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Professionals in the customer service industry know how complicated people can get—some are delightful, some are moody, some are grumpy, and so on. This is where knowledge of psychology principles comes in handy. At their core, business and psychology both explore a better understanding of people’s behavior, wants, and needs.

Of course, customer service ties both fields together, as providing a top-notch customer service experience is the key to acquiring and retaining new and existing customers. Here are a few ways you can leverage psychology to deliver the best customer support.

Man’s Hierarchy of Needs

Let’s start with the fundamentals. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is as follows (from the bottom to top): physiological, safety and security, love or belongingness, self-esteem, and self-actualization. This motivational theory in psychology shows that human beings must fulfill their bottom-tier needs before they can attend to higher-tier needs.

The same theory can be translated to customer service, as demonstrated by Julien Rio’s Customer Care Hierarchy of needs:

While empathy, kindness, and politeness are key to providing excellent customer support, your customers will not be able to appreciate it without you first resolving their tangible issues. As such, customer service representatives must first address all basic problems before advancing to more complex issues and ultimately making the customer happy.

Freud’s Pleasure Principle

Freud was right about the pleasure principle—humans are hardwired to seek instant gratification for their urges and wants. If things don’t turn out the way they want it to, they would feel down.

As customer service professionals, you want to keep your customers from feeling that way. You can help your existing and potential customers reach out to you fast and easy with instant chat features or social media. This not only makes your customers feel grateful for the immediate attention, but it also keeps the customer on your site longer (which can generate leads).

The Halo Effect

People are most likely to remember the first and last thing they hear. The halo effect is a cognitive bias where the brain allows positive traits to influence one’s assessment of a brand and its entirety. It’s your goal to create a positive experience for your customers to have a remarkably positive impression of your company.

When a client reaches out to customer service for the first time, their initial opinion will shape their entire perception of your brand. Ultimately, this perception will influence whether they’ll stay loyal to your brand, refer your products and services to other people, or choose your competitor instead of you.

The Norm of Reciprocity

It’s human nature for people to give back when they receive something they like. Reciprocity is a common yet underestimated concept in the customer service field. This has two types: trumpeted reciprocity, when the receiver knows and expects to receive something; and surprise reciprocity when you give them something they didn’t expect.

Customers expect brands to resolve issues they may have with the products and services they paid for. It’s common sense. But, when you give them more than they’re expecting and they feel like you extended your services to ensure their satisfaction, then they will deem it a favor they must return, whether that’s in the form of positive testimonials, reviews, or client referrals.

Summing it up

As a customer support staff, dealing with all kinds of people with different backgrounds, mindsets, and problems comes with the job. Whatever behavioral peculiarities or emotional state they’re in, it’s your responsibility to do the best you can to understand them—look at every angle possible so you can provide the best solution for them.

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Content marketing is not merely effective today. Its efficiency is growing with every passing year, according to statistics. People today devour massive amounts of content daily, so providing them with the top-quality stuff is the way to set yourself apart from the competition.

In 2019, you will need to focus on complex long-form content, experiment with formats, and pay more attention to your distribution channels and commitment.

You need to step out of your ‘comfort zone’ as an ecommerce brand and become a source of valuable and helpful content, not only product catalogs.

Top 4 Tips to Boost Your Ecommerce Content Marketing Strategy in 2019 1. Make long-form content your priority

You need to create different types of content in different formats to make your strategy most efficient. However, as data from BuzzSumo says, long-form content generates a better response from the audience. This means that it usually gets more shares and it more often pops up on the first pages of Google Search.

Usually, posts with 2,000 words or more are considered long-form. It’s imperative that you make these pieces valuable to your readers as this will not only increase the social impact of the post. Detailed and informative articles will help you establish yourself as an authority in your niche.

You can also repurpose this content more easily, which will enhance your marketing strategy overall. This is most important for small businesses as such an approach is more cost-efficient.

2. Make your emails better but fewer

According to HubSpot, 78% of consumers unsubscribe from ecommerce emails because brands send them out too often.

However, this doesn’t change the fact that email marketing has one of the highest ROI.

Therefore, in 2019 you need to develop a strategy that will work for a modern buyer, who is busy, easily annoyed, and highly demanding. If you don’t have a well-defined strategic plan already, read this beginner’s email marketing guide for Ecommerce brands. Then focus on creating a list of content types that will be most valuable to your customers. Those must include:

  • Articles/videos/graphics that help customers derive more value from their purchases.
  • Special discounts and unique offers available to email subscribers only (be sure to highlight that notification and add it to the email subject line).
  • Short surveys about products, customer satisfaction, and wishes of your loyal customers.
  • Product presentations.

Emails have the best click-through rate when they have an attention-grabbing subject line and arrive between 10 and 11 in the morning. Design and schedule yours accordingly. And remember to stick to no more than 3 emails a week.

3. Go omnichannel

According to research, businesses that use an omnichannel marketing strategy have a 91% better customer retention rate. This is an advantage an ecommerce business cannot afford to miss. Therefore, you need to plan your next year’s strategy in the same way.

The goal is to deliver equally high-quality service as well as cohesive design through all your channels. You should use a variety of marketing automation solutions to make omnichannel maintenance possible. However, don’t forget that you also need to adapt your content to fit each individual channel.

4. Develop more multimedia content

While well-written informative articles still rock, now is the time of videos and podcasts. These are the formats you should invest more in for 2019. To maximize the efficiency of your content, pair up multimedia with a text, as this will allow you to also get better SEO.

Note that this type of content must be of high quality, so you’ll need to use professional tools for its development. However, as live streaming is on the rise today as well, you should use this format to help your buyers develop an emotional connection to your brand. This will enhance their loyalty.

What are your content plans fo the coming year? Let us know in the comments below.

About the Author:
Tim Gordon – My interests range from business management to traditional folk culture and adventurous traveling. I always stay open to new ideas and expertise to make my writings handy and captivating for you.

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Marketing has always been one of the most important business drivers, but it evolved in the last couple of decades just to grow bigger and more complex. The result is that now you can hardly win over new customers using generic messages, so it’s crucial to tailor offers and personalize content.

By definition, personalization is a marketing strategy by which companies leverage data analysis and digital technology to deliver individualized messages and product offerings to current or prospective customers. The strategy is extremely important since over 60% of consumers expect companies to send personalized offers or discounts based on items they’ve already purchased.

What makes this marketing concept so powerful? It brings businesses a lot of benefits, including these:

  • Relationship building: Personalized content allows you to get closer to the consumers and strengthen the bonds between them and your brand.
  • Improved customer experience: Tailored offers make customers feel appreciated and satisfied.
  • Lead generation: Marketers who customize content can expect to generate more leads than their less agile counterparts.
  • Higher conversion rate: The same goes for sales results – personalized offers drive more conversions.
  • Customer retention: The last benefit is critical since personalization improves customer loyalty and turns consumers into brand advocates.

Now that you know the basics of personalization in marketing, it is time to see the most effective ways to apply it to your strategy. Here is the list of seven simple tactics:

1. Collect and Analyze Data

If you want to provide consumers with personalized content, you have to collect and analyze customer-related data. It’s the first step you need to take in order to acquire valuable feedback and design a proper strategy. Most marketers do this in three different ways:

  • Website analytics reveals user behavior
  • Tracking comments coming from social media followers and email subscribers
  • Conducting customer surveys and opinion polls
2. Audience Segmentation

Once you get enough material to work with, you can easily segment the audience based on various indicators. This will serve you as the cornerstone for future content creation activities. Our suggestion is to focus on these parameters:

  • Age and gender: It’s not the same whether you target teenagers or middle-aged consumers
  • Location: You can’t apply the same tactic to local, regional, and global markets
  • Education and annual income: Well-educated individuals analyze offers thoroughly and make data-driven decisions
  • Online shopping habits: These reflect personal interests of your prospects
3. Segment the Content

Now that you know everything about the target audience, you need to design the corresponding content creation strategy. Vivian Walker, a blogger at Brillassignment.co.uk, says you need to divide content so as to fit the three stages of the sales funnel.

Here’s how she explains it: “Generic content and paid ads are good for users at the top of the sales funnel because they help you to raise awareness. However, the middle part and the bottom of the funnel demand a more customized approach, with tailored content, personalized offers, and free trials.”

4. Personalize Emails

Although being one of the oldest channels of digital marketing, email campaigns still play a major role in contemporary business. According to the reports, personalized emails deliver six times higher transaction rates. For this reason, you also need to personalize emails to make the most of your marketing strategy.

5. Engage on Social Media

Another way to use personalization is to engage on social media and establish regular communication with your followers. The goal is to humanize the business by using the same style and tone of voice, letting the world know there are some real people working behind the curtain. It will help you to make the audience feel acknowledged and to strengthen relationships with the regular commentators.

6. Improve Customer Service

Every business must try to improve customer service and allow consumers to express opinions or send inquiries around the clock. What makes this process so important? First of all, high-quality customer service proves the credibility of your organization.

Besides that, you can use the history of customer interaction to personalize communication with your clients and anticipate their future needs. Luckily enough, there are all sorts of customer relationship management tools that can assist you in this process, so you can utilize these platforms to automate most of the work.

7. Measure Results

Customer personalization can only get you so far if you don’t measure the results of your marketing strategy. Therefore, you must keep an eye on all activities to detect both the good sides and pain points. Doing so, you will be able to improve or eliminate weak spots from your strategy and put an emphasis on content that already proved to be successful.

Conclusion

Personalization in marketing is not only an option anymore but rather a full-time necessity. Gone are the days when you could just make “one size fits all” content and expect people to show interest in your products or services. On the contrary, everything you do needs to be tailored so as to fit the need of the target group.

This post described seven simple tactics for customer personalization to boost your marketing strategy. We encourage you to spend some time testing these hacks and find options that perfectly suit your business requirements – it will bring you tons of new leads and drive conversions in the long run.

About the Author:

Scott Matthews is a professional content writer in such topics as a business relationship, SEO and digital marketing. Scott`s the biggest passion is blogging and traveling. He regularly takes part in different career growth conferences and contributes his posts to different websites. Contact him on Facebook and Twitter.

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Telegrams first gave way to the telephone which were then made obsolete by smartphones.

Everything around us is evolving and so is customer service.

Most businesses today have three or four channels of communication that allows customers to reach to them via phone, email, live chat and so on.

But instead of waiting for problems to appear and then go about solving them, why not anticipate customer demands in advance?

Here are a few ways to help your company transform to that way of thinking.

1. Look for problems to solve rather than products to sell

The product you have is relevant as long as the problem exists. When Alexander Graham Bell, the founder of telephone, approached Western Union the leading telegram company back then they couldn’t fathom the use of the device and rejected the offer. A few years later, the telegram wasn’t relevant anymore as everyone switched to the telephone. The new technology had made the old irrelevant and obsolete.

Graham didn’t wait for customer feedback to arrive at a revolution. He fixed the problem of inconvenience that plagued traditional modes of communication.

And that’s something you can do no matter how small or big your business is.

When Carmine Gallo stayed at the five-star rated hotel Grand Del Mer it wasn’t the beds and bath that made him pay attention. It was the customer service.

From placing water bottles in their cars for a hot day to arranging toys for his kids to play with to arranging courtesy cars all without being asked to the hotel staff won his heart over.

The staff was trained to look for cues and signals that meant the guest needed something. And through practice they nailed it.

2. Pay attention and mine the future demand from the next needs of current customers.

When Amazon first began life in a lackluster one-room office, it was an online bookstore that shipped books to one or two customers in the entire nation. As success began to snowball, the bookstore added many more things to their shelves including dog food, fishing supplies, and home products. Recently, the e-commerce giant crossed 1 trillion in market cap and the founder is the richest person in the world.

The mantra is simple. Once you’re successful with your existing line of products, you expand to more customers, more product lines. Somewhere during shipping books, Bezos realized his customer base would also love other things being shipped to them.

That’s not to mean you alienate your current customers and stop selling whatever it is that got you them in the first place.

Innovate ways to include other products and solutions in the catalog. You might want to hone into what your customers are doing and find a niche where you might serve new customers.

3. Offer interactive options

Know what separates Sephora, a company retailing facial products for women from the rest? They have an interactive makeup assistant that lets customers zero in on one make-up shade. It’s virtually applying makeup that’s as close to the real deal as one can get.

Sometimes customers want to try on things before purchase. How can you let customers do this?

4. Give customers an easy way to share their ideas

Your customers are your greatest source of inspiration. By listening to them you’re holding the key to alleviating their pain points and holding the key to solving problems.

When you create open communication channels you’re opening up ways to capture their thoughts.

Take to forums where your customers hang out and read their comments on blog posts.

Talk to front facing customer support agents and dive into excerpts from phone and chat conversations.

By capturing the customer’s voice you’ll be able to offer better services and offer a new range of products that are better suited to rising demands.

Here’s an example.

Sainsbury changed the name of its popular bread called the Tiger bread to Giraffe bread.

Why?

A three-year-old girl Lily Robinson wrote to the company saying that their Tiger bread looked more like a giraffe.

She said, “Why is tiger bread called tiger bread? It should be called giraffe bread. Love from Lily Robinson age 3 and 1/2”.

Instead of dumping the letter in the trash, the company responded by calling it a brilliant idea.

The letter was posted to the girl’s mothers’ blog and later went on to become viral hit over social media.

The customer service agent wrote back, “I think renaming tiger bread giraffe bread is a brilliant idea – it looks much more like the blotches on a giraffe than the stripes on a tiger, doesn’t it?”

Along with the letter, little Lily got £3 gift card as well.

It need not always be about incorporating feedback. A kind well-thought response too can do wonders.

An aged British woman thought that every time she searched on Google, someone at Google HQ responded to her request in the form of search engine results.

To that end, she used please and thank you with each of her queries. She felt that being mannered would result in quicker results.

Her grand-daughter posted this online as a tweet which got retweeted over 11000 times.

This was Google UK’s response, “Ben’s Nan” saying: “In a world of billions of searches, yours made us smile. “Oh, and it’s 1998,” it added. “Thank YOU”.

By showing your human side you’re winning hearts and creating loyal customers for life.

Conclusion

What do you think of this new strategy of anticipating your customer’s needs rather than waiting for problems to crop up? Let us know in the comments below.

About the Author:
George started ThinkingNE to share the latest and best in marketing and Conversion rate optimization. Most of his time is spent helping clients better their conversions.

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Getting quality content marketing on to your website is just half the battle. Once you’re convinced you’ve got your messages just right then it’s time to take a long, hard look at just how effective your content actually is and if it’s working exactly how it should.

With just a little exploration into your metrics, you can give your content a clean bill of health or decide which content is making the rest of you site unfit for service.

See The Bigger Picture

There are several ways to measure the effectiveness of content marketing, the most obvious being through data analysis such as Google Analytics. But this yardstick alone does little to reveal the deeper issues of your content.

To probe deeper you’ll need to use a more well-rounded set of metrics to measure how many people are viewing, sharing, returning and engaging with your website. You should consider which pages are visited most frequently and the average length of time visits last.

Brian Delafonte, a Marketing Manager at Writemyx, said: “If you just look at website traffic you’ll be missing out on some crucial data. You want to know which content works and which isn’t going anywhere near achieving your goals. Once you have a wider picture, it becomes much easier to make some good decisions around your content marketing strategy”.

Measure More Than Just Visits

You need to measure more than just traffic and another metric to bear in mind is how your list of subscribers has grown. If you spot a spike in the number of visitors signing up to your email list then check back and see if you made any changes to your content or advertising strategy during that time. Use that information to define further engagement on social media or elsewhere.

Make sure that as well as the numbers, you have a clear idea of where these new subscribers have come from and flag the more successful sign-up locations.

Be sure to compare the number of subscribers you have gained with the number who have unsubscribed to get a bigger picture.

Quality Not Quantity

While it may be satisfying to see lots more visits to your website, if they’re not staying to read, then your content marketing is missing the mark. Set time aside to figure out how many minutes, on average, visitors stay on your pages and which pages have the longest and shortest read rates.

According to Laura Hubbard, a Content Writer at 1day2write and Originwritings: “You need to consider why some pages are attracting longer visits, for example, are visitors staying to watch your video clip or skipping it? This will help you choose what’s helpful and what’s not”.

Sharing Is Key

If you have a solid social media strategy you’ll know that, like website hits, volume isn’t everything. Measuring social media interactions is another worthwhile metric and gives you a direct link to the audience you’re trying to engage with.

Don’t just measure how many people liked your Facebook, Twitter or Instagram post but also how many shares and retweets it attracted. Were there any direct messages or comments to consider, how and why did people engage with your posts and tweets?

Consider the response to your posts as feedback. It’s a useful tool for hearing back from customers directly as to what they think about your content.

If you think more feedback would be useful, then direct mail, surveys and social media posts are a great way to hear directly from your site visitors and potential new customers.

Seeing the bigger picture is a crucial part of measuring response and engagement with your content marketing.

While it is tempting to simply measure the metric that makes you look the most popular or gives you the greatest number of visits, this alone won’t show you what’s really going on page-by-page.

Don’t make analytics a part of your evaluation that only crops up once in a while on an ad hoc basis. Instead, make time monthly to schedule a series of metric tests and make sure you’re getting the best from your content marketing.

About the Author:
Margaret Riehle works at Academic Brits as a recruiting analyst. She enjoys spotting business trends and blogging about all areas of business.

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As a business owner, you’re likely familiar with tools and resources for online integration. However, despite a number of options at your fingertips, many of these online tools have limitations.

Some online self-service options provide FAQ resources and allow customers to conduct searches, but then take them to external sites to uncover the answers. Others allow customers to ask questions or request information, only to have to wait several days or weeks for a response.

Enter the cloud call center and all-in-one online integration services, which can provide unmatched satisfaction to customers looking to get answers to some of their burning questions in order to enjoy your product and/or service.

Here are several benefits of adopting self-service options in your business.

Why Utilize the Cloud?

The cloud is a centralized hub where your business can integrate several self-service tools for customers. These options include call center and chatbot tools, which help provide:

  • Quick and accurate responses to customers
  • Up-to-date, personalized call center integration based on your company’s niche
  • Text and chatbot replies via desktop and mobile apps
  • Escalation to call center agents for immediate answers

The beauty of relying on cloud integration tools is that your company is always online. Even if you don’t have live agents waiting to answers questions 24/7, online tools allow your customers to get answers to questions instantly.

Live Chat

Live chat and chatbots, as well as other similar tools, provide instant gratification to customers. Indeed, these options give customers the information they need when they need it. With this technology in place, there’s no need to sit on hold for 45 minutes, only to get sent back to the original customer service agent. Online chat helps customers find what they’re looking for, by providing answers to commonly asked questions that they may otherwise not have the means to receive.

Incident Ticket System

The adoption of online, self-service tools also allows companies to escalate up the proverbial food chain. Integration of ITS, or incident ticket systems, enables customers to raise a complaint or question that reaches the right department. With such technology in place, customers can come to appreciate the fact that issues aren’t lingering for days at a time. Ultimately, such integrative systems allow businesses to reply to issues in a more timely fashion.

Tech Support and Knowledge-Based Tools

Tech support is yet another self-service tool customers appreciate. These tools allow customers to see common answers to online FAQs without having to contact a customer service agent via phone. Knowledge bases are centralized libraries that provide customers answers to common-knowledge questions/information.

Customers can also utilize the tech support feature to send questions to the appropriate agent. Emails are typically replied to in 24-48-hours, depending on team availability. These tools provide customers another alternative to have their questions answered and learn information about a complex product/service offered by various online companies.

Why Integration Matters

Today, everything revolves around getting things done quickly — and online, if possible. Customers want instant gratification, and with the all-in-one, online integration tools, companies can seize this opportunity. It’s essential, however, to utilize proper self-service tools. If customers keep getting tossed around to different departments in a roundabout manner, it can make matters worse for companies. Therefore, adequate integration, implementation, and planning are crucial to choosing the right self-service tools.

Integrating the right platforms can do wonders for a company’s reputation and ROI. Moreover, the proper self-service tools will keep your customers happy, without creating a floodgate or delays in responding to customer inquiries.

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American Express reported that, according to research, Americans will tell 15 people about their bad brand experiences but only 11 people about their good ones. To someone who sees this as generic data, the implication is that a customer would propagate a poor experience to approximately 40% more people than a good experience. This confirms the psychological phenomenon that negativity garners more lasting responses than positivity.

These are the facts that led brands to become more conscious about their customer support practices. That said, in trying to revamp their policies many brands lean into myths that make no business sense nor bring any customer satisfaction:

1. The Great Myth: The Customer is Always Right.

This is thought to have been perpetuated by sales gurus and trainers. In reality, the rule is a bit too archaic to be followed today. It originated to make production-intensive businesses pay closer attention to customer complaints and improve their products. But today’s brands and businesses are already building solutions around customers; therefore, the assumption that the customer will always be right is too utopian.

Businesses need to see that customers are subconsciously prone to self-serving biases. Under a self-serving bias, individuals only look at things using their preconceived perception that their beliefs are correct and everyone else’s are not. This may be the case when customers contact brands with complaints. As a result, brands need to display an objective view when interacting with customers. They can do this by:

a. Focusing on Transparent and Honest Communication. This helps in building trust. Regardless of the problem, the brand needs to be honest. You would be surprised to know how many customer service executives don’t follow these practices. It can be as small as promising the time required to work on the customer complaint or about accepting a bug in the process. A customer is more likely to agree to wait an additional day for resolution than dealing with false promises.

b. Always Keep the Customer in the Loop. This follows the above principle. A customer would prefer to know their stage of complaint resolution than wait for the final resolution to magically show up.

c. Maintain Customer Data and Run Analytics. Brands should maintain customer data and analyze it with every interaction. Several insights can be ascertained, like trends in customer complaints, geographic trends and time differences between product purchases and initial complaints.

2. More training for customer care executives = More satisfied customers.

Sales coaches and marketing gurus want you to believe that training is the only way you can mold your customer executives into performing their jobs better. But think about it – this is also the only way that they can propagate their own business agenda. Even with good sales trainers, your employees can only be given a certain set of tools for handling customers. Your employees’ real mindset will depend on the degree of freedom they are provided when handling customers.

Top managers create procedures and directives for their employees to follow when handling customers, but the correlation of customer satisfaction is to the degree of empowerment your customer care teams are provided. You can use Chatbots to address routine customer queries and complaints. Here’s where your protocols and rules come in handy. When it comes to anomalous customer queries, employees can use live chat but will need a freer hand. This is where brand regulations won’t enter the picture. If you do not provide this, you will see impediments:

a. On the customer end, as the customer executives will need to get repeated supervisor permission leading to longer waiting periods for already-agitated customers; and/or,

b. With managers, who will get dragged into daily operations and menial tasks rather than making more-efficient processes.

An empirical study published for banks showed that when employees were given more structural and psychological power they had a direct positive effect on customer satisfaction. Employees are empowered by:

a. Providing them with an achievement vs. designation-oriented work culture.

b. Giving them contingent decision-making powers.

c. Linking incentives to customer satisfaction levels.

3. The customer is the centerpiece of customer service.

This is a key point for both established and upcoming brands. Top management often tries to establish the right procedures, protocols, and strategies to keep the customer at the center of the business without showing the desired results. They miss out on the key part of the puzzle – their internal customers, i.e. their very own employees. As the CEO/Manager of your company, you try your best to ensure customer centricity but the foundational work is performed by your employees. Therefore, you need to ensure that you are taking care of your employees. Then they will automatically take care of your customers.

A scholarly study published by Hallym University (Korea) and California State University – Sacramento (USA) proved a direct correlation between employee and customer satisfaction. Businesses need to focus on their employees, so their employees can focus on their customers. A further study by Gallup showed that satisfied employees lead to:

  1. Increased sales because they bring in new business;

  2. Better customer retention;

  3. Reduced churn rates.

These results are evident following the leadership principle, stated by Simon Sinek – employees will go beyond their call of duty when they know that their managers will do the same for them, if required. Employees are enthusiastic to go beyond their basic job description because they know that they have the complete support of their brand and top management.

4. No complaints = Happy customers.

A decrease in customer complaints may not be a positive sign. Many customers don’t have time or opportunity to express their discomfort with a brand, so many customers may simply choose not to complain. This is possible when:

a. The switching costs are negligible. It will motivate them to simply change service providers instead of talking to customer executives.

b. The complaint filing process is arduous and time-consuming.

c. Word-of-mouth has shown that the brand is unresponsive in solving customer queries. In this case, the business will need to pay for its past mistakes.

Brands need to be proactive when communicating with customers and asking for feedback. Management can gauge a customer’s perception of the brand and uncover insights that might otherwise go unnoticed. Brian Chesky, the founder of Airbnb, personally reached out to customers during the initial days of its operations. One customer gave Chesky an entire book of ideas on how to add more features to the app, which helped uncover various nuances seen only from a customer’s perspective. By not proactively reaching out to customers, brands are missing out on important customer insight and feedback.

Author Bio:

Sam Makad is an experienced writer and marketing consultant. His expertise lies in marketing and advertising. He helps small & medium enterprises to grow their business and overall ROI.

Twitter: https://twitter.com/sammakad

Linkedin : https://www.linkedin.com/in/sammakad/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sam.makad

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While customer acquisition may be at the top of your list, customer retention should be as well. Your company may produce the best or only product of its type on the market, but without good customer support, your business will have a hard time holding on to customers. Your customers want quick and efficient support when they need it if they are not getting that they will go elsewhere. If you feel like you may need to think about hiring dedicated customer support here are three indicators that you may be right.

Inability to Keep Pace with Incoming Inquires

Customers expect excellent service when making purchases. Not only do they expect to be served, but they expect to be served within what they consider to be a reasonable amount of time. Now that the world has been digitized customers expect a response within a day and many of them within hours.

If you find yourself and the rest of your team struggling on a daily basis to return emails, phone calls, social media interactions, or chats on your website with customers in a timely manner, then you may want to consider dedicated customer support.

Customer support response time expectations have been increasing among consumers, between 2014 and 2017 studies have shown that the number of customers that expect an immediate response by email, within 15 minutes, has increased more than 10%. A study done by Arise on customer support email response time showed that 16% of customers expect an immediate response, 21% in under an hour, and 44% in 24 hours. When you fail to respond to customer requests by email within 24 hours, you are letting down over 80% of your customer base.

There is even more demand for speedy responses if your company uses social media profiles to interact with customers. A study done in 2015 showed that 85% of customers submitting inquiries through a Facebook account expected a reply within 6 hours. The study also showed that 64% of customers interacting through Twitter expected a response within 1 hour.

If your team is unable to keep up with this level of demand you are likely alienating consumers and pushing them to use products where customer service response times are faster. Believe it or not, decreasing your customer response time will give your business an edge on competitors. A 2017 customer service benchmark survey done by Super Office revealed that 62% of the 1000 firms they queried did not even respond to their customer service requests. The findings for email customer requests were even worse, 90.5% of businesses did not bother to respond at all. In addition, 97.6% of companies did not bother to follow up with customers after a customer support request had been closed out.

Harvard Business Review found that 65% of customers that have a poor customer service experience will share this experience with others online, while 48% go on to spread the bad news to friends by mouth. Everyone gets busy, but that is no reason to put off having a dedicated customer support team and leave your customers in the dust.

Loss of Repeat Customers and Large Email Volumes

Every business should be running customer acquisition and retention statistics throughout the year. This data helps to identify buying patterns correlation with regions, season, or customer demographics. If your business is receiving much higher email volumes than expected, it is likely time to add a live chat function to your website and create social media accounts if you have not done so already.

In the case of large volumes of emailed customer support tickets, you will see the same questions over and over. It is easy to lose track of answering these types of requests since they all tend to be similar in content. Adding a chat function to your website as well as access to a FAQs page should take care of the majority of customer support issues you are currently facing.

Having a social media presence for these matters can be helpful as well. A social media presence gives customers an easy and quick way to access the answers that they need about your products. For a small to medium-sized company hiring one person to cover the chat function and social media accounts should suffice. If you are an international business, you may want to consider hiring people in different time zones for the requests that come in while you are sleeping.

Having a chat function on your website will also serve as a form of front-facing customer service and sales as well as support. This way, people that have questions about placing orders or about the product itself can be served immediately rather than having to wait. The longer you force customers to wait, the less likely they are to complete a purchase or repurchase from you in the future. Remember, your product may be the only or the best on the market, but you will not keep customers if you are unable to answer their requests.

When Assigned Work is Put to the Wayside in the Name of Customer Support

All-inclusive customer support duties are a good experience for everyone in the company, but if product developers, CEOs, and others are spending too much of their time on customer service that can hurt your company in the long run. Customers will undoubtedly feel special if they know that they are talking to the CEO of a company about why their product won’t turn on, what additional sizes it comes in, or arrived broken in the mail, but A CEO should not be spending all of their time on customer support issues. The same goes for others within the company.

A sure sign that your business needs a customer support team is when you see product development, updates, and bug fixing coming to a standstill to meet the demands of your customer base. Most people on your team will not complain about performing customer support services, and often you will not be alerted when the load becomes too much for them to handle. As a business owner or manager, you need to be on top of how these functions are affecting the overall growth and functioning of your business.

Customers are your lifeblood, but so is your team, if you are continuously burdening them with tasks external to their job, they can become burnt out and eventually leave. The same goes for customer service and support departments once you have hired them. You want to avoid employee burn out at all costs because without your team you do not have a business.

Do you think that your business needs a dedicated customer support team? If you are experiencing any of the above issues, you may want to think about hiring at least a part-time customer support employee to take some of the workload off your employees and guarantee customer satisfaction. Giving your customers a better service experience not only give you an edge but it will help you to grow your business faster. Give the following some thought; total volume of support tickets per week or month, what the average turnaround time for tickets are, who is spending time responding to tickets, and is time spent on tickets taking away from other productivity.

About the Author

Andy Steuer is the Co-Founder of Helpware where we help companies build their own enterprise-grade customer experience teams so they can earn more margin as they scale their businesses.

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For ecommerce websites, the essential thing is to attract as much relevant traffic as possible. Of course, you need to have a well-designed website, offer quality products, add various incentives, discounts, content, etc. but all of these things are easy compared to driving quality traffic.

On top of that, all of these things won’t matter if there are no interested people visiting your site and seeing what products and discounts you are offering. This is why we have created this list of 6 things that can help you drive traffic that has interest in what your ecommerce store has to offer.

1.   Competitiveness in products and prices

When running an ecommerce store, chances are that you will have a few competitors. The nature of this kind of business allows many entrepreneurs to start something on their own and the market is fairly saturated. On top of that, you are competing with everyone on the Internet. This is why you need to be competitive with your products and prices.

Look to deliver similar or better quality products at similar or lower prices. You can use competitive pricing analysis software to boost profits by quickly learning more about your competitors, their products, and their prices and adjust yours to provide better offers to your customers and increase sales.

2.   Social media presence

Social media has become a vital part of any business online. These platforms are perfect settings for promoting your store and products while attracting more website visitors. By building your audiences on social media and engaging them, you will have the potential to build a strong presence that will be noticed.

Share updates about your store, new products, discounts, special services, and get the word out about your store. This is how more people will learn about your business and potentially buy something from you. Additionally, you can create ad campaigns on networks such as Facebook and reach wider audiences with a small investment.

3.   Work on SEO

Search engine optimization is the practice of optimizing your website in various ways to increase your search results page rankings. With a good SEO strategy for your website, you can rank for good keywords that people interested in what you have to offer search, which will lead them to your website.

SEO is the best practice for increasing organic traffic, and organic traffic carries the most value. Although SEO takes a lot of time to rank your site high in searches, once you get there it can sustain your business for a long time without having to invest in any other form of marketing. Learn about B2B SEO tips, tricks and tools, and do this on your own, step by step.

4.   PPC (Pay Per Click)

PPC ads are those sponsored search results you see when you look for something using your search engine. PPC is a paid marketing method where you can instantly climb to the top of the search rankings for certain keywords while ignoring your current SEO quality. PPC ads can also be video ads on sites, banner ads, social media ads, and so on.

These campaigns are set up very quickly and can instantly bring you lots of valuable traffic if done properly. It can be used to boost sales when you need it the most and get some long-term customers. However, it can cost a lot and backfire if done badly.

5.   CRM (Customer Relationship Management)

A CRM solution can help you gain valuable information about all of your online customers and manage relationships with them effectively. This is very important in modern business, especially in ecommerce where you need to provide great customer experience to be competitive, as explained in this article.

A CRM solution allows you to monitor all customer communications through all channels and always be there to respond to them, store information about them, analyze this information to improve marketing and sales and create better customer relationships overall.

In the online world, where there is no face-to-face communication, you need to care about your customers and tend to their needs.

6.   Branding tactics

Since the competition is fierce in ecommerce, it can be difficult to attract customers. To swim out of the sea of similar stores, you need to brand your business and offer something unique. You need to build trust around your brand and let everyone know you are serious.

This includes creating your own brand voice, sharing your story, creating branded content, implementing designs that represent your brand, and reward your customers for taking actions on your website. This is how people will remember your store and come back to it again, as well as recommending it to their friends.

Work on all of these things simultaneously to boost your traffic or prioritize them one by one to make the most out of these options.

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A recent study by Accenture found that over 90 percent of companies today have some kind of customer loyalty programs in place. Yet, over 71% of customers surveyed by the researchers said that these programs do not really engender loyalty.

One of the primary reasons for this wavering loyalty is that although investments in such programs have increased, businesses have not kept pace with understanding their customer’s responsiveness to these initiatives. In fact, in nearly a quarter of the cases, these loyalty programs were found to elicit a negative or non-existent reaction, thus hurting customer relationships.

Reward points and loyalty certificates are no longer adequate to sustain business relationships. From a customer’s perspective, the learning curve required to use a new product or service efficiently is often the biggest deterrent. Effective onboarding strategies can help with customer acquisition and improve customer experience. This, in turn, serves as a deterrent to them switching to another brand.

Onboarding Tools

Signing up a new customer is not the end of a sales journey. For effective retention, these customers need to be trained to use your product or service efficiently. There are several ways this is done.

B2B organizations focus on classroom-style training sessions that often last days or weeks. Consumer product manufacturers include manuals and tech-specs handbooks for new users to read and get acquainted with their new purchase.

But according to Nikos Andriotis, an eLearning specialist at TalentLMS, the most effective way to onboard new customers is through bite-sized learning techniques. He points out that human beings can only concentrate on novel information for short spans of time. After this, their concentration wanes away significantly.

By breaking down the onboarding lessons into short and quick sessions, customers tend to retain a lot more of their onboarding sessions and are thus more adept at using your product or service.

To improve onboarding effectiveness, businesses may look at breaking down their sessions into small chunks. A B2B organization may invest in daily newsletters that train its customers to perform one activity each day. Alternately, businesses may also invest in activity-based learning. Letting customers actively engage helps with better retention and thus improved onboarding.

Coach Marks 

A one-on-one session with customers is not practical for businesses that sign up hundreds or thousands of customers each day. This is especially true in the case of mobile apps and website based businesses.

A popular way to onboard such customers is through coach marks. Coach marks are essentially graphical overlays that highlight the various buttons and sections of your website. A new visitor to your site is thus taken to their account with coach marks turned on by default. This helps a customer understand how to do the things they want to use the platform.

Online Courses

Onboarding a new customer can consume a lot of time and resources. Small business owners and consultant may find this challenging since this restricts them from scaling their business.

For instance, a wealth consultant may need to spend a considerable amount of time with each of their new clients explaining their investing methodology and about the various investment categories in general. This is important to building credibility and ensures that customers are more patient with your strategies.

Such consultants may look at onboarding with the help of online courses. These tools allow the consultant to deliver top-notch initial consultation to all of their customers. This can be followed by a focused one-on-one session where the clients’ unique needs can be addressed.

Also, depending on your industry, your onboarding may need you to train your customer on industry-related topics.

The above customer onboarding techniques serve one very specific purpose – to make the customer understand your product or service better. The end-goal here is to improve your customer’s experience with the process. Although the quality of your product or service eventually determines your success in business, it is worth pointing out that customers are more than willing to provide your business with the leeway to improve as long as the switching costs are high.

With onboarding, customers tend to get comfortable with your product and this is one of the most powerful ways to build long-term loyalty.

How have you implemented onboarding in your business? Let us know in the comments.

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