Why You Need to Have a Two Way Conversation With Customers

  • September 17, 2017
  • 5 mins read

The only way for a business to survive in the digital space is to keep its customers engaged with the brand through contextual communication. Although some businesses manage to communicate with their customers, what most businesses tend to miss out on, is establishing a conversation. So what’s the difference?

In the name of consistent communication, businesses create an email drip campaign or use social media to update their customers about something new. But what about the traditional method of having a conversation that results in understanding how customers perceive your brand, the challenges they are facing and offering them custom solutions that can be consumed easily?

Get into the customer’s shoes

Think about the number of times you see a social media post from a business, promoted on your feed like this..

While they want to get straight to the point here and ask you to apply for the course, what if you had some doubts like whether the classes are flexible or not, what all the course will entail and so on? You might drop a comment, but you can’t possibly expect a full-blown conversation happening with another ‘person’ here! Now as a customer, you’re probably ticked off at the point because none of your questions are even close to being answered, at least not within the time-frame you’d expect.

The importance of two-way communication

In the above example, although the customer could eventually get a response, the conversation was more or less one way. While surveys, NPS or polls can get you close to how a customer thinks, they prove to be less effective in truly trying to understand your customer. Believe it or not, the best way to get insightful answers is by having a direct conversation with the customer.

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Here are a few benefits of having a two-way conversation with your customers:

1. Understanding the changing customer needs: When a customer converts or engages with your business for the first time, he is looking for specific solutions. This solution might not only solve an existing concern but might also lead to the customer’s progress in the customer lifecycle or the need for another solution. That’s when having a quick chat will prevent him from looking for other competitive solutions to suit his changed need.

2. Identifying customer expectations: In a consumer-centric market, it is important to understand what the customer expects from your business. When you talk to a customer, you are able to identify the concerns he may have while interacting with your business or purchasing a product you offer. This enables you to cater to those needs and fulfill expectations that further enhance the customer experience.

3. Implementing client defection measures: To ensure a sustainable growth in a competitive market, it is vital for businesses to focus on establishing a loyal community of customers. Having a conversation helps you instantly understand which client is more likely to leave your business and why. You could them implement client defection measures to turn negatives into positives and retain the customer.

4. Identify upsell and cross-sell opportunities: As I mentioned earlier, having a conversation is imperative to understand how a customer’s needs are changing. When you know what they are looking for ‘at the moment’, it gives you an opportunity to upsell or cross-sell your solutions to them. Since they have already engaged with your business, they’re more likely to trust your offering.

5. Boosting word of mouth promotions: Businesses that talk to their customers often are better able to gauge their customers’ needs. This enables them to serve their customers better. Not only does this lead to a business optimizing their products and services as per the changing market, but also gets them brownie points for being ‘great’ to a customer. And by brownie points, we mean a lot of referrals!

Simply put, having a two-way communication with your customers can reduce the churn and increase the retention rate with contextual engagement.

 

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A simple phone call

Since the dawn of social media, there has been a ton of debate on how social media is one of the best ways to have a two-way conversation with your customers. While E-mails and social media platforms are a great way to engage with customers, they aren’t necessarily the best tools to help you build a definitive rapport with your customers. Even today, people love to talk and keeping them engaged via a phone conversation is one of the easiest ways to build a quick two-way conversation.

In fact, Neat meats improved their business by having simple phone conversations with their customers. Their story highlights the power of keeping customers engaged via a simple phone call.

Why making the call matters

In a post by Close.io, Steli highlights why you should call your churning customers. The simple act will actually help you understand their needs, what they were looking for and how you could prevent them from leaving your brand for a competitor.

At Exotel, however, we don’t believe in waiting till the customer is ready to churn. We believe in understanding the customer before even reaching that point and that’s why we treat calls as our most prized possession.

According to Harvard Business Review, 57% of consumers prefer interacting with humans over automated messages and prefer getting the solution they are looking for at the first interaction.

If it is the call that matters, then effectively having a two-way conversation over the phone should be a piece of cake. But if you’re a smaller company with limited resources, you most likely don’t have 24/7 customer support. So how do you effectively have a two-way conversation without any of your customers feeling ‘not cared for’?

Cloud telephony as a platform for a two-way conversation

As a customer, if you called such a company that didn’t have 24/7 customer support, you’d typically end up giving them a call, recording your message and endlessly waiting for them to get back – even after which you might just receive an email before you even get to speak to someone.

Not what you were waiting for, is it?

In the past, we’ve used cloud telephony in various ways to ensure our customers get the most out of their conversations with our teams. Here are some of the ways in which our clients and we have leveraged  cloud telephony to build two-way conversations:

Visibility:

Ever since our customer support has become 18X7, we’ve had situations where our clients have called us during the hours our support team is off. Being able to track these calls and making callbacks directly from the system became one of our top-most priorities. With cloud telephony, we’ve been able to track when a call has come in, prioritize callbacks, ensure each callback happens and ensure our clients’ queries are always catered to. While there have been other modes of communication that we’ve received queries from, our standard response has always been to just call the customer and clarify all that they need to be clarified.

With this, customers can now explain their queries in detail, we can now understand it well, give them a solution then and there. We’ve noticed that this helped us build a better relationship with the customer and avoided any possible miscommunication that has happened over emails or even social media for that matter.

Another one of our clients, Bawa Group of Hotels, provides a similar solution to their clients. This solution also helped them improve their call handling and increase their revenue by 30%.

Automated feedback:

Getting feedback from your customers is one of the best ways to keep them engaged and ensure that they are constantly kept up to speed. There are, undoubtedly, a ton of ways in which feedback can be taken from customers. One of the simplest and quickest ways to get feedback is using calls.  

In the past, some of our clients have used automated IVR calls and missed calls to ensure the customer gives his or his feedback. This is a less time-consuming process and is the quickest way for you to understand your customer’s needs.

What has this resulted in?

A meaningful conversation and definitely user satisfaction, without straining our resources!

What’s more? 86% of consumers are willing to pay more for a business that ensures great customer experience!

Worried about how you can make the call count?

With various hits and trials ourselves, we found 4 effective ways to strike a meaningful conversation with customers and we’re sharing them all here: Make the call, strike a conversation!

 

Further Readings:

Read: Check out this article on how SMS campaigns can benefit your business’ marketing.

Read: What is Computer Telephony Integration? Check out this article to know how it can help your company.

Read: Are you a stockbroker? Then you must be aware of the recent SEBI compliant call recording. Have a look at this article.

 

Manisha Mishra