Be quick:
Customers hate it when they are kept waiting. Keep customer personas ready to identify what products or services the customer has a complaint with and provide quick solutions.
Did you know that about 71% of customers expect help within five minutes?
You can also offer quick troubleshooting methods to help with common issues.
However, If the problem raised requires an expert opinion, relay the issue to a technician so that the customer does not have to repeat their issue.
8. Be patient and listen carefully:
Be patient during customer discussions and listen carefully to their complaints to get a thorough understanding of the problem.
Patience is paramount while dealing with frustrated customers who have had unsatisfactory experiences.
Once the customer has said his fill, rephrase the complaint in your own words to check if you understood the customer’s problem.
9. Be Polite:
Irrespective of the way a customer treats you, ensure that you always talk to customers in a polite manner.
You need to empathize with them and understand the reason behind their anger. Maybe it’s a time crunch, or maybe the customer had high expectations and your firm couldn’t meet them.
You must ensure that the conversation takes place smoothly at the end of which the customer feels encouraged to continue interactions with your firm.
10. Stay Positive:
You must keep a positive approach throughout the conversation service.
Try using some positive statements to pacify the customer. For example, “We assure you that we try to provide the best services, please stay assured that your solution will be solved at the earliest and you have nothing to worry about.”
Ensure that you never lose your temper no matter how rude the customer is.
And most importantly, remember to keep up a good attitude throughout the call. No matter how frustrating it gets, avoid being lethargic with pleasantries and ensure that your tone is devoid of any irritation especially at the end.
11. Never Interrupt:
Customers want to be heard when they call a helpline number. You need to be patient throughout the conversation and listen actively to what they have to say.
So, when is it appropriate to interrupt a customer?
The ideal answer would be never. However, if you are dealing with a very talkative customer who just won’t stop, start listening to build trust (Callcenterhelper).
When you want to interrupt such customers, acknowledge their problem and apologize for the inconvenience. Then follow it up with an action plan that solves the customer issue or at least promises to do so.
12. Follow up and Collect feedback:
Once the conversation ends, ensure that you follow up with them and collect feedback. Feedback collection is important because it provides you with valuable insights into the customer’s experience and highlights the areas that you need to improve.
Have a look at this client conversation sample to get a better understanding of the above-mentioned tips for conversation.
While creative marketing and top-of-the-line products can help you entice newer prospects, it is an increased customer engagement that helps in converting these prospects into loyal customers.
When customers reach out to you, it gives you an opportunity to right your wrongs as well as flex your customer-centric values.
The customer service talking points mentioned in this article will help you handle customer-raised issues efficiently and make your customers feel valued after their interaction with your firm.
If it seems overwhelming or costly to you, you can always delegate your customer support to Helplama starting from just $399/month.