- Customer service is the best way to keep and lose customers, customer contact is the best way to increase sales. Social media is a cost effective way of keeping in touch with customers.
- Increased use of video can help strengthen a businesses’ connection with its customers.
O2 has published a survey suggesting that 72% of customers in the UK will ‘never forgive’ a small business for poor customer service. In the majority of circumstances customers can accept some mistakes; it is the way they are dealt with that ultimately defines how the consumer views a business. O2’s survey also reinforces the known phenomenon that bad experiences are much more likely to be shared by customers than positive ones. Customers want to be able to contact businesses quickly and increasingly, to get that response at any time of day or night. Hosted contact centre solutions are an excellent way for SMEs to improve their accessibility to customers. Enterprises should also now expect that their contact centre solutions are truly multi-channel combining more traditional IP telephony with online features including IM and click-to-chat.
Enterprises should also consider social media as firmly established part of a multi-channel contact strategy with agents able to respond via Twitter and Facebook. Furthermore, providing full contact centre access outside normal office hours is challenging (and often expensive), but directing customers to use either email or social media allows a single agent to deal with a greater number of complaints. Social media/email contact will also satisfy the majority of customers who will understand small businesses not being able to answer the phone at all hours. When dealing with customers in hours and online, however, small businesses should also consider providing support for video chat. ‘Face-to-face’ communication allows for a more genuine connection between the customer and the agent as the nuances of visual communication are in play. Visual contact makes customers feel like their complaint is being taken more seriously, and it is harder for a customer to become angry with someone they can see rather than a ‘faceless’ voice over the phone. Solutions are available that include support for mobile video chat, increasing the number of customers that can benefit from face-to-face contact. Deploying mobile video solutions can also have broader collaborative benefits if extended across a company as a whole.