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 2 – Revenue Impact

The rapid homogenising of product and services has made marketers shift focus to customer experience (UX). In our previous article, we explained the importance of reviews and rants leading to customer engagement for online and offline enterprises. In this post, we will be analysing the impact of a positive UX on your revenues. Most businesses struggle with this very important aspect of sales, as UX helps in faster customer acquisition and increased brand awareness.

User experience is the forte of your marketing and sales departments. They curate and deliver the information needed for successful pitches. Therefore, the information should be replete with industry insights and virtual product demonstrations. A McKinsey report about use of transformational sales and marketing methods sheds some light on the importance of UX. The report states that companies using such methods have 90% higher sustained growth than those who do not. And, sustained growth naturally leads to sustained revenue generation and vice-versa.

Use of Digital Interactions and Interactive Storytelling

Adoption of disruptive technologies is fast transforming the product as well as the customer. A customer’s approach is no longer ‘feature based’ but is rather ‘value based’. Customers these days like to use self-guides and engaging content for solving their problems. Thus, creating a solution that puts customer in the driving seat can give enterprises a means of self-directed sales.

Cross Platform Support for a Seamless UX

IoT has enabled so many platforms and services that having a UX for singular platforms is no longer feasible. A customer should be able to take the experience with him when switching between platforms. For example, your desktop site cannot be worse off than your mobile website or app. You can however, include perks to guide customers to your preferred platform, as is done by Amazon for its mobile app.

Targeting B2B Customers

According to studies, most B2B customers have come 57% of the way through a buying cycle before having a one-on-one with your sales representatives. Thus, the number of lost deals for B2B marketers should be unsurprising. If you are a B2B seller, then your UX should be able to communicate with your customers at every turn in terms of features and value. This way, when your sales representative presents his case, it will already be a done deal (the importance of self-directed sales, remember?).

Online and Offline Parity

Being able to provide a seamless experience when a customer interacts with you offline – either without internet access or physical visits – is also an important aspect of UX. Consider Apple’s website, call centre and store services as an example. Users get the same ‘cared for’ feeling when interacting with any of the company’s sale and service points of contact. Which in turn allows Apple to charge exorbitant margins on its products.

Dependable User Analytics

All processes which rely on user experience require constant tweaking and refinement. Therefore, getting actionable analytics data on user preferences and behaviour is imperative for driving revenues with UX. Analytics also help you understand the nature of ROI on your UX experiments. Using cloud computing and machine learning tools can put you ahead of the competition in understanding trends and market outlook.

Constant Improvement is Necessary

For continued revenue growth, a continued effort in the user experience is a must. Customers should not feel neglected after you have made the sale. Constant engagement through emailers, app updates, notifications, etc. not only makes users loyal, but also drives brand image and boosts sales.

Concluding thoughts: User experience is a key indicator of a company’s commitment. A positive UX strategy can boost your company’s revenues, just like it does for Apple, and a negative one can do the opposite, just like it did for Nokia.

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.

Got a Growing Sales Team? A CRM can help!

So here’s the thing. Growth of a business and consequently a larger sales team is a potentially positive development. A larger sales team means that more customers are being catered to. At least more clients are wanting to engage with your business which led you to hire more people.

All of this is great. However, what you also need to be mindful of is the management of this customer base. Customer satisfaction and retention is directly related to customer relationships. You would never want the quality of interaction to suffer due to increasing quantity. The solution hence is to turn to Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and invest in a good CRM tool.

Why CRM and what will a tool do?

Typically CRM refers to all that businesses do in order to analyze customer data, their patterns, behavior as well as interactions during the entire time or life cycle that the customer is with them. This information is extremely helpful, as it will enable you to formulate strategies and best practices both to be able to give your customers the kind of service required and also to have them stay on with you for longer.

There are a number of CRM systems that are available in the market and it is better for you to do some thorough research before choosing which system you’d like to invest in. However, that being said, most CRM systems are designed to incorporate these features below:

-The CRM system will identify the different points of contact between the customer and your business and then compile this data for analysis. These points of contact could range from anything such as social media handles, telephone, website or email marketing etc.

-There is arguably one feature of a CRM system that is very beneficial for businesses. Whatever data the system collects gets consolidated and reflected into a single database that you as the business owner or your sales team can easily manage and access. Having all of this information in one place helps to get a bird’s eye view of what your customer base is up to and what is it that you need to do to mange them effectively

-A good CRM system can also help with the productivity and efficiency of the sales team. There are options such as marketing automation and contact center automation. These features help in automating certain tasks such as sending out marketing alerts to potential new customers automatically. Options include using a pre-recorded voice system for problem solving and giving out information

-A CRM system also records the various customer interactions and you can use this information to track and evaluate performance as well as the productivity of your sales team. A growing sales team makes it harder to micro manage and this is where the CRM system can step in and make things more effective

CRM systems are very popular with most growing businesses and it would make sense for you to evaluate your needs and invest in one. With a larger team, automation and streamlining of processes not only boosts efficiency but it also leads to much better management of your customer database, something that is critical to your business.

Another plus point and one that is also very important is to be able to track lead generation. A lead that is lost is a conversion opportunity gone down the drain. This is not something that you would like to consistently encounter in your business model. CRM systems help in effective lead tracking and facilitate the process of cultivating a positive customer relationship too.

The point being, a CRM system will eventually be an eventuality. If you want to seamlessly transition into the next level of your business growth plan, it will be helpful to invest in such a system sooner rather than later.