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Customer Centricity Should be at the Core of Customer Service
The Internet has changed the way organizations interact with their stakeholders, both internal and external. But, have companies truly made the effort to implement a strategy to communicate effectively with their internal audiences to effectively improve their external audiences? Well, yes and no. Here is one of my favorite quotes from Paul A. Argenti’s Digital Strategies for Powerful Corporate Communications:
“Culture shapes the employee experience, which in turn, affects the customer experience, business partner relationships, and ultimately shareholder value.”
For more on culture, check out our blog post: Customer Satisfaction Begins with Company Culture
Essentially, customer service starts from the inside and works its way out. But, how can organizations ensure their customers are receiving the best service from employees? Well, they simply must align culture with values, which resonate with employees and customers alike. Easy enough, right? Maybe, maybe not. It definitely requires all parts of an organization to be connected, which demands a cohesive and integrated marketing strategy. What is an integrated marketing strategy? The Journal of Integrated Marketing Communications defines it as:
“Integrated marketing communications (IMC) is a customer-centric, data-driven method of communication with consumers. IMC—the management of all organized communications to build positive relationships with customers and other stakeholders—stresses marketing to the individual by understanding needs, motivations, attitudes, and behaviors.”
So, IMC emphasizes a customer-centric communications strategy, but what does that really entail and what can you do to create a customer-centric strategy? Simple, give them great service! To show you what we mean, what better way to gain insight into best practices in customer relations than to ask our client services team at GreenRope? Here are a few tips and practices these client service guru’s use to establish good relations with every GreenRope client:
1. Create and cultivate a relationship based on human connection.
Client Services manager, Darius, explains that customer-centricity begins with connecting with the customer on a personal level. Most people think support is purely technical, yet Darius believes that building a conversational relationship with the people he helps improves the overall experience, both for him and the customer. His commitment to knowing each client on a personal level allows him to create a more fulfilling experience, which helps establish trust and understanding. This understanding resonates with one of GreenRope’s core values: commitment to the support of our clients. Darius aligns himself with company values, making communication with the customer an enjoyable experience on both ends.
2. Be empathetic and share your own experiences.
When people buy a product or service, they often need direction to effectively use it. Sometimes it can be daunting and a little frustrating to learn how to use a new product or service, even when tutorials, help pages, and step-by-step directions are available to you. People like to speak with people (and preferably don’t want to wait 45 minutes listening to elevator music, until the ‘next representative is available’). Darius explains that empathy is a beneficial trait to have when speaking with customers because it allows you to better understand their frustrations, concerns, or issues. He finds that sharing a personal experience that resonates with the customer is a great way to guide them through the problem. Once the problem is solved, the customer usually feels more comfortable asking for assistance and feels empowered to tackle each issue that arises. This demonstrates customer support’s role as ‘your partner in business,’ another of GreenRope’s core values. GreenRope illustrates our culture of being accessible and approachable by using personal anecdotes and empathy to relate and put all issues and concerns into perspective.
3. Be quick to respond
Nothing screams “I don’t care about my customers” more than making them wait for a response. Lagging on response time makes customers frustrated before they even speak with an employee. If customers are annoyed from the get-go then it is much harder to create a good experience for them. On the other hand, responding quickly screams “I want to help you solve any issue you have!” Even if you cannot address the problem immediately, merely saying that you acknowledge it will improve the customer experience. It also prevents your leads from exiting the sales funnel. A delayed response can potentially drive people away from your brand, so make sure to gratify instantly!
Client service is at the front end of communicating with existing customers. Of course, customer-centricity must be at the heart of your sales and marketing as well. Are your customers consistently happy with their interactions with your brand? Would they recommend your brand to a friend? If the answers are yes then keep doing what your doing! If your employees aren’t communicating with customers using these three tips, then consider sitting down with your customer service team to get an idea of the main obstacle people are having, or gain feedback on your service using a survey.