When was the last time you asked your customers how they like to communicate with you? Do they prefer to pick up the phone? Jump online? Chat via a bot? With customers today jumping from channel to channel, and with different demographics preferring different forms of communication, things can quickly get complicated.
Yet it’s definitely worth untangling the complexity and identifying what your customers want, particularly when you consider that two-thirds of customers are more likely to buy from businesses that offer convenient communications.
While asking your customers what they want is an important business strategy, it can take some time to do the groundwork, preparing a survey or collating data, and then analysing the results. Fortunately, there’s a lot of research out there exploring customer preferences, which you can use to guide your decisions around which channels to focus your efforts in.
For example, Google and Forrester research found that chat and messaging are growing in popularity, particularly amongst the younger generation. And, in the Salesforce State of the Connected Customer report, SMS has landed in the top 10 list of preferred channels for customer engagement for the first time (the top three on the list are email, phone and in-person).
The same report shows that today’s digitally savvy customers want fast responses to their enquiries – with 83% expecting to engage with someone from your business immediately when they contact you. In other words, you can’t afford to leave them hanging.
Opening up the dialogue
As customer interactions move further into the digital realm, two-way communication is proving to be a great differentiator in the race to win new customers and retain existing ones. Whereas once upon a time, an over-the-counter interaction would help to build trust and rapport with customers, these opportunities are becoming fewer and farther between.
To compensate for the growing lack of face-to-face interactions, it’s important to open up new opportunities for two-way dialogue with your customers. The good news? You can easily achieve this across multiple channels – such as SMS, calling, email, chatbots, and socials.
Where you invest your efforts can depend on the type of dialogue you’re having. If there’s a sense of urgency or immediacy, then you should opt for SMS or calling over email. For example, a customer might want to know if you’ve got a particular product in stock. If you don’t respond fast, they might shop elsewhere. Or you might want a fast answer from a customer to guide your next sales action. It takes about 90 seconds for someone to answer a text message, compared to 90 minutes to respond to an email.
But if you’ve got detailed product specifications or technical information to share, then email would be a more practical channel to engage in. Or even calling – 60% of customers want to connect with sales via phone during the consideration stage.
Keeping an eye on changing behaviours
If there’s one thing we’ve learnt over the past few years, the way we do business can change, fast. Who would have thought we’d be sealing important business deals via Zoom? Or ordering our environmentally-friendly cleaning products via an online subscription service? This rapid pace of change is set to continue, and it certainly pays to keep your finger on the pulse of what customers want.
At the very least, watch and listen across all your channels. Monitor the types of questions and enquiries coming through each channel, track trends, and shore up your ability to respond in a timely and helpful manner in the channels that matter most.
Want to learn more?
Fone Dynamics has published an eBook on the topic of CX integration, which you can download now for more insights on the value of integrating channels like SMS and calling into your CRM.
If you’d like to chat about your CX integration needs, or see a demo, call Fone Dynamics on 1300 794 674 or firstname.lastname@example.org