Proactive Customer Engagement involves making the first contact with customers via various channels. Businesses, universally want to build relationship with customers and increase the level of engagement, since it ensues more sales and profits. Increasing customer engagement also encourages honest and unbiased feedback from customers. Businesses are able to ascertain the changing needs and demands of customers in advance; hence, it allows decision makers to anticipate these needs before time, giving them an edge over competitors. Businesses can engage customers better through improved interaction and communication. As companies deploy multi-channel customer service concepts to interact with their customers, there are more and more avenues to effectively engage with customers.
In today’s world the role and impact of social media cannot be ignored. Businesses need to “Engage” with customers where they are most active. Social networking websites are one of the most popular communication channels, since most customers feel comfortable interacting in an informal and casual manner, as opposed to lengthy, formal emails which take days to process. Social media platforms make up a significant proportion of our daily interactions and socializing. The first step towards engaging customers on social media, involves building a presence and getting noticed. Customer service departments should set up social media accounts and actively share news about new products and services via these channels, but the process doesn’t stop there: Customer Service departments need to proactively engage with customers on social media platforms.
Today, 52% of the companies consider Facebook the most effective social channel for customer engagement, service and support.
Customers can be engaged on social media by starting polls and asking for their opinions or comments about a new product or service. Replying to tweets directly and commenting on Facebook posts also generates positive publicity for the company, since it shows that the company cares about the customers and their concerns. Other customers who are facing the same issues are also able to see the company’s response without having to directly ask.
Another way to effectively engage customers is to send them newsletters and emails about the products and services offered by the business.
Although the concept of self-service retailing has gained tremendous popularity over the last couple of years, but personalized service is still an invaluable feature of a retail shop. The only way business can build long-term relationship with customers, is through personal interactions. Every time a customer walks into your store, make sure to greet them and ask them how you can help them out. Ask them questions about what they are looking for. It is important to reach out to your customers and keep them informed. For example, if there is a sale or discount offer on a particular product, let them know.
Businesses need to realize that customers have varying needs, which means that some customers like to be assisted and want to talk to a staff member which enriches their shopping experience. Sales agent should be available for advice and guidance when needed, as this will add value to the customer service experience. Banks have relationship managers, who are assigned to specific customers. This way the relationship managers are well-versed with all the information, know the banking needs and history of their respective customers.
Personalized experience is even more important for the service industry, where relationship managers are expected to develop a long-term relationship with customers. According to a survey conducted by ITSMA, a marketing research firm, 45% of all buyers prefer person-to-person contact while they are making transactions. This shows the importance of the human factor in the buying process. Services like insurance, banking, healthcare and education require businesses to dispense personalized services, after determining the unique needs and wants of customers.
CSRs should also be trained to proactively interact with customers in a friendly manner, so that customers are comfortable in sharing their information. The interaction should not sound like something CSRs “Have” to do as part of their job, but they should be personally invested in the interactions, since it will enhance the level of engagement with the customers.
Adequate training is an important part of delivering premium experience to customers. CSRs need to be trained to anticipate the needs of the customers, and they should be empowered enough to deliver out-of-the-box solutions for various problems encountered by clients.
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