How Many Ways Can Your Customers Contact You?

The good news: there are more ways to communicate with your customers than ever before.

The bad news: there are more ways to communicate with your customers than ever before.

Let’s count them first, then come back to why that is both good and bad news.

  1. Phone calls
  2. Email
  3. SMS/Text messaging
  4. Live chat
  5. Facebook messenger
  6. Chat bots
  7. Twitter
  8. Other social – WeChat, Snapchat, Instagram
  9. In Person (is it weird that I thought of this one last?)

I’m probably leaving some options out. But already there are nine different ways for your customers to contact you.

Why that’s a good thing

Conversations between customers and brands today are far more common than ever before. Consumers are loyal to, and trust the brands that do right by them. They have relationships with brands the we might think of a relationship between friends.

New options for communicating with customers lead to new ways to serve, please, and wow them. And that is an opportunity for your business.

Why that’s also a bad thing

While all these different methods of communication open up new opportunities, they also carry a bevy of challenges for brands. First and most common, there is more to manage. You want to be where your customers are, and that means trying to accommodate as many different channels as possible. But that puts more strain on the departments managing these forms of communication.

Second, there’s more that can go wrong. Customer service is hard enough with only one channel to worry about. We have all seen the kind of PR nightmares that can erupt when one customer has a bad experience. That’s more and more likely to happen the more different conversations are happening.

Embrace it

Some businesses choose to handle this new communication climate by trying to ignore and deny it. And while I conceded that for many businesses, especially smaller ones, it can be difficult to manage all the different communication channels, my recommendation is to embrace them. Your customers have. And the better you serve your customers, the more they will love you in return.

How Marketing Teams Can “Sell” Their Ideas

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It’s been a long running theme of this blog that marketing teams should do their best to communicate with other departments better. The reasons are simple. Marketing has a plan on how to sell the company’s products and services, but they’re not the ones who actually do the selling. They put the plan in motion and hope for the best.

A sales team, or customer service team in some companies, needs to be armed with the right answers and the right offers when they get an interested consumer on the phone (same goes for email, live chat, in person, or any other method of selling or answering customer questions).

So it’s the job of the marketing team to prepare the sales team. Here’s how:

  1. Before a new campaign is launched, hold a training session with the sales and customer service teams. Prepare a presentation and sell them the promotion just as they would sell it to your prospects.

  2. Host a question and answer session to make sure that everyone on the team understands exactly what the offer is and exactly how its worded.

  3. Create a two-way communication system that allows members of the sales or customer service teams to get their questions answered after the promotion or campaign is launched.

  4. Appoint someone from market to liaise with the other teams and hold them accountable.

How to Get More Out of Your Employees: Part 2

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Welcome to Day 2 of a two day blogging event I’m calling “How to Get More Out of Your Employees”. Check out Day 1 here.

If you’re a manager, on any level, you know how important it is to get the most of your employees. The job of a good manager is to cultivate an environment where your employees can flourish. Because when your employees flourish, so will your company.

Today’s tip is: listen to them

The roles and responsibilities of leaders are changing. In the past, the common belief was that the best and brightest people within an organization were at the very top, and that all the good ideas came from the executives at a company. After all, that’s how they got there in the first place.

But times changed. And in today’s world, its vital for success as a manager to understand that good ideas come from all over the place. Instead of coming up with all the ideas, good managers create an environment where good ideas are created, refined, and given the attention they deserve.

Here are some ways you can open up communication in your organization:

  1. Create a physical or digital suggestion box
  2. Incentivize good ideas with public recognition and even cash rewards
  3. Have executives meet with front line employees on a regular basis
  4. Hold regular town hall style meetings with an open agenda

Much has been written about millennials and the challenges they present to employers. But the truth is, the younger generation wants to have more say, and more control over their jobs. And as an employer, it’s important you recognize that someone who wants to take ownership over their position is more passionate, and likely to improve your company.

You should cultivate this mindset, and be on the lookout for real innovative ideas wherever they come from.

Did I miss anything? Let me know in the comments below.