I was working with a new client this week and one of my roles was helping them set up their business. I was brought in at step one with business licensing, name registration… Just the mention of that mundane step made you shudder, didn't it? It's the unglamorous side of business, but a necessary side. Going through the process made me think more about the business processes we follow as business owners, and more specifically, about customer service. With my client, in order for us to determine exactly what steps needed to be taken, we called various licensing departments: the city, the county, the state. We asked our questions, and for the most part were given text-book, lackluster responses. I chalked it up to “government speak” but now have thought better of it.
My question is this…
Why don't more businesses take advantage of the opportunity a customer inquiry presents?
Our world is extremely social now. A customer service call presents a great opportunity to highlight your business in a big, socially beneficial way. Here are three ways you can convert a simple customer call to a sale.
#1 Personalize your response to a customer's question.
If you receive a question via email or through your website or another digital channel, take advantage of the opportunity to create a personalized response. One brand using this strategy extremely well is Boston-based Warby Parker. In this video, a Warby Parker associate responds to a customer's post about a product. Instead of writing a drawn out response, the associate created a short video and really served as a personal shopping assistant. In the video, the customer is addressed by name, they are provided with possible resolutions to the problem, and they are greeted with professionalism and respect. There is nothing fancy about this video. It's a simple one-minute video taken with a smart phone and sent to the customer. But… it's also uploaded to YouTube and the Warby Parker Help Page. Video is a valuable content because 82% of audiences will watch a video online and mobile video traffic is growing 92% each year.
What are other ways to use this strategy?
- Send a birthday greeting to customers
- Create an office holiday greeting for national holidays
- Send a singing telegram as an invitation to an event (even if you can't sing)
- Send a personal video invitation to an exclusive event featuring an influencer
#2 Go beyond just answering the immediate question.
If someone contacts you and asks about a product or upcoming event, think of supportive information that might help further engage the client. For example, if you're asked when a sale begins, ask if they would like a reminder sent and add them to your email database, ask if they'd like a coupon, let them know you will be sharing special announcements on the company Facebook page and encourage them to become a fan. Most important, thank them for their call and address them by name.
For process questions, like the ones I was asking while helping my client set up their business license, think about other useful resources for the caller. Suggest your company resource page or FAQ sheet, or suggest a downloadable guide that you've published and offer to send them the link. Take it a step further and use a free video site like CamStudio or Moovly to create a short instructional video to walk them through a process. Share these process videos on your YouTube channel. (Read the exceptional story of Salman Khan who created videos for his niece, but now has the whole world watching.) This level of service will have a direct impact on the growth of your business.
#3 Help even if you can't help.
Sometimes as business owners, we get so wrapped up in identifying our target audience that we might inadvertently discard those who don't fit our parameters. This is dangerous because you don't know who your callers know, or what they will say about you, or who they can refer to you. Even if you aren't the right business, it's still an opportunity to showcase high-quality customer service and put them in touch with a company who can meet their needs. This strategy helps create positive, third-party publicity about your business.
So… add to this and in the comments, share about your most pleasant customer service experience.
Three ways to convert customer service calls to sales first appeared on myMarketing Cafe on 9-5-13