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Tuesday, 20 December 2016

7 Ways to Automate Conversations with Your Customers

Maintaining an open line of communication with your customers is key to any successful business relationship. There is real customer satisfaction when your customers know that you’re behind them and are ready to support them every step of the way. This is a win-win relationship which does not necessarily mean you’ll need to spend extra man-hours to keep your lines of communication open. Even if there are a lot of customer service requests, you may not need a human being to handle them all. That is where automation comes in.

Putting automation to work in your business frees you and your employees up to continue to move your business forward, while still keeping a level of support that your customers expect. Here are 7 cost effective ways you can automate that process.

01. By Making Use of New Technologies: The commonest technologies that might assist in the automation process are the use of mobile apps. The most effective of these apps are those which help to walk customers through common issues so they can fix problems themselves without the need for your involvement. Others might use SMS to text a code to a number to get information on their account, a balance due, or to automate the payment process.

02. By Using Technology for Follow-up: Even after you’ve made a sale, it’s still important to keep the lines of communication open to your customers. The follow up helps to increase customer satisfaction by merely letting your customers know that you’re out there if they need you. That helps to address potential problems early on by addressing issues early. Common problems are easier to fix early on. For instance, using a simple automated email might be all that is needed to open a line of communication between you and your customer.

03. By Automating Your Social Media Presence: As many business owners have come to realize, Social media outreach is an important part of their business’ public face. It helps to give potential customers and customers a sense that they’re connected to you. Promotion of what your business offers through social media channels may open up new sales leads, while customers may turn to social media to contact you about issues. There are many social management systems such as HappyFox that can actually filter social media contacts based on the content of the message itself. That helps to take out the work of a middleman to direct queries to the right person. These same systems can also automatically post to your social media accounts, allowing you to automate your marketing strategy and give your content maximum exposure.

04. By Using Surveys: Surveys are fairly common methods of automation. Granted you’re not always going to get a high response rate, the data obtained from well designed surveys are great ways to not only spot potential problems, but also initiate a dialogue with your customers. It helps to keep them short, relevant, and to the point. You may also find it necessary to use your survey answers to initiate further automatic emails to gather additional feedback on areas where the responses might be a cause for concern.

05. By Using the Callback System: These days, even though many consumers may show a preference for using the Internet to communicate with businesses, many still appreciate talking to a human being. Call such people “old school” if you like but they are still out there and in large numbers too. It is because of such people the callback is still a worthy option to include in your customer relationship strategy. On the same pages where you might have a “Chat Now” button, a “Call Me” button might be just as useful. For example, MobiForge software has some great examples of Click to Call or Click to SMS solutions.

06. By Initiating Conversation without Prompting: Smart business owners do not wait for their customers to first reach out to them. They easily recognize such actions their customers may take that might be a clear sign of a need for assistance. For example, a website visitor spending a lot of time in your help pages probably needs some kind of support, while somebody looking through your products and services might benefit from talking with a member of your sales team to assure the sale. There are multiple great tools out there which can help initiate any conversation. Tools like LiveChat and BoldChat, both with customizable audience interactions can really be useful here.

07. By Using a Virtual Assistant to Handle the Simple Things: Just because you’re trying to be proactive doesn’t mean you’ll need to hire additional staff. A good portion of customer service requests are simple in nature, and with chat bots becoming ever more intelligent, automated systems can handle those issues quickly and easily. This frees up your employees to deal with more complex problems. Chat bots such as Botsify (for Facebook Messenger and other apps) can answer those simple questions that might arise from whatever actions your customer is taking on your site.

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