Today’s consumers want more than a 1-800 number when interacting with your brand. In fact, they want brands to treat them like people. For consumers, that means getting answers when they want them, communicating on the channels they prefer, and reaching them on their terms, often 24/7. How can your small business keep up with such a tall order? By embracing modern communication channels.
In the digital age, consumers determine which companies lead and which companies are left behind. According to our Small and Medium Business Trends report, 58% of SMB leaders say meeting customer experience expectations is a challenge for growth over the next two years, and 53% of SMB owners feel they are at a competitive disadvantage versus enterprises when it comes to meeting customer expectations. But there’s good news: technology has become the great equalizer!
Today channels like Instagram and YouTube can be an equalizing force for small businesses, helping you reach more prospective customers to grow your business. Here are three ways to use digital channels to meet customer expectations.
1. Use social media to build rapport and inform purchasing decisions
Salesforce Research shows that 52% of buyers feel social media has given them more power as consumers, and this newfound power means that it’s more important than ever for your small business to engage with customers on social platforms. Not only do consumers increasingly use social media to communicate directly with businesses, but they also use it to inform purchasing decisions. According to our State of the Connected Customer report, consumer-generated content, like social media posts, are now considered a trusted source of proof of quality for many products and services.
Fortunately, this also means social media is a great opportunity to develop strong connections with customers. Customers are already talking about your products and services on channels like Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter; create a customer experience that’s worth raving about by actively engaging with them in the messages and comment sections of these platforms while using clear, consistent messaging.
2. Offer instant communication, like chat or messaging
With the rise of connected devices also comes the expectation that every interaction and transaction will happen in real time. They expect to have questions answered without having to wait for a callback. As a result of these expectations, “Contact Us” pages will soon become obsolete.
Real-time communication tools like chat, or messaging apps like Facebook Messenger, allow customers to ask questions while shopping, this means they can make more informed decisions about your products and services. These tools support a better purchasing experience for the customer and reduce the number of post-purchase cases your service agents will have to manage.
3. Manage customer service calls, but better
For many customers, dealing with customer service departments is a miserable experience, especially when they’re bounced from one agent to another and asked to repeat their circumstances each time. Today’s savvy businesses have a CRM in place to alleviate issues like this. With a CRM, your team can easily track customer information to quickly align on service calls. Calls can also be automatically logged, minimizing manual entry and ensuring customer data doesn’t get lost. Most importantly, CRM offers a better customer experience — your customers don’t need to repeat basic information to reps each time they are transferred. Instead, they’re routed to a service agent that is specialized in their issue, reducing transfers altogether. When businesses minimize the friction for customers to get help and the manual tasks performed by service agents, everyone has a better experience.
Consumers expect you to meet expectations
Current trends show 76% of customers expect companies to understand their needs and expectations, and that customer-centric companies are thriving, while those that continue their antiquated processes are left behind.
Wonder how your small business can get up to speed with customer expectations and use social media for customer service? Check out the newest release of Salesforce Essentials, the CRM app built for small business, and use Facebook Messenger, Web Chat, and Lightning Dialer for customer service. Respond to customers via Facebook Messenger chats, through your website’s embedded web chat, and manage inbound and outbound calls — all without ever leaving Essentials. You can even connect your business’s Instagram and YouTube accounts so when your customers leave comments, new cases are created in Essentials and you can respond to all incoming requests in one place.
With Salesforce Essentials, your small business can spend less time worrying about customer expectations and more time providing outstanding service.
Salesforce Essentials helps you find more customers, win their business, and keep them happy so you can grow faster than ever. Learn more about our small business CRM solutions by following us on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.