Here’s a hard question to answer, but you should dig in and do some self-reflecting to give it your best shot.
Is it easy to do business with you?
People want convenience. We all do. We want the fast and easy solution, and make our decisions based on it – rightfully or wrongfully.
If a customer isn’t happy with their experience, then they stop being a customer. That might not even have anything to do with your product or service.
It could just be they had a question and wanted a quick answer on social media but couldn’t get one. Maybe your website has bad navigation. Maybe your web form required too much personal information. It could be any number of hurdles that are inadvertently put in place to make it harder to do business with you.
Mind you, I’m not even saying “hard.” Just harder. In this day and age, customers expect you to make it extremely easy for them to do business with you. It’s worth it too. Businesses that focus on the customer-centric experience are shown to be 60% more profitable than those that don’t.
At the heart of it, technology is one of the foundational elements to service customers, from converting them to getting them to return to buy again. What things should you do to improve your customer experience – and do so without breaking the bank?
Here are 7 practical actions to improve your customer-centric experience:
- Cloud Forms
- Electronic Signatures
- SMS Notifications
- Business Mobile App
- VoIP Phone System
Do you ever send forms to your customers? Are you still sending an email with a Word document attached for them to fill out? Perhaps you are more sophisticated and have a pdf form that maintains the formatting and is fillable. That’s all outdated now. You want to use cloud forms going forward.
A cloud form has a much smoother experience. There isn’t anything to download and save, which not only is a nuisance but isn’t a good security practice since forms can be used to deliver malware. There’s no filling it out and saving it to send back in a response email.
With a cloud form, your customer has easier access as they follow a link to your online form. They can fill it out from any device, making it much more convenient (and therefore faster) to submit. You benefit from the form data being received automatically and its results logged. If it’s part of a larger set of data, for instance, a response from multiple people, then the data is aggregated and analytics are performed automatically.
The best part? There’s a good chance you are using Microsoft 365 already, so that means you have access to MS Forms at no additional cost. Check out our write up on MS Forms for some inspiration and cover the basics of how it can benefit you.
Going a step further than filling out a form, what about signing one? Gone are the days of always needing to physically sign a document for it to be valid. eSignatures have been around for a while, and their integrations have been growing exponentially every year. Already at 4,754 million global transactions, Electronic Signature use is expected to grow another 69% by 2024. eSignatures are so popular, they have even been used as the delivery agent of malware.
Why are electronic signatures so popular? Again, because it’s convenient. No printer is needed. Printers that notoriously break down, jam paper, run out of ink, or any of the dozen other things that can prevent the document from even being printed in the first place. Then the signed document needs to be scanned and sent back. That’s a lot of potential delays. Delays that can mean a rethink if it’s worth it.
None of that happens with an electronic signature. It streamlines your transaction by maintaining it all online. It also ensures no portion gets overlooked and you get a legally binding signature.
When people research to make a buying decision, they often have questions that need to be answered. If they can’t get the answer they want, they go elsewhere. The simplest solution for this is to have a Chatbot on your website.
Chatbots are really smart these days, and they will only get better when AI tools get integrated. If you take the time to set them up with all the pertinent information, they can answer the majority of the questions you receive.
Not only can they field these repeat questions, but they are also always available 24/7. Those random 1 am searches can still be answered immediately without any expense to your company. And that is why customers like them. Sure, there are times live customer service is needed, and this doesn’t replace that, But for the many times a quick answer is all that is required, bots are preferred over email requests by 68%.
In physical locations, having an information or customer service desk works wonders as a nexus point for any and all customer needs. In the digital realm, having a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) section can fill this need.
The way this can benefit instead of the chatbot is that your customer might not know what question they want to ask. You can guide them more with your expert knowledge for them to read through what you know are the most common questions and answers. It’s a curated educational experience.
Email communication has its place, but many times a quick, immediate update is what is needed. SMS messaging is the perfect way to fill this gap.
A shipment update, for instance, is a perfect candidate for text message updating so it doesn’t get lost amid an email box of junk and spam. Maybe a delivery is important and the SMS update can come immediately when delivered. No more wondering.
That’s just one sample of a use case. Appointment reminders, payment confirmations, sales receipts, and whatever your imagination can come up with can be communicated via SMS messaging.
An important note though is to make sure you include an easy opt-in and opt-out method so it doesn’t backfire on you. Not all people want to be notified the same way, always let the customer choose that.
Business Mobile App
Why does every business seem to have its own app? Because that is the preference of the majority of people out there. 90% of smartphone time is spent on apps vs only 10% in a browser. Surprising, right?
It’s no secret that mobile searches are the majority of web activity today, it has been for a while now. So when 90% of internet use is relegated to apps, it’s only natural for businesses to make their own.
Depending on your business, implementing a mobile app could be a huge jump in usage. Since it is directly with you, rather than a browser/website experience, it gives you more control in servicing your customers – and also gives you more leeway for marketing directly with them, such as push notifications.
If you’re just starting out, you can begin with an app that replicates your website and transforms it into an app experience.
VoIP Phone System
Your phones aren’t just an internal piece of equipment. That technology is one of your most public-facing items and dictates how they perceive your company.
We’ve covered the top 5 ways that VoIP can benefit your business but it only touches on the very tip of the iceberg. The flexibility of VoIP allows your staff to help customers anywhere, and on virtually any device. An auto attendant helps route customers quickly and appropriately, ring groups allow for controlled channeling of the calls, and helping ensure nothing ever gets missed. Plus there are perks like voicemail to email transcription, which speeds the processing of return calls. All of these features play an important role in customer interactions with your business.
How many of these items have you implemented already? Which ones are on your technology roadmap? If you have any questions or need any help picking the right tools and implementing them, schedule a free 15-minute consultation to see how we can help you.