I hope you enjoy this guest post from Monika Götzmann of Miller Heiman Group.
Why Your Customer Service Should Influence Customer Engagement – by Monika Götzmann
Engaged customers are extremely valuable, and can be described as those who have a personal connection to a brand. Research from Rosetta found that engaged customers spend 60 percent more per transaction, while they are also three times more likely to recommend a product to a friend, according to the Harvard Business Review.
In the past, customer engagement was primarily generated through marketing and sales “touchpoints.” However, in the current business climate, the best way to influence customer engagement may be through investing in customer service training and ensuring you deliver a continuously great customer experience.
Modern Customer Cynicism
Studies show that customers are more cynical than ever before. They are more likely to see through advertising claims, less likely to respond to offers and increasingly rely on the opinions of friends. Indeed, Smart Insights found that only 18.31 percent of marketing emails are opened and the average click-through rate is just 2.06 percent.
In addition, the internet and the inter-connected nature of the modern age has meant that customers now expect to be able to form deeper, more meaningful relationships with companies. This is where customer service plays a role, because most of the meaningful interactions customers have will be with customer service staff.
Delivering Great Customer Service
An American Express study found that 59 percent of customers would try a new brand if it meant they would receive a better service experience. This highlights the importance of delivering great customer service and in particular, customer service courses should emphasize product knowledge, friendliness and personalization.
Meanwhile, multiple surveys have shown that long delays in being able to get in touch with a customer service agent is a top source of frustration and a major obstacle to engagement. Customers want a human touch. They want to be able to speak to a real person, who listens, addresses their concerns and tries to provide them with solutions.
Effective Use of Social Media
One of the best ways to influence engagement via customer service is through the use of social media platforms as fast response channels to speed up the customer query process. Sites like Facebook and Twitter provide an opportunity for brands to make more personal connections, although customers have high expectations, demand quick responses and want companies to go the extra mile. It is best practice to ensure customers are notified directly on the platform’s main page how fast they can expect responses and if the customer service team can only respond during business hours for instance.
“The rise of the social web has led to a fundamental shift in the way businesses of all sizes engage with their customers,” says Wendy Lea from Inc.com. “Companies that engage with their customers via social media have more loyal customers. Better yet, customers who engage with a brands online report spending 20% to 40% more.” However, brands must carefully choose which social media platforms they wish to have a presence on as “being everywhere” is not best practice. Knowing where the majority of your audience is on social media is key in order to decide on the best platforms, and setting up a comprehensive engagement and customer service response plan.
Monika Götzmann is the EMEA Marketing Director of Miller Heiman Group, a global sales training and customer experience company. It specializes in providing exceptional customer service training courses and helps organizations develop business strategies to achieve sales success. Monika enjoys sharing her insight and thoughts to provide better sales and leadership training.