Why Your Customer Service Has Become Your User Experience *

Why Your Customer Service Has Become Your User Experience *

Is Your User Experience the Best it can be?

 

Am I Keeping Up With New Innovations?

 

As a business owner you may ask yourself, “What is changing in customer service?”  It’s a rhetorical question, but one that is always on your mind.  What could you be doing that you’re not doing?

There are self-service solutions to answer your question that include robust frequently asked questions and video.  There’s social media customer service with multiple channels like Facebook and Twitter.  

And we’re all more than curious about the new best thing, AI or artificial intelligence and how it will affect our business.  Will AI change everything, and will it make things better?

 

Is Customer Service Really Changing?

 

It seems that a lot is changing about how we deliver customer service.  But I’m about to make a bold statement.  If you examine what customer service is, it is the same as it was fifty years ago.  Customer service will be the same fifty years from now.  

Customer service is really just a customer needing help, having a question answered or a problem resolved.  In the end is the customer is happy?  That’s what customer service is, meeting and hopefully exceeding your customer’s expectations.

 

Customer Service has Evolved, it hasn’t Changed

 

Nothing has Changed, but Everything has!

 

Maybe there’s a better way to say it.  If we examine the desired outcome of a customer service experience, the customer’s expectations haven’t changed.  They just want to be satisfied.  

There are different ways to solve any problem and to reach the right outcome for each customer.  What has evolved is how and when we deliver customer service.

We’ve learned how to do it faster, and possibly even better.  Previous customer service solutions, just a few years ago, we typically had just two ways that customer service was provided.

Customer service was provided in person and over the phone.  Businesses had office hours, many were just 8 am to 5 pm.  A few had extended business hours, that might have meant 8 am to 9 pm.

Then technology exploded and it made customer service and support better, and more efficient.  And then CS became a 24/7, 365 experience for all of us.  It seems like no one sleeps at today.  

We sleep, just not all at the same time since today technology has given even the smallest business a global customer base.

 

Technology Brought Choices

 

If you are focusing on the phone for support, there are now solutions to tell customers how long they have to wait on hold.  Customers are given the option of being called back at a time that is more convenient if they don’t have time to wait.  

We now have many options that customers can use to  connect with us.  Looking beyond the phone, we have email, chat, social media and many more ways to communicate with customers today.

 

What Will Your User Experience Look Like?

 

If you are thinking about a new customer service solution, adding AI to support your customers and agents, or deciding which tools you want to use, remember this.

Customer’s expectations haven’t changed.  They just want to be taken care of, and how that is achieved doesn’t really matter to them.

 

Exceed Your Customers Expectations

 

Customer service begins when someone needs help dealing with a problem.  They’re upset about something or just want to have a question answered.  The experience ends when that person walks away knowing they made the right decision to do business with you.

How you reach the happy result is not as important as how they feel when they walk away, hang up the phone or turn off their computer.  Customer Service is really the same as it’s always been.

 

Your Great Customer Experience Energizes Customer Validation *

Your Great Customer Experience Energizes Customer Validation *

Your Great Customer Experience Creates Customer Validation!

 

 

Your Customer Experience is a Philosophy!

 

Many people think of customer service as a department.  I believe that customer service is part of a companies philosophy, not a company department.  

Customer service should be embraced by every employee, regardless of their job and how long they’ve been with a company.  The focus on this topic should be about what many consider to be the customer service and support department, the people who have contact and interact with the customer.

 

Technology Changed, Your Customers Haven’t!

 

When it comes to the outcome of a customer service experience, the customer’s expectations haven’t changed.  They just want to be taken care of.

The difference today is how many ways we have to communicate with the customer and reach the desired outcome.  What has changed is the way we go about delivering service.  

We’ve figured out how to do it faster, and even better.  Back “in the day,” which wasn’t that long ago there was typically just two ways that customer service was provided.  Customer Service was done in person or over the phone.   Then technology kicked in and we started making service and support better and more efficient.

 

Delivering Customer Service is Unchanged.

 

A lot that is changing about how we deliver customer service.  If you look at what customer service is today, it is the same as it was fifty years ago.  Will it still be the same fifty years from now?

Customer service is just a customer needing help, having a question answered or a problem resolved. Answer the question or resolve the problem and the customer is happy.  That’s it.

When it comes to the customer’s expectations, they are the same.  In other words, nothing has changed in customer service!

 

How do You Interact With Your Customers?

 

Times have changed and direct interaction with customers can come in many forms.  It can be the traditional customer service team who fields questions and complaints.  Interaction can come through a customer simply calling, for any reason, to connect with someone inside the company.  

The customer may reach out to the company via social media accounts, a company website, or a text message.  It’s really any interaction with the company.

Does your company just answer questions and manage complaints, or do they validate the customer’s decision to do business with you?  In other words, when the interaction with the customer is over, does the customer think, “I love doing business with this company”?

 

Compare Your Metrics vs. Customer Validation?

 

Don’t Allow Metrics to Kill Customer Validation!

 

That makes common sense, but here is where some companies get it wrong.  They focus on metrics, or even worse, the wrong metrics.  

Metrics are an important way to measure performance, they can tell you a big part of what you need to know.  However if one of your key metrics is about getting the customer off the phone as quickly as possible, that could be shortsighted in attempting to achieve customer validation.

 

Answer Your Customers Unasked Questions.

 

The best customer support does several things.  First, it answers the customer’s question.  

Second, it gives an opportunity for the service provider to make suggestions, answer future questions the customer may have but doesn’t know it yet, and much more.  This can’t  happen if your metric for measuring customer service performance is built on a foundation of rushing to complete a customer’s call.

 

Focus on Your Customer, not the Clock.

 

Customers will call for help and support, and possibly even to complain.  The customers call is an opportunity for your company to shine and build your reputation and brand.  

You can engage the customer using your knowledge, communication skills, patience, willingness to help, and ability to build rapport to build validate the customers choice to do business with your company.  

You can ensure the customer is not only happy but has also made the right choice.  Validate the reason a customer chose to do business with the company in the first place.  

That can’t happen if efficiency is how you measure success.  Instead, the focus should be on the customer’s level of satisfaction and eagerness to do business with you the next time they need what you sell.

 

Customer Validation is not Measured in Minutes.

 

Validation must be a part of the customer experience.  Customer validation creates confidence, which will lead to greater customer loyalty!

 

Customers Still Seek Validation.

 

Wrapping up, customer expectations haven’t changed.  They still want to be taken care of, regardless of how you do it.  It all begins with someone needing help, dealing with a problem, upset about something or just wanting to have a question answered.  

It ends with that person walking away knowing they made the right decision to do business with you.  How you get from the beginning to the end is not nearly as important as how they feel when they walk away, hang up the phone or turn off their computer.

 

Customer Validation Hasn’t Changed

 

It’s actually the same as it’s always been.  If you really do it correctly, it’s Customer Validation because their Customer Service Experience exceeded expectations!

 

Build Your Digital Marketing Strategy on Email *

Build Your Digital Marketing Strategy on Email *

Why Doesn’t Email Get the Respect it Deserves?

 

You can build your Brand using Landing Pages, Email, Social Media, Blogs and apps as part of your successful Digital Marketing Strategy.  Of the items mentioned, do you know what is the most overlooked and most important element of any digital marketing program?  The answer is EMAIL.

Email is the foundation upon which you build the success of every other facet of your Digital Marketing Strategy. 

 

Email Makes Your Digital Marketing Strategy Work

 

Email is the glue that ensures that your digital marketing works and I want you to understand why email is so important.  I also want to help with ideas to improve your email, increase your use of email and how to make it more engaging for the recipients.

 

Build Your Email List to Make Your Digital Marketing Succeed

 

It’s a huge mistake if you underestimate the value of Email as the core you build your Digital Marketing Strategy around.  Email marketing has consistently proven itself to be the one marketing avenue that brings in the highest conversions for companies all over the world.  

There is a reason companies are always pushing to get customer email addresses.  No matter the size of your business, you can benefit from building an email marketing list.  

The faster you do it, the sooner you will start seeing the results.

 

Email Builds Your Brand Visibility

 

Marketing emails give you Brand visibility, direct customer engagement, and click-through traffic which all works to give you greater sales. Even social media doesn’t have the Return On Investment that emails do.

Let’s look at some email marketing stats:

That’s a significant increase in sales from emails over a short period of time, and it proves that email is a more powerful tool than ever.

 

5 Quick Ways to Build Your Email List

 

You can quickly build your email list, choosing from many different methods.  The best approach is to incorporate one of the methods at a time so you can gauge how each helps build your successful Digital Marketing Strategy.  

Let’s discuss some of the most effective methods individually and learn how easy it is for you to embrace a Digital Marketing Strategy that will work to enhance your business reputation and your customer experience.

 

Build A Landing Page to Collect Email Addresses

 

If you have a website or product launching, you can create a simple landing page to begin building brand awareness.  Even better build several landing pages, give each Landing Page a unique domain and mission.

 

Learn How to Target Specific Visitors

 

This makes it possible to build your Email list quickly by targeting specific visitors.  Engage your visitors by placing an email form for people to be alerted the moment you launch, so they will be the first to know.

 

It Doesn’t Require Specific Skills to Succeed

 

Even if you lack the technical skills, using services like LeadPages you can have a Landing Page up in minutes, and begin engaging customers and receiving sign ups as soon as the Landing Page is live.

 

Your Landing Pages Must Load Quickly

 

The important thing about landing pages that many businesses don’t understand.  Your landing page needs to be fast!   I can’t believe how many leads are lost just because the landing page doesn’t load quickly.  

Use this free tool to diagnose your page speed and also ensure that you are properly hosting your website to avoid downtime issues.

 

Host A Webinar to Build Your Email List

 

Webinars are becoming more popular by the day, and it is no wonder.  They give people all the benefits of going to a conference lecture without ever having to leave their home.  It is convenient and a lot cheaper without the hotel and airfare.

 

A Live Presentation, Then it Lives on YouTube

 

Host a live webinar, and then put the recording on your website and on Youtube for people to view when it is convenient for them.  Not only is this a great content strategy, but it gives you an opportunity to create a sign up form that includes both email addresses and other important data.

 

Third Party Sites Make Webinar’s Easy to do

 

GoToMeeting and ClickMeeting make it easy to host, customize, record and invite people to your webinars.  The response to a single webinar can result in many emails from the live broadcast and later views of the archived webinar.

 

Offer Premium Content To Build Your Email List

 

Let’s say you are reading this post and you find it informative and interesting.  You finish reading and you find out there is a much more thorough, instructive version available.  

All you have to do is provide your email, then follow the confirmation link to this premium content.

 

Your Great Content Drives Your Email Acquisition

 

This is another great strategy for both content marketing and email acquisition. Usually referred to as content upgrading, it is guaranteed to get your reader’s attention, and their info.

 

Write Your Own Content To Attract More Visitors

 

Check out IMN Marketing Resources page for a solid example of premium content that they offer as an incentive to provide your information to receive their premium content.  

Even better, write your own content to share.  It’s not that difficult to do and the topics you can choose from are unlimited.  Use your imagination.

 

Offer Emailed Incentives to Visitors

 

Before the initial release of Google+, Google invited a small number of users to sign up for information about the planned launch.  Those users invited their friends and followers to sign up to try Google+ before it’s official release.

 

Create Excitement Among Your Visitors

 

All the invites were sent using Email.  Google created a lot of excitement which made their Google+ launch successful.  

Give users the opportunity to send special offers to their friends if they provide their email.  The friend receives the offer, then provides their own email address, and passes it on.

 

Publish eBooks to Build Your List

 

eBooks provide a unique method to spread your content, enhance your reputation, build your brand, and gain momentum in your marketing campaign.  Offer your ebooks free for an email signup, and your email marketing list will grow very quickly.

 

Engage and Inform Visitors Building Their Trust

 

Your goal needs to be to engage and inform your visitors.  Ensure that you are creating well written ebooks with topics which visitors will find value in and enjoy reading.  

Don’t sacrifice quality and disappoint visitors with a poorly written product that only exists to build your marketing list.

 

Let’s Re-cap What’s Important to Email List Building

 

Building an email list is important to your business growth, and will lead to greater conversions than any other method available.  We have examined several effective techniques to build your email list.  

 

Don’t be Afraid to Fail

 

The most important thing to remember, don’t be afraid of failure.  Don’t be overly critical of your attempts to write your own content.  Edit and re-edit what you have written.  Then have someone else read it and ask them to edit too.  

 

Establish a Conversation With Your Visitors

 

Remember it’s not rocket science, you want to convey your message in an easy conversational manner that will engage and inform your readers.  Use the methods we have discussed in this article and tell the story your readers want to hear.

 

Is Your Business Customer Focused or Operations Focused *

Is Your Business Customer Focused or Operations Focused *

Is Your Business, Customer or Operations Focused?

 

 

Give Your Customer’s a Great Experience

 

Do you understand what it takes for your company to give customers a great customer service experience?  It takes a lot of effort to create the business culture which can give the best customer experience possible

To give your customer’s a great user experience you have to selectively hire great employees, you have to properly train your employees, and then you have to deliver a great and memorable experience. 

 

Be Memorable, and be Remembered

 

You have to understand, your customers are comparing you to the best and worst customer experience’s that they have ever received.  Today your customers level of expectations is high, and this is a comparison which you can’t allow yourself to fail.

Many companies claim to give great customer service, but do they deliver what they promise?  Many times they don’t, and they have set themselves up to fail.  Their company culture is built with an operations mentality with rigid rules, policies and procedures that just don’t allow for flexibility.

Frequently companies inflexibility prevents them from being more than just average or satisfactory.  Lets examine a few of the differences between customer-focused companies versus operations-focused companies.

 

5 Steps to a Great Customer Experience

 

 

Build Your Culture on Leadership

 

It’s impossible to build a customer-focused company culture without leaders who set the vision and mission of the company, and then lead by example.  Setting the example you want followed is key to establishing the culture you desire.  Then it’s a matter of encouraging employees to embrace the culture and follow in your footsteps.

Leading an operations-focused company takes a different approach.  Again the leadership sets the vision and mission of the culture, but often the vision is coupled to an attitude which stresses following a rigid set of rules and procedures.

 often stresses that employees need to follow a “Do as I say, not as I do” approach.  This behavioral approach can be at odds with what they want to achieve, often leaving employees confused and less motivated.

 

People Must Always Come First

 

The customer-focused company knows the importance of putting people first, especially employees.  They encourage a culture of happy, engaged and fulfilled employees who deliver a better customer experience.  Customers recognize this, embrace it and continue to come back.  Customers can feel when a business values them, and knows when it doesn’t.  

An operations-focused companies culture is focused on developing rules and procedures.  Instead of placing people first, the focus and measure of success is always and only the bottom line.  While a strong bottom line is crucial to any company’s success, not focusing on the people misses the culture part of the equation.

 

Hire Employees to Fit Your Culture

 

A customer-focused company hires people who enhance and will embrace the company culture, this simply means that any employee’s hired must have the personality and values that align with the companies vision and mission.   Certain jobs may require skill, but skill alone should not get an applicant hired who does not possess the necessary people skills. 

An operations-focused company will hire for skill, filling a position with technical strengths.  The applicant’s personality may or may not fit with the corporate culture.

 

Train Your Employees for Success

 

A customer-focused company spends time and money training for soft skills such as relationship building and customer service. The company recognizes that it takes both, technical and soft skills, to break away from being average. 

The operations-focused company spends most of their training dollars and time on technical skills and product knowledge.

 

Empower Your Employees

 

A customer-focused company empowers employees to make decisions that are for the benefit of the customer.  The company establishes guidelines rather than rigid rules.  It’s an approach that allows employees to deal with each customer in an open and flexible manner. 

The companies guidelines allow employees to take independent actions as long as it isn’t illegal, immoral, won’t cost the company money, and won’t harm the company’s reputation.  The company focus is on serving the customers needs, and doing whatever it to takes to satisfy the customer. 

The operations-focused company requires a manager’s approval for anything that is outside of their policies or typical way of doing business.  Employees are unable to provide customer care if it does not fit the companies rigid set of rules and procedures.

 

What’s Your Customer Experience Choice?

 

 

How do You See Your Customer Service

 

Are you a customer-focused company that sees customer service as a philosophyto be embraced by every employee of the company, recognizing that there are both external and internal customers. 

Or, are you a operations-focused company that sees customer service as a department.

The differences are huge and are focused squarely on the type of business culture that you would choose to follow.

 

Is Your Digital Marketing Strategy Finding Your Audience? *

Is Your Digital Marketing Strategy Finding Your Audience? *

Are You Targeting the Wrong Audience?

 

 

What Is Your Target Audience?

 

With a market full of customers you need to determine the target audience for your business.  When you market your business, the biggest mistake you could make is thinking that your product is for everyone.  

Don’t shoot without aiming.  If you want to succeed and grow your business, you have to define who your ideal customers are with as much detail as possible.  Create stories that engage your visitors and get them to take action.  To do that you should follow our 6 steps to target your audience more effectively.

 

How Do You Find Your Target Audience?

 

Your online businesses faces a flow of irrelevant traffic on your websites.  Using the latest tools and techniques has helped many businesses drive traffic to their platforms if only for a  few seconds.  Conversion rates from that type of traffic is in most cases is negligible.

Using basic SEO skills coupled with a good content strategy you could get many random hits quickly.  But they would be of less value than a small number of hits from users who are actually looking for your services or product.  

Focus your time and energy into reaching out to those who are actually looking for what your business offers.

 

Define Your Target Audience

 

Defining the target audience for your business will assist your business strategies in many ways.  It saves your marketing energy that was previously being wasted to reach a larger but less interested audience.

The result is that you can generate the same revenue with less resources if you know what your target audience is looking for.

 

Who is Your Target Audience

 

Understand Your Target Audience

 

Your Target Audience in eCommerce is different from what you have in the real world.  You don’t have the same interactions with customers in eCommerce as you would at a physical store.  

Your judgment on a customers behavior and personality in a store provides information which is unavailable during an eCommerce encounter.  The challenge is to develop the same insights during an eCommerce transaction.

Imagine you have an online store for sportswear.  It’s important that you understand the lifestyle and behavior of people who follow sports on a regular basis.  

If you are a fan of what you’re selling in your store it would be easier to make assumptions about what your customer desires.  This removes the need for basic research as you already know what, how and when your customers want your product.

 

 

Picture Your Customer

 

As an online store for sportswear, you should have an understanding of your ecommerce target market. Make an individual profile for every user that visits your online store.  

Once determined who you have to focus on, your marketing decisions will become much easier.  You will be able to selectively target a group of similar customer profiles.

 

Customer Segmentation

 

With the customer profiles you created, you can categorize your ecommerce target audience.  Use demographical information, such as name, address, user behavior etc.  

Today’s practices suggest that businesses should make note of customers’ lifestyle, profession, and needs that are not being met.  This helps online businesses engage their visitors helping you to create your promotional messages.

 

Customer Feedback

 

Successful entrepreneurs have developed best business driving strategies while interacting with their customers.  It is common practice to record customer feedback immediately after completing business with them.  

Some online businesses take it a step further and offer a brief welcoming survey to new users, in order to learn their needs before the process begins.  Data generated from surveys and customer feedback can be graphically displayed to see where your ecommerce business stands and which segment can be improved.

In addition, due to regular communication with customers, you can also ask them to write reviews of your product or service on public forums.

 

Know Your Promoters

 

Once you have identified the target audience for your online store, the next step is to look after promoters of your brand.  Customer promoters are advocates of your business that help popularize your brand via word of mouth.  

It is general practice to leverage a satisfied chunk of your user base and educate it to build a strong referral base.  To accomplish this most companies offer incentives to their promoters.

 

Stalk Your Competitors

 

This is one of the most important details that businesses need to take care of.   It is common practice among industry giants to track their competitors and their strategies.  

This practice can be seen in everyday life.  Look at the example of a hand sanitizer that claims to wash away 99.9% of germs from your hands.  In response, a competitor launched an improved hand sanitizer that does the same in less time.  

 

Understand Your Competition

 

Similarly, online businesses need to be aware of products and services being used by their competitors. Sometimes, it is the same product or service, just the difference of strategy used in marketing to the right audience.

Therefore, keeping track of competitor’s audience is an efficient way of knowing what market should you take care of.

 

Evaluate Your Digital Efforts

 

Now that you know how to find your eCommerce target audience, it’s about time to evaluate your business plan and consider a few things.  Would your target market benefit from your products?  Would they truly benefit from it’s existence?  How can you trigger them to make the buying decision?

 

What Drives Your Customer’s Decision Making

 

Determine what drives the decision making among your potential customers and how often they can afford to do business with you?  Answering these questions should help you prepare your business strategy for your online businesses target audience.