Why Customer Engagement is Important? Part 3 – Returns and Refunds

As an entrepreneur in today’s times, it is important to understand the value of customer engagement and how it is linked directly to the success of your business. An interactive relationship with your customers helps boost positive brand loyalty and this goes a long way in boosting the overall credibility of your business.

The advent and consequently, the rise of social media has led to customers having almost direct access to businesses and brands that they purchase from. Leveraging this channel in the most optimal possible way should be an integral part of your business strategy and planning.

While there area number of ways to connect and engage with your customers, social media handles are the most popular and effective. The ease of access and your clientele knowing that they can reach out to you with any sort of comment, suggestion, complaint or idea gives them a feeling of being heard and helps reiterate how important they are to you.

Customer engagement through social media can be promoted in many ways:

By sharing useful content: Good content is a mix of information, releases, your own product promotions and interesting articles or blogs that generate interesting discussions about your industry. Customers get bored with pages that only highlight their products. Think of variety when posting to sustain interest.

Being answerable: This is very critical as a big part of customer engagement includes making sure you reply to any and every comment, rant, review or suggestion that has been posted on your handles. Don’t let this slip and this can really have a negative effect if not taken care of.

Regularity: Find the right balance when it comes to posting. Don’t spam but post regularly enough so that your customers do not forget about you. There is a thin line and it is important to have a dedicated resource looking after your social media platforms.

Customer engagement helps returns and refunds. Here’s how:

Most customers are looking for quick resolution when it comes to returns and refunds. Including this aspect in the customer engagement strategy is a must.

Make it easy- Whether it is online or through a customer call, make it easy for your customers to return products and apply for refunds. Positive customers engagement is fuelled by not just the sale but also the returns that needs o be taken care of very sensitively. In fact, this is one thing that can prove to be the Achilles heels of many a businesses.

Define the terms clearly: Customers need to know what the terms for refund and returns are and this needs to be very clear, transparent and out there through the entire sales process. Find ways to get the information to your clients in advance so that there are no rude surprises for them. This will count as a credible point when it comes to rating your customer engagement.

Staff: Nothing can be more critical to your customer engagement than your staff. And this means both online and offline or via phone. Your staff needs to be knowledgeable about your products and return policies and be able to handle your customers in the utmost polite manner. A bad experience with a staff member can damage the reputation of a business immensely and this is especially true during returns as customers are already on the back foot and anticipating problems. Alternatively, a positive experience here can lead to a very healthy and long customer association.

Evidently, customer engagement cannot be treated as a by the way, one the side kind of activity. It has to be a full blown, thought through process that involves methods that are effective, innovative and garner successful results. There is no running away from this. This concludes our series on Customer Engagement. If you haven’t read the previous articles, you can visit Why Customer Engagement Is Important? Part 1 – Rave Reviews and Rants and Why Customer Engagement Is Important? Part 1 – Revenue Impact. We’d love to know your thoughts in the comments.

Why Customer Engagement is Important? Part 1 – Rave Reviews and Rants

Customer engagement has become an important parameter for business success today. In this context, customer engagement is now almost synonymous to customer satisfaction. Customer engagement can happen through both online and offline channels. Positive customer engagement not only boosts your brand’s reputation but can also help drive sales. There are several ways a business interacts with its customers.

Product Review Sections

Customer review sections are some of the most visited sections on e-commerce sites. A product review is like a personal endorsement from a genuine purchaser. New buyers read these reviews for making a decision. The more negative or positive reviews you get the more effect it has on your sales.

Social Media Pages

Buyers also leave reviews on social media brand pages. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram have become a medium for buyers-seller communication. Popular brands have been engaging with customers on social media for a while now.

Review Aggregators

These independent review sites let people rate their buys and offer advice to new buyers. Users can also rate offline products and services here. For example, TripAdvisor lets users share their experience of hotel stays.

Online Forums

User forums have also become quite popular with first-time buyers. Websites like Quora have become an important source of information for the netizens. Again, these forums are quite useful when you are looking for offline product reviews.

Customer Care

Customer care numbers still get a lot of queries and complaints. Although a bit conventional, this is a more interpersonal medium for customer engagement. Generally, customers can rate their experience through SMS and email questionnaires after the call.

Significance of Rave Reviews and Rants

• The most visible effect of 5-star reviews is that these reviews help drive your sales. The closer you are to a 5-star rating, the more buyers choose your product over the competition. Replying with thank you notes to your customers can further enrich user experience.

• Happy customers not only help improve online sales but can also drive offline sales. Nowadays, social media and word of mouth can spread a customer’s experience like wildfire.

• Unhappy customers can also be a source for driving sales. Timely resolution of user concerns can motivate them to reverse their initial review. This in turn can make a potential buyer confident in trading with you.

• Furthermore, user rants can also be beneficial for your company. Analysing negative reviews can help you understand the ways customers use your products. Based on that you can develop alternative usage scenarios for your product. Also, genuine user concerns can be used as a guide for future product development.

• A good user engagement strategy will also increase brand loyalty. A buyer is more likely to shop for your product if he/she has had a positive experience in the past. Buyers may also look for your brand’s other offerings in such instances.

Concluding thoughts

User experience or UX is fast becoming a key factor in increasing sales/growth for companies. The theory was brought to fore by the late CEO of Apple Inc. – Steve Jobs. The success of Apple all these years later is a testament to the enduring philosophy of UX. Customer engagement forms a large part of UX and is critical for any business’s long-term success.

The Ultimate Guide To Grow Your Business Online

Given the economic climate, for any business intending to grow to its maximum potential, there is no shying away for exploring the online space. In fact, as a small business owner what is important and critical for you to understand is that optimizing your business on the web is no longer a choice that you can contemplate making or not making. It’s actually a necessity and a reasonable amount of time and resources need to be diverted for this.

The big question however is- how do you get the best returns on your investment and what is it that you can do to make sure you are leaving no stone unturned when it comes to finding new ways of growing your business online?

Here is a best practices guide to help you navigate this space effectively:

Build your online presence:

The first step for you is to evaluate your online presence. What we really mean by this is that “being online” can mean number of things. A lot of people confuse online with just social media. Do not make that mistake. Your online presence quite literally consists of a combined effect of all the different avenues available to you. This usually consists of your website, all the social media handles that you are on and tools like email marketing that you can employ. A complete overview of your online presence and an in-depth strategy on how the different platforms are going to be connected to each other is a must.

Think about mobile:

With over 300 million people in India accessing the internet via their mobile phone, you need to make sure that your mobile strategy is well thought out. For this to happen, your site needs to be mobile savvy and you need to work on that. Invest in building a mobile site that is nicely accessible on smartphones and also rich in content. Search engines consider mobile friendliness as an important factor when they rank your site. It is important to keep this in mind as, if you are not able to do this, you will lose online visibility and this will affect your online growth immensely.

Engage on social media:

We cannot emphasize this point enough. Using social media for business can be tricky but if played well can reap very high rewards. Remember, you can use your social media handles as the voice of your business. Whatever you want to convey about your business, your products and services can be done via these platforms. You can use these handles to talk to your customers and this will keep them engaged. In addition, your customers will get to understand your brand better and this usually leads to a more personal connect and builds loyalty. One way to sustain this engagement is to remember that your handles should not become cluttered with information just about your business and promotions. Create a content calendar that has space for sharing information about the industry, storytelling and giving your followers a chance to interact with you and your business directly. Focus on authentic and creative ways to hook your followers.

Social Media Marketing:

In the present web scenario, there is no running away for online marketing. Most platforms expect you to invest some money in online advertising and it’s only with that that they will give you the outreach that you desire. The good news however is that if you are able to invest smartly, you can get very good returns on this money and you’re the visibility of your business can really grow online. For this to happen you need to make sure that target audience is chosen well, the posts that you are going to promote are picked after some research and thinking and also make the best of what each platform has to offer in terms of advertising. Other than this, regular SEO for your website is a must and reaching out to customers and keeping them informed consistently via e-mailers is very important.

While it doesn’t end with these four, given the expanse of the web, even investing and getting these right as basics can help kick-start online growth, something that can then be built on consistently.