Before the internet radically changed the way businesses market their products or service, the most implemented marketing strategy is the “one size fits all” type. This means that reaching out to customers was a lot of guesswork and relying on vast age ranges.
Putting a billboard ad on the highway was primarily based on foot or car traffic without any means of finding out if you are hitting your proper target. Fortunately, those days are fast becoming a thing of the past.
The Internet has been at the forefront of something called the “customer-centric” marketing. The boom of social media has made it possible for large corporations to personally reach out to their customers. Something which was not possible just a few decades ago.
Facebook and Google ads have revolutionized personalized ad targeting and will continue to refine their algorithms to further enhance this. It is the exact reason why businesses are investing a lot of money to refine their customer service platforms.
The rise of eCommerce and online marketing also gave rise to a lot of new competitors. Competitors who can directly talk to your customers and lure them away from your business. Truly, this is the real “age of the customer.”
What they think or say could make or break a business. They are spoiled with the numerous choices they have and their loyalty is something which is getting harder and harder to gain.
But with an amazing customer service platform, businesses can gain something that was almost impossible before the internet. That is a rabid following and an undying devotion from customers. With the advent of useful online customer service tools at your disposal, this task isn’t that hard to accomplish.
All you need is to find out which tools and tips you will need in order to fortify your customer service platform. Here are some of the best ones to get you started. And as a bonus, I will also include tips you can do if you are in the plumbing business!
5 Tips and Tools to Create A Great Online Customer Service Platform
1. Know your Customer
Nowadays, it is easier to find out a lot about your customers than ever before. One great way is to use email marketing tools like MailChimp and survey tools like Survey Monkey.
MailChimp is a software which allows you to create newsletters and speedy email blasts. It can also give you an analytics report on which email campaigns you sent that got the most click-through rates as well as which ones they engaged the most.
Survey Monkey, on the other hand, enables you to send out survey forms to get to know your customer better and how he/she reacts to your product. Whether it is positive or negative, you should eventually know how to speak to your core market as you keep doing surveys and email analytics.
Always keep in mind that great customer service is not just about helping customers out but also knowing what they want in the first place.
Tips for the plumbing industry: Make surveys that focus on what customers love or hate about plumbing services (examples of things they may hate: hidden costs, late quotations, etc.) and improve your service accordingly. Create a newsletter to keep your customers on the loop about promos and new services that you may offer.
2. Create a Community
People, in general, like the feeling that they belong. So, if you can create a community culture within your brand, then expect a lot of loyal and rabid customers. If a brand has a lush online community, chances are that at least a quarter of those people joined just because they wanted to be part of that community.
A community is also a place where your customers can discuss your product or service, recommend stuff to each other, and form healthy debates if it is moderated nicely. One great example of a great thriving online community is Beauty Talk (by Sephora), their forum is a hotbed of tips, discussions, ideas, and thoughts regarding make-up and the beauty industry.
Tips for the plumbing industry: Create an online forum where people can express their love for all things plumbing. Encourage them to engage and exchange ideas. Lead them to your services whenever they need something. Be patient, as online forums tend to grow organically.
3. Engage your Social Media Accounts
Social media is fast becoming the place where customers interact with companies and from the looks of it, that trend will not be slowing down. Have a good social media account manager who can regularly post and interact with customers through private messages and comments. Make customers feel that you are passionate about good service by making your presence felt in your social media accounts.
Facebook also has an analytics page that lets you find out which of your posts your customers like the best. You can also check out which ones your customers engaged with the most, most clicked, and just as importantly, which posts they do not care about much. This will allow you to figure out which content makes your customer’s eyes light up with delight.
Tips for the plumbing industry: Be as real time as you can get when engaging your customers. Plumbing emergencies are quite common and the faster you respond the better your customer’s perception of your company will be.
4. Use the Power of LiveChat
LiveChat is a tool that you can install in your website that lets you chat with customers. This is a great tool to use if you have a website that is getting a lot of traffic. You can effectively have a customer service representative talk to someone while they are on your website! Talk about a great online customer service as well as selling opportunity. It’s almost the same as having a salesperson with a customer at a brick and mortar store.
LiveChat essentially cuts the waiting time of communication between company and customer. Imagine all the customers you lose just because they can’t reach anyone. With LiveChat, you may not have to worry about that any longer.
Tips for the plumbing industry: Just like with social media, Live Chat is extremely useful for quick plumbing emergencies. Also, think about how easy it would be to discuss technical plumbing issues with you customers using LiveChat.
5. Don’t forget about SMS
SMS may be starting to look primitive, but that doesn’t mean it has stopped being a powerful customer service tool. While text messaging may have found competitions in the form of chat and social media, they lack the open rate of SMS.
According to Adweek, 98 percent of text messages are read by people compared to 29 percent of tweets and 12 percent of Facebook posts. Think about it, you probably skimmed through hundreds of social media posts but how many text messages did you disregard?
If you want to effectively reach out customers, SMS might still be your best bet.
Tips for the plumbing industry: Communicating with customers might still be the fastest with SMS. And in the plumbing industry, answering a hysterical customer could win you his/her heart.
Remember That The Customer is King
It’s pretty cliché, but that statement up there is as relevant as it could be in today’s world. With dozens of new competitors sprouting left and right, a great online customer service platform may give businesses the winning edge.