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Creating and Using Customer Testimonial Videos


May 17, 2017 0 comments Customer Service

“If a picture’s worth a thousand words, then video is priceless,” – Neil Patel A customer’s testimonial video can be an exciting business tool. The combination of moving images and the accompanying sound track can be used to develop an … Continued

“If a picture’s worth a thousand words, then video is priceless,” – Neil Patel

A customer’s testimonial video can be an exciting business tool. The combination of moving images and the accompanying sound track can be used to develop an arresting sales pitch. The commercial organization can use such tools to showcase its business achievements, acquire new customers, and retain existing custom. We have to bear in mind that the testimonial video is a document that cannot be easily acquired or faked. The very act of a customer giving his or her assent to a request for a testimonial video speaks volumes of the customer’s faith in the said business. We must note that such a customer is taking a conscious decision to endorse the products and services of a business enterprise, thereby effectively becoming a brand ambassador. A testimonial video also helps the business enterprise to measure customer satisfaction. This can be derived from the fact that the customer is using his or her own words to express his or her approval of a certain product or service. An enthusiastic performance on video can also help the business enterprise to identify a product or service advocate.

The modern business enterprise should invest a great deal of thought and some business capital into the decision to invite customers to help create testimonial videos. The business has to bear in mind that the intelligent customer may have his own point of view and that his narrative cannot be scripted. At best, the customer may be given some talking points to include in his or her performance. The crux of the testimonial video lies in the prior user-experience that was afforded to the customer. Therefore, a business must be cautious in terms of picking the right customer to star in a testimonial video. Further, a business enterprise may consider using a combination of different customers to get its message across to the audience. This strategy can prove its worth in outcomes wherein, a number of customers are speaking on the many aspects of customer service extended them by the business enterprise. Each customer can be requested to hold forth on a couple of points so that the final video product illustrates a wholesome end-user experience.

A customer testimonial video should be a competent media production that conveys a positive message about a business. The body language and facial expressions of the customer should be correct if the video is to convey the right message. In addition to video and audio, the creators of the media experience should consider adding animation and statistics to the video. This can help to enliven the proceedings, while helping the customer to stick to a business tone in his narrative. A customer quote can also be displayed on the screen in the form of moving or static text. Therefore, the intelligent use of video content, images, and customer quotations can make for a compelling marketing tool. The creative use of such communication can truly embellish the testimonial video with meaning that cannot be conveyed otherwise. We should note that the full power of video can be intelligently brought to bear on the customer’s testimonial.

A fine example of a customer testimonial video can lend itself to many uses. The video can be used as part of a sales pitch to new customers; it can also be used to transmit the core competences of the business enterprise on its business premises. Select stakeholders can be gifted a copy of the video to demonstrate the company’s ongoing commitment to the customer. We could also note that such videos, or certain parts thereof, can be embedded in the company’s website and its presence in social media platforms. The act of using such testimonials for publicity also indicates that the company is justifiably proud of its business performance. Further, these videos can be used as a narrative to highlight business achievements to the commercial competition. In addition, the customer testimonial video can be used as part of permanent media exhibits in corporate headquarters. These exhibits can go on to form a part of the company’s culture, can be used in employee induction processes, and can be displayed to visitors and sales prospects.

Beyond the obvious benefits, the customer’s testimonial video also signals corporate intent to stay in the business over the long term. This is important in commercial markets where every business enterprise is working to distinguish itself from the competition. A competently crafted testimonial also indicates that the corporate enterprise does not intend to rest on its laurels; instead, the glowing testimonial is a reminder for corporate chieftains (and the company’s rank and file) to set the bar higher and achieve new levels of performance. Further, the testimonial stands as a message that the business enterprise values the thoughts of the customer and is confident in its abilities to deliver business value to every customer. The multi-media document can be used to boost business confidence in the company’s rank and file by reminding them of past achievements measured in terms of customer delight.

A success story from a high-profile customer can work wonders for a business enterprise. The enthusiasm of the customer to speak in favour of a business experience can come through vividly in a video testimonial. The physical attitude of the person and his or her words can combine to create a distinct impression on audiences worldwide. The video-based customer testimonial is all the more relevant in modern times because the Internet is an everyday phenomenon today. The video can find pride of place in a variety of electronic communication platforms that are frequented by modern consumers. Further, a video-based testimonial helps to create an indelible marketing message that can convert sales prospects into firm believers, read customers. These developments have real-world consequences in that they can help a business to reduce its business expenditure on traditional marketing and sales channels. Therefore, we could say that a well-crafted customer testimonial video is a force multiplier for modern business enterprises.

In the preceding paragraphs, we have outlined the various benefits that follow a customer testimonial video. We have to bear in mind that testimonials build trust and establish the customer’s confidence in a business. The video image of a customer narrating his strong faith in the products and services offered by a business is an emphatic vote of customer confidence. The video can have a ripple effect and may serve to attract more customers to the business, while helping to develop a culture of confidence in the rank and file of the said business. Actionable customer insights are another outcome of a testimonial video. This is important because the customer may choose to voice his or her expectations from future products and services. This information can be used to impart tone and direction in new product development efforts. A good video-based testimonial can help prospective customers to overcome their scepticism and invest time and attention in a business enterprise. Testimonials can also help to drive purchase decisions and may be the starting point of a long-term business relationship. Further, customer testimonials can serve as important tools in business that serve long-term objectives like consolidating customer trust and boosting business confidence.

 

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Combating Choice Fatigue in Customers


May 16, 2017 0 comments Customer Service

“When you think of the blur of all the brands that are out there, the ones you believe in and the ones you remember, like Chanel and Armani, are the ones that stand for something,” – Ralph Lauren Choice fatigue … Continued

“When you think of the blur of all the brands that are out there, the ones you believe in and the ones you remember, like Chanel and Armani, are the ones that stand for something,” – Ralph Lauren

Choice fatigue is a by-product of the extensive and ever-expanding range of products and services that are on offer in much of the civilized world. The phenomenon has its roots in major events such as the Industrial Revolution and economic (and cultural) globalization that wrought significant changes in the world economy. Global and local markets have managed to create high-quality production processes and standards that have generated a surfeit of choice for the customer – in terms of clothing, food and beverages, automobiles, furniture, footwear, luxury goods, financial services, media consumption, and electronic appliances, to name a few. Mass media has worked assiduously to transmit these choices to the average customer. Meanwhile, commercial competition has worked to lower the prices of such goods and services – to the effect that the customer faces a bewildering range to choose from. This multiplicity has afflicted most sectors of the global economy. We could say that choice fatigue inhibits a customer’s ability to process information and arrive at a purchase decision.

In light of the above, we may state that the modern business enterprise has a significant role in helping customers to combat choice fatigue. Every business should take an active role in reaching out to customers and delineate the benefits of a product or service. We could say that such duties can be included within the ambit of corporate social responsibility, because reducing choice fatigue can begin by educating the customer. An informed customer can make enlightened choices in terms of what he or she wishes to pay for. Further, such a reduction can also help to soften the impact of high-powered commercial marketing activities on the health of this planet and its natural environment. We could say that businesses may be required to re-think and re-evaluate the customer from a merely statistical entity to a live, breathing, thinking individual. Therefore, a long-term engagement with customers can be nurtured by public outreach programmes on the part of the corporate entity. The benefits of such action can be manifest in winning the customer’s trust, loyalty, and goodwill.

Customer education can be marked as a primary aim of a business enterprise. This should be included in the corporate mission and values statement that every business displays on its website and business premises. A business should approach such initiatives with missionary zeal because these actions are in the long-term interests of any corporate house. New products and services are being fashioned every day, but we have to realise that these have high potential to add to the confusion that every customer faces every day. A confused customer may fall prey to marketing campaigns and may make purchase decisions that may not be aligned with his or her requirements. A flawed decision can burden the customer with a sub-optimal product or service that may lead to a sub-par end-user experience. Such mechanics can lead to a situation, wherein a customer is less than satisfied and may choose to take his custom to a different brand or manufacturer in the future. The resultant loss of customer trust can be bad for business and therefore, the business enterprise must plan ahead to pre-empt such situations.

Choice fatigue can also arise from inadequate or sub-standard customer service. We have to consider the fact that every customer may not be vocal about such services, but may silently decide to spend his money elsewhere. This could cause untold damage to a business enterprise; therefore, businesses should be sensitive enough to create a competent customer service experience for every individual customer. When such standards are achieved consistently, the customer is less likely to seek other brands and other services. The outcome of such experiences also tends to reduce choice fatigue among customers. However, it must be noted that every business has a duty to offer upgrades in their products and services in the interests of retaining customers. Such actions can help to excise the possibility of the competition wooing a customer away from a business with the lure of the latest offerings in the market.

In its pursuit to help customers overcome choice fatigue, a business enterprise can create innovative buyback programmes. Consider this: severe recessionary trends may force a slowdown in customer expenditure. Every business in the economy is impacted by such trends because customers may be undergoing job losses and therefore are choosing to curtail expenditure on non-essential items. In such a situation where business confidence is severely dented, a car manufacturer may choose to address customer requirements during the recession. The manufacturer could design a car buyback programme under which customers can sell their cars back to the company that makes these vehicles. We may say that this single gesture has the power to ignite customer confidence and spark a car-buying trend. Business history bears witness to the fact, that the programme actually helped to assure the customer and was instrumental in marking an uptick in vehicle sales. We could say that such innovation on the part of business enterprises can help the customer to combat choice fatigue and arrive at a legitimate purchase decision.

Helping customers to reduce confusion and overcome the paralysis that springs from confronting a plethora of choices can be helpful to a business. Every business should treat its customers as assets that can help the enterprise to rise above the mundane. A fine appreciation of such thoughts should inform the senior management and every employee of the business enterprise. Consider this: a shampoo manufacturer can recognize and acknowledge the many choices that can confuse a customer shopping for the said product. The sheer range of shampoos available in the market can overwhelm the senses and create confusion in shopping centres. The said manufacturer can easily classify its products to address the different types of human hair. This effort automatically reduces the categories of product on display and enables the customer to make an informed choice. The logic of commerce would indicate that such a manufacturer would gain enhanced mindshare among customers and hence, greater sales of the said product.

The text in the above paragraphs illustrates how enterprises can help customers to overcome choice fatigue. The many approaches to solve this real problem can be evaluated by the outcomes as perceived in the real world. Any enterprise worth the name should think in terms of long-term profits and must continuously affirm its sense of social responsibility. These objectives cannot be achieved in a day and therefore, the business must work relentlessly to inform, nurture, and grow the customer. This should pay long-term business dividends because the loyal customer is more likely to bring in other customers to the business. We must bear in mind that choice represents a wonderful thing, but choice must be modulated so that customers can find the product or service they truly require. Businesses can lend a helping hand in such matters thereby winning the customer’s loyalty. Clearly, such outcomes benefit both the customer and the business; the latter can also gain insights into the mind of the customer as a part of the positive outcome.

 

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Creating Customer-Centric Product Message


May 15, 2017 0 comments Customer Service

“In the age of the customer, executives don’t decide how customer-centric their companies are — customers do,” – Kate Leggett Businesses can craft a customer-centric product message through myriad efforts designed to help the business identify with the customer, identify … Continued

“In the age of the customer, executives don’t decide how customer-centric their companies are — customers do,” – Kate Leggett

Businesses can craft a customer-centric product message through myriad efforts designed to help the business identify with the customer, identify and evaluate his or her requirements, and gaining thorough knowledge about the individual customer’s mindset. These are some of the relevant starting points for a business enterprise that seeks to create such product messages. Consider this: a software product company needs to offer a distinct value proposition to the customer in order to win and retain business. This can be achieved in the product planning stages when the company’s software architects place the customer in the centre of the said process. All the subsequent actions and thoughts are guided by the above philosophy. The outcome of such actions can be said to be customer-centric because inputs from customers and information from market research has been incorporated into the product design process. The software product has a higher chance of conforming to customer expectations and can carve its own niche in the market.

A customer-centric product message can be crafted by a corporate entity that seeks to genuinely upgrade its corporate culture in a firm-wide effort to serve the customer better. This is important because generic product messages may not work in a world populated by new product launches and tough commercial competition. A marketing organization is therefore, duty-bound to adapt to changes in business and society. Customers can be delineated based on their position or function in the corporate hierarchy; this affords the marketing department the ability to craft a unique communication that is designed to evoke a response from the said customer. The tone of the message, the imagery invoked, and the content should be pitch-perfect for the targeted customer. This kind of bespoke product message signals the marketer’s seriousness of intent and is more likely to elicit a considered response from the target.

We need to bear in mind that a customer-centric product message seeks to accomplish a lot more than merely selling a product or a service. The message needs to convey the seller’s intent to help the customer to approach and solve a problem. This kind of a product message immediately generates a significant amount of rapport with the customer, which can be priceless for a business enterprise. A tailored marketing message should appeal to the customer’s sense of self and should not overwhelm the customer with crass marketing techniques. Consider this: A manufacturer of athletic footwear may choose to create a new marketing campaign that is firmly centred on the customers. The firm and its marketing department can focus on making a clear break with past efforts in selling products. To that end, the marketing organization within the firm can create a layered selling campaign that targets different user segments of the firm’s products. We must note that the product branding should remain immaculate, because such branding helps the firm’s products to achieve and sustain a market reputation. In terms of the product message, the manufacturer can craft an educational marketing spiel for the first time buyer of athletic footwear. This aspect of the product message can guide the customer into the different types of athletic footwear products and the attributes and features of the same. Customer education is the prime intent in this message. The product message can be diversified for teenaged users in the form of product recommendations. This message may be a separate communication intended for seasoned customers that know their athletic footwear. New products, the use of technical specifications, and product popularity can be the centre pieces of this marketing message. In the final phase, the product message may choose to include endorsements from track and field stars and professional runners to impress the high-end customer. The above text illustrates the many uses of customised product messages.

Customer-centric product messages must be delivered through every channel available to the marketing organization. Product promotions, marketing messages, newsletters, and advertisements should ideally be delivered through online platforms, social media handles, through emails, traditional media, and through mobile services. This approach guarantees a wide exposure to the product or services being sold by a firm. Care should be taken to ensure that the marketing message being transmitted across the said channels should be highly integrated and must signal unified intent. The messages should be designed to inaugurate a long-term customer relationship that hinges on matter-of-fact communication. One of the pivots of such messages should be the transformation of a customer into a brand advocate. The said conversions should help to create a chain of business benefits and therein can be found the true worth of the marketing message.

Modern marketing departments should acknowledge that they need to invest substantial resources and efforts into creating customer-centric product messages. This acknowledgement is essential because it can help to build effective product messages from the ground up. Studying the different aspects of customer behaviour and customer mindsets can help to derive interesting customer insights. This information can then be utilised to create the perfect customer-centric marketing messages. No two messages can be the same because every customer may be different. Hence, personalised offers should be a significant component of the said efforts. In addition, the corporate enterprise has to make sure that technologies and processes sufficiently to drive customer engagement consistently. We should note that customer feedback has a significant and ongoing role to play in the crafting of customer-centric product messages. This information can be used in conjunction with in-house metrics to refine the creation and delivery mechanisms of the said messages.

A customer-centric product message also implies that the customer is never taken for granted. Businesses must be responsible enough to acknowledge that the modern customer is an informed entity that is plugged into various streams of information. This realization can help the business enterprise to connect to the hearts and minds of the customers. The multiplicity of products and services that characterise the modern market leaves very little space for ambiguity in customer-centric product messages. Almost every product has attained the point where it has become a mass produced commodity and this fact exerts pressure on businesses to match their commercial message flawlessly with the product that is being offered to paying customers. For instance, a cosmetics manufacturer is only as good as the product(s) that are advertised in their marketing communications. The mass availability of high quality products from the competition should help the manufacturer to target ever higher product and quality standards. These efforts can be complemented by flawless product messages. Only then can said manufacturer carve a special place in the hearts and minds of their customers.

In the above paragraphs, we have outlined the importance of and the techniques related to the creation of customer-centric product messages. Winning and retaining the mass of average customers remains the central plank of every such message. Every business has a central interest in acquiring and retaining customers, but a great business is one that can court every individual customer and grant this individual the best products and services it has to offer. Both commercial and business success hinges on such actions; therefore, customer-centricity should be the watchword among the rank and file of the business.

 

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Ways to Improve Customer Traffic to your Business


May 14, 2017 0 comments Customer Service

“Good conversation will drive traffic,” – Kat Chow A real world business can improve customer traffic by making efforts to boost footfalls to its brick-and-mortar showrooms. This can be achieved by opening business premises in a mall, wherein people from … Continued

“Good conversation will drive traffic,” – Kat Chow

A real world business can improve customer traffic by making efforts to boost footfalls to its brick-and-mortar showrooms. This can be achieved by opening business premises in a mall, wherein people from all lifestyles can visit and shop around the year. Such a business strategy calls for considerable investments but this can yield decent results when sales climb in the said shopping destinations. A brick-and-mortar showroom can also feature merchandise that has been arranged attractively to catch the customers’ eyes. Showroom design and location are also critical to woo customers. An attractive showroom or business premise is the best bet for a brick-and-mortar business to boost its commercial fortunes. Festival offers and special discounts are stock in trade for every such showroom; these are crafted to boost footfalls and sales in said showrooms. Simply put, retail businesses can harvest significant business opportunities by opting for such selling strategies.

The modern online business enterprise can use similar techniques and adjust these according to the rules of operating a commercial presence in cyber space. The act of boosting offline traffic to websites and social media handles is the electronic equivalent of boosting footfalls in the real world. An interesting website and a sparkling presence on social media can make a lot of difference to the bottom line of a business. Content – good, thoughtful, interesting, and provocative –can make a website stand out from its peers. Visual design and outstanding website mechanics can also attract online traffic, new customers, and the plain curious. A full-time website design, content, and engineering team can help to make the website a serious stakeholder in the overall business. These are the imperatives of establishing and sustaining an online business model. An enterprise should do everything in its power to make sure that its business offers an emphatic value proposition to its customers.

Contests and short knowledge games – such as a quiz – can also help to boost customer traffic to online businesses. These events can keep customer interest alive and may sustain curiosity long enough to boost online traffic scores. The contest or the quiz can be given due publicity before the actual event commences. The buzz generated by such actions should drive significant traffic and interest among online audiences. These tactics should be used judiciously to achieve the maximum effect. The IT infrastructure at the back-end of the website can capture the numbers and archive these scores for future reference.

Email newsletters represent a different approach to the objective of driving traffic to a website or social media handle. The newsletter can outline recent happenings at the online address, can list planned future events, and can reflect significant voices of customers, among other things. The newsletter can emerge as the preferred vehicle of communication, designed to retain a mindshare of the global online audience. This document can be mailed to every customer that chooses to stay up to date with the business activities. Email newsletters also allow the business owners to reach out to every member of the audience and share their thoughts for the future of the business. Comments and suggestions can be invited in a bid to improve the community outreach effort, as also to boost the commercial standing of the online business enterprise.

Search engine rankings remain a significant means to boost traffic in the online world. To that end, a business can choose to deploy search engine optimisation techniques to improve its standing among peer websites and social media handles. Analytics and dashboards (among other modern Internet technologies) can be used to gauge the real time performance of a website. The use of such technologies can paint a clear picture of website performance and areas of improvement. The same applies to social media handles.

Improving customer traffic also means that the business should work to highlight its Internet presence through sponsorships. This can mean that the business website (and social media presence) should host the logos of related business entities in a co-ordinated co-branding effort. The business logic and rationale behind such actions should be clear to all concerned entities because such decisions demand an active buy-in from all stakeholders. The outcomes of these efforts may boost the commercial fortunes of the business enterprise, while attracting fresh online traffic to the website and the social media presence. Further, one could consider adding video content because it makes the content attractive. Text-based content remains the primary form of content but video ensures longer attention spans from online audiences.

Conversations with customers and fast dispute resolution should be the hallmarks of an Internet address. The former is important in brand building efforts, as also in establishing a credible customer-centred business identity. Once the customer is convinced the business identifies itself with the customer’s interests, a cycle of positive outcomes is set in motion. The customer can become a self-appointed brand ambassador of the business and could make the effort to pen a glowing testimonial to the business – such acts of trust can be prominently cited in the Internet presence and may well attract new customers, while helping to re-affirm the faith of early ‘converts’. Rapid dispute resolution can help to signal a nimble business enterprise that listens seriously to the customer’s voice. Such resolution may not proceed in public because both the business and its customers have alternative channels to sort out any disputes or complaints. The fact remains, however, that an online business that considers speedy resolution a top business priority can set the bar higher for similar enterprises.

An online business enterprise should work to update all the technologies that go into building the public face of the business. The latest Internet and design technologies should be employed to present a forward face of the business. This signals corporate intent to stay on top of the competition; it also indicates that the corporate entity takes its online shop fronts seriously and holds them to the same high standards as the traditional business arm. The social media presence, in particular, should be actively stewarded because online audiences check their social media feeds multiple times on each day. This imparts a lot of immediacy to the social media handle of the corporate enterprise. Social media operates via multiple platforms and therefore the organization should make sure all versions remain synchronised at all times.

In the preceding paragraphs, we have surveyed the means to improve customer traffic to online businesses. These actions are critical because businesses – both online and offline – thrive on traffic. The Internet is a pervasive phenomenon in the modern world and many customers operate online. A commercial organization can grow by harnessing the business these customers have to offer; in return, the organization should make every effort to maintain an outstanding online presence. Online visitors and customers should be impressed by their visit to the website or the social media handle. Their overall experience has the potential to spark multiple levels of online conversations, which translates into free publicity for the enterprise in question. We have to bear in mind that delighting the online customer has to be an on-going process that should be constantly refined; only then can the customer avail a consistent brand experience.

 

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Building a Social Media Image with Customers


May 13, 2017 0 comments Customer Service

“We don’t have a choice on whether we do social media, the question is how well we do it,” – Erik Qualman A modern public image, powered by social media technologies, is important for contemporary businesses, and hence this image … Continued

“We don’t have a choice on whether we do social media, the question is how well we do it,” – Erik Qualman

A modern public image, powered by social media technologies, is important for contemporary businesses, and hence this image should be carefully planned, created, and nurtured because it can help the business to stand out in a competitive market. Social media represents an important aspect of the modern Internet and can therefore, must be harnessed in the service of commerce. Every business that has ambitions to become a global brand should acknowledge that social media has permanently transformed the means through which people interact. This makes it incumbent upon the modern business enterprise to cultivate a distinct corporate presence in social media platforms. The senior management of the business should provide inputs on the tone and the essence of the message to be conveyed. In addition, professional media consultants and social media specialists should be consulted for their expertise. The inputs from these sources can be melded to achieve the best possible social media image. We have to bear in mind that the journey of building and consolidating a corporate image on social media may be slow, but it should be incremental. These efforts can create multiple benefits because the product can be said to represent a considered outcome of calibrated corporate efforts.

A social media image can be used to further marketing efforts. The very fluid nature of cyber space and the immediacy inherent in social media platforms lend themselves very well to the art and science of marketing. We have to bear in mind that social media has a wide following in the modern world; membership in social media is expanding each day and therefore, social media platforms represent a gateway to a significant market populated growing numbers of online citizens. Interactions with customers on social media can have the effect of transmitting feedback to the top echelons of the corporate organization. The nimble organization can actually use this feedback to correct course or to enhance its product and service offerings. In light of the above, we must note that a business needs to carefully consider the impact of its social media image before it sets about constructing the said image.

Consider this: a cosmetics manufacturer should first consider and develop the rationale for building a social media image. This effort can lead to the realization that a number of young women are active on social media platforms and therefore, the online world of social media represents a sizeable business opportunity. This cosmetics manufacturer can then strategize on the various aspects of the image, and assess whether the outcome of such efforts would help the company to stand apart from its competition.  A glitzy, visually attractive, often-updated social media presence can help the company to achieve its stated objectives. This presence serves to tell its customers on social media that the company is a modern organization that values its customers and is open to the idea of meeting its customers in cyber space. The ability to highlight its latest creations in social media may become its chief selling point, thereby boosting the company’s sales and revenue.

A commercial organization active in social media platforms should create and transmit consistent messages crafted to promote the business. Consistency is important because it reflects the corporate ethos as also the distinct identity of the organization. In terms of content to be hosted on its social media handle, the company can choose from a wide variety of its products and services. Time-sensitive offers can be promoted on social media to spur user engagement. Attractive imagery and colour schemes should be used to attract and retain users and new customers. Social media handles need consistent effort and therefore, the modern enterprise should hire a bench of worthy talent that has specific experience in managing commercial social media interactions. Queries from visitors should be addressed as soon as possible because the responsiveness of social media handles plays a significant role in creating the final impression. These efforts can pay sizeable dividends in the long term and therefore the commercial organization should stay invested in its efforts to create a worthy image on social media.

The online presence of a commercial organization should be embellished with first class content in social media platforms. The modern corporate enterprise should consider starting a blog on its website or social media handle. Such actions are akin to inaugurating a bulletin board in cyber space, thereby guaranteeing a certain degree of interaction with customers, visitors, and other online traffic. Top grade content can work wonders for the commercial organization that wishes to thrive in cyber space. Content for social media platforms can also be sourced from content specialists that understand the tone and timbre of the content to be delivered. Further, the commercial enterprise can create content based on its own products; case studies can be used to illustrate the benefits that accrue from the use of said products. We must bear in mind that these initiatives should ideally be an on-going partnership between top management, product managers, and the social media bench – because all of these operate under the umbrella of the corporate logo. Acting in unison, these different aspects of the corporate enterprise can present a unified face for social media consumers.

Modern corporations should leverage the full power of social media to their advantage. Social media has phenomenal reach in the present day, and this reach is unrivalled. The Internet affords corporate enterprises a fantastic opportunity to mould and shape public opinion from the ground up; therefore, building a stellar social media image should be a top priority for corporate enterprises. This image can help to burnish and complement the real world public image of the company. Further, social media can be used as a tool to enhance business. Electronic coupons and social media-only discounts can be used to spur sales among online visitors. Such actions can be ‘shared’ by social media users and this has the potential to multiply sales for the brand or the company. We may say that a company that offers such sales can carve a niche reputation for itself and this is itself represents a worthy validation of the company’s efforts in social media. In addition, we should note that a business that takes its social media image seriously can also use social media to monitor the competition. This kind of action can help to build market intelligence and therefore create strategies to help the brand perform better.

In the preceding paragraphs, we have extensively analysed the benefits that accrue to a business that chooses to build and sustain a competent social media image. Interesting information and new ways of conducting commerce can emerge from a vigorous practice of such actions. A fine social media presence can also serve to win the confidence of new customers and other stakeholders – such as new investors. This can be especially critical when a business is actively considering a listing on the stock market. An active social media presence can signal potential investors that the said business is friendly to every customer demographic and that it has set its sights on the long term. These signals can help to shape favourable investor perception while boosting the business to new heights.

 

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Dealing with the Empowered Customers of Today


May 12, 2017 0 comments Customer Service

“For us, our most important stakeholder is not our stockholders, it is our customers. We’re in business to serve the needs and desires of our core customer base,” – John Mackey A business enterprise can face multiple challenges in the … Continued

“For us, our most important stakeholder is not our stockholders, it is our customers. We’re in business to serve the needs and desires of our core customer base,” – John Mackey

A business enterprise can face multiple challenges in the course of doing business. These challenges include dealing with customers, consolidating and preserving business confidence, dealing with the vicissitudes of fluid market situations, geo-political risks attendant on doing business, conversing with market regulators, government policies prone to changes, working with suppliers, foreign exchange fluctuations, among many others. The many moving parts inherent in conducting a modern business have to be balanced finely to keep the business moving in unison with corporate imperatives. In this article, we intend to delineate the various options available to a business in terms of working with empowered customers.

We must bear in mind that an empowered customer can be a difficult individual. The business and its customer service representatives must do everything in their power to deal fairly with such customers. A demanding customer can pose a challenge to the modern business enterprise because such customers have high levels of expectation and may want the very best in terms of products and services. One strategy to deal with such a customer is to assign specific customer service personnel to deal with said customer – doing this can result in a payoff because the dedicated customer service representative can map the demands and study the mind-set of the said customer in the course of multiple interactions. The business benefit of such a strategy may lie in the creation of a body of knowledge that – over time – outlines proven methods of dealing with difficult customers. This knowledge can be leveraged in future customer interactions and may help to widen the customer base. Interactions with difficult customers can also help staff members in terms of gaining experience in dealing with tough business situations. Therefore, an enterprise should encourage the learning process because such learning can bring out the best in customer service executives.

The empowered customer also presents an opportunity for a business to introspect and re-examine the validity of business processes in changing times. The empowered customer is aware of his rights, stays firm on expectations, knows exactly what he / she wants, and is well aware of the many offerings in the market. The business enterprise should acknowledge these realities and present a professional face to the empowered customer. Establishing a rapport with the customer can be a starting point in dealing with such customers. The customer must be convinced that the business is offering him / her best possible solutions. This approach may enable the empowered customer to gain trust in the business; an extended impact of such an approach may win new customers when the said customer transmits his / her confidence in the ability of the business to deliver on its promises. The bottom line here lies in the fact that the customer should never be taken for granted. Each customer is a unique individual and should be treated as such: this can be a motto for the modern business enterprise.

The management cadre of a business enterprise should take the initiative to create its public face and its corporate image with care. This is important because every business attempts to stand out in an increasingly connected world wherein, multiple enterprises are offering similar products and services. Creating rock-solid customer service protocols may represent one approach to the said task. Further, transmitting a unified vision of excellent customer service down the lowest rungs of the enterprise may help to create a unique corporate culture centred round service to the customer. However, business outcomes need to be borne in mind at all times – a refined customer service experience can be a stepping-stone in that direction. These methods can be further refined to equip the enterprise to deal with empowered customers. These individuals should be dealt with carefully because the emphatic voice of these customers can validate the cherished corporate image of the said enterprise.

A commercial organization can choose to leverage its heritage and its business traditions in an attempt to deal with empowered customers. A spotless corporate reputation can help to assure customers that their money is well spent and that the enterprise they are dealing with is a custodian of impeccable business values. Such an impression cannot be created in a few short weeks; it has to be cultivated over time in every sphere of business activity. This impression can also be used to convince the empowered customer that the business intends to remain operational for a very long time and is not prone to make quick gains to bolster its short-term business performance. Corporate managers and business heads can make it a point to send such messages during interactions with empowered customers. Customer testimonials from past interactions can be used as a tool to impress the empowered customer. These methods are sure to send out a business-friendly message to empowered customers.

Modern corporate thinking indicates that one of the best options of getting the empowered customer on board is to make him a virtual partner in the enterprise. This means that the customer becomes a significant stakeholder and deserves to be treated as such. It also means that business leaders have to pay close attention to the points of view offered by a customer and seriously assess the efficacy of such thoughts. Business operations and processes may need to be re-examined and modified to accommodate relevant customer inputs. The real world impact of such changes may have to be anticipated so to arrest any chances of adverse outcomes. Moreover, with the customer as a stakeholder, the enterprise can count on the empowered customer to bring more business to the enterprise. The customer can also be relied upon to provide honest feedback to the business; this information can be used to refine products and services, and thereby boost business outcomes. The experience and tact of top management personnel can be harnessed in the service of achieving such outcomes. Clearly, such an approach can work wonders for the commercial fortunes of a business enterprise.

A business must also device appropriate follow-up procedures to track interactions with empowered customers. Internal processes can be put in place to track interactions and their outcomes. The customer may be kept in the loop and significant aspects of such interactions can be shared through electronic communications. These actions will convince the empowered customer that the commercial organization values their business; the ensuing customer goodwill can enhance business outcomes. Steady momentum should be built into such business processes and these may be periodically reviewed by corporate management. These practices can serve to enhance corporate reputations, while boosting intangibles such as customer loyalty and its many beneficial after-effects.

In the preceding paragraphs, we have sought to create a picture of some of the techniques that can be used to deal with empowered customers. We have to bear in mind that these entities are critical to business success, because successful interactions can enable the business to achieve higher performance levels. The empowered customers represent a prime challenge to modern business acumen and therefore, should be handled with care.

 

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Unwritten Rules in Customer Service


May 11, 2017 0 comments Customer Service

“Customer service is just a day in, day out ongoing, never ending, unremitting, persevering, compassionate, type of activity,” – Leon Gorman Customer service is serious business and represents one of the pillars of modern commerce. A business that caters to … Continued

“Customer service is just a day in, day out ongoing, never ending, unremitting, persevering, compassionate, type of activity,” – Leon Gorman

Customer service is serious business and represents one of the pillars of modern commerce. A business that caters to its customers in every sense of the term can be called a well-oiled enterprise that will never run out of steam. Serving customers to the best of one’s professional ability should become second nature for every interested employee of the modern corporate enterprise. To that end, we have to bear in mind that the business (and the people that operate the business) should have a sound understanding of the unwritten, and often, unstated rules that drive customer service.

A customer service representative must have deep knowledge of a product or service. This would afford him / her ability to answer customers’ queries and questions. Fluent customer service personnel represent a business mascot; such entities are always in a better position to cast a positive impression about the organization. This individual is also ideally suited to operate beyond the ambit of his / her duty and make a sale to prospective customers. The corporate organization should also ensure that all of its employees are familiar with the company’s latest products, services, and protocols. This is test of discipline across the corporate enterprise; such discipline enables the different faces of the organization to speak in one voice, thereby transmitting a consistent corporate message at all times.

Customer service hinges on human behaviour. Every business has its customers and every customer should be welcomed with a smile. This kind of an approach to business conveys the impression that the customer is welcome and that the business is eager to serve the customer’s requirements. The human ego should ideally be left out of every business transaction; this implies that a business extends professional courtesy to every customer, irrespective of creed, colour, gender, and nationality. This attitude can help a business enterprise to scale the heights of greatness. Every customer represents a valuable business opportunity; impressive customer service can win repeat business, foster public confidence in the ability of an enterprise to deliver, and burnish the public image of the said enterprise. These attributes represent business intangibles of immeasurable value. We could say that great customer service can deliver a multitude of benefits to businesses.

The top management of an enterprise should inculcate a sense of urgency in the rank and file of the business in an attempt to set the ground rules of customer service. Customers are human beings and every customer deserves special treatment. A systematic approach to customer service is the first step in achieving a matchless corporate reputation. Managing customer expectations and listening to the customer represent critical parts of this systematic approach. This needs to be drilled into the everyday activities of a business enterprise. Creating and nurturing new customers is an extension of this argument. This means that widening the pool of customers should be a top business priority. The efforts of the business notwithstanding, every customer should be moulded into an outspoken advocate of the enterprise. Customers tend to trust other customers and therefore, glowing testimonials from one customer can attract legions of new custom to said business.

A corporate enterprise should also cultivate the ability to build a rapport with all stakeholders, primarily, with its customers. This should become a corporate watchword because such actions can engender trust and build business confidence in the long term. Both of these attributes are critical for a business to survive and flourish in a competitive market. Building rapport with customers can proceed on multiple lines – ranging from customer points of contact to the office of the chief executive officer. The customer may be an external entity but the rapport with the customer is central to good business practices. Once trust is established, the customer is less likely to switch to a different business enterprise. Trust can also bring in larger volumes of business (which directly impacts the bottom line) and has an active role in generating goodwill for the enterprise. A business that wins the customer’s trust can grow and nurture generations of loyal customers; this is an important achievement for any business worth the name.

Understanding the customer’s point of view is essential for a company that chooses to offer excellent customer service. This implies listening to the customer’s voice and crafting an appropriate solution. Every business must seek to enter the customer’s mind because such an understanding can help the business gain an edge over the competition – these efforts, starting at the level of customer service representatives, should be sustained at the higher levels of the company’s management echelons. The many customers of a business enterprise can choose to speak in different voices and may offer different inputs; this information, in its totality, should be collected and processed to glean business insights. These efforts can also help the business enterprise to foresee future customer requirements and create product and service development plans accordingly.

Handling customer complaints can be a daunting and delicate task. Nonetheless, an enterprise should train itself to hear adverse feedback from its customers. Business leaders should recognize such feedback as opportunities to improve business operations and should invite customers to speak their minds. The information that issues from such exercises should be captured and analysed across the firm in an effort to improve the ways of doing business, including customer service. Taking accountability for the customer’s problems can lead to enlightened business practices. We need to appreciate the fact that a critical appraisal from the customers’ mind has the power to uplift an enterprise. Such feedback is far more valuable than an external consultant’s recommendations. This kind of information can also help a business to examine its own image and its internal processes; these exertions can lead the way to a re-discovery of the corporate self and may ignite fresh energy to tackle the business issues of the day.

Every business should make an effort to be accessible to the customer. This edict should be etched in every department of the business enterprise. Every member of the corporate organization should make it a priority to be available to customers of every hue. An engaging customer service representative can hold a customer’s attention keeping in mind the fact that conversations with customers are good for business. These interactions can open new possibilities of doing business. Customers can have fantastic suggestions to offer to a business enterprise and these must be captured at the earliest. Should these ideas be actionable, the business can easily steal a march over its competitors and may even succeed in creating new markets. Therefore, a business must cultivate a customer-friendly attitude that must underlie its corporate image.

In the preceding paragraphs, we have examined some of the attitudes and techniques that underpin effective customer service. Every business leader and business owner should appreciate the importance of the mechanics that drive fine customer service. These principles apply to business enterprises of every hue in every industry. A happy customer is essentially a business asset that has the potential to enhance business profits. This must be acknowledged and actively pursued in the interests of elevating a good business into a great enterprise.

 

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Benefits of Self-Service for Customers


May 10, 2017 0 comments Customer Service

“A self-service solution doesn’t mean you don’t offer customer service. On the contrary, self-service is a way to enhance,” – Shep Hyken Customer service is necessary to sustain and grow a business in an increasingly competitive world. A business can … Continued

“A self-service solution doesn’t mean you don’t offer customer service. On the contrary, self-service is a way to enhance,” – Shep Hyken

Customer service is necessary to sustain and grow a business in an increasingly competitive world. A business can be a small or medium-sized enterprise or a sprawling transnational corporation; but both the entities need to serve customers in their best possible capacities. Interactions with customers can be called the lifeblood of commerce, because such interaction helps businesses to be heard and to stand out in a crowded marketplace. Self-service for customers is one of the options available to the modern business to connect with customers and create a competent end-user experience.

Self-service for customers can help the business to save money in key customer support functions. This type of customer service is predicated on online technologies and the various uses of such technologies in customer service and customer engagement. In its basic form, self-service for customers excises the human element and automates the customer’s interaction with the company. This is accomplished by offering customers a detailed ‘frequently-asked-questions’ section on a corporate website. This repository of information is designed to enlighten customers and answer their queries regarding a company’s products and services. In addition, a company or a corporate house can offer an online discussion forum that can act as a source of information. Modern technologies have also helped to invent the chat robot (also known as “chat bots”) that answers a customer’s questions in cyberspace.

The overarching benefit of self-service for customers lies in the fast response times that an enterprise can bring to bear in its conversations with customers and other interested parties. A company that responds fast to customer wants, queries, and requirements gains an edge over the competition. This has been widely acknowledged to be true and this effect can be achieved through self-service for customers. We have to acknowledge the fact that customer mind-sets have evolved with time and in a busy world, the customer may not have the luxury of time or the inclination to dial a corporate call centre and speak to customer service executives. The chat bots and self-service sections of a website may offer faster connections to the information being sought by customers.

Self-service for customers can be designed into a company’s website. These service tools can be structured intelligently to enhance a customer’s knowledge and boost his familiarity with a product or service. This is in keeping with the online search literacy levels of the average Internet-savvy customer. For instance, a lot of people are familiar with online search engines and the techniques to arrive at the information they seek. Such skills can be used to interrogate the FAQs sections of a company’s website. The information derived from such searches can be used by the customer, while the company’s information technology infrastructure can collect data and compile statistics on the customer’s behaviour in the online self-service space.

An enterprise can work to deepen the benefits of self-service for its customers. The FAQ section of a website can include a variety of information in different forms. Screenshots of the potential problems a customer can face should be added to the section. Certain video and audio files can be added to offer the customer a holistic customer service experience. These inputs can be helpful because they can help the reader to trouble-shoot. The screenshots, animation, audio, and video can guide the customer to a suitable solution. How-to videos and recording of tutorials can also be considered for inclusion in the FAQs section of the website. A happy customer can therefore be suitably impressed at his / her achievements. Self-service for customers also means that the content in the website repository or FAQ section should be kept updated at all times. This can cast a positive impression on the customer and can save time and money for the company.

Web-based customer service technologies help a business to economise its operations when compared to other customer service modes. The latter include call centre technical support personnel, customer service representatives, Internet-based chat, and email response. Each of these vehicles of customer service is powered by human interaction and therefore adds to business expenses. The costs pertaining to hiring, on-boarding, and training human resources can be recurring and therefore prohibitive for an enterprise. The returns on investment may not justify the business expense involved in the said activities. Therefore, automation in terms of self-service for customers presents itself as a viable option to cut overheads and increase revenues for the modern corporate enterprise.

Self-service for customers has gained traction in a variety of industries. Consider this: many restaurants in the western hemisphere offer customers the choice to order their food and drink through the use of self-service ordering technologies. The customers are at liberty to choose their meals from the menu and use the said technologies to place the order. The convenience of self-service technologies offers the customers the time to consider their order, and once the order is placed the information is quickly transmitted to the kitchen for processing. The human element in this scenario is limited to the wait staff bringing the food to the customer’s tables. A similar example of self-service for customers is centred in online ordering systems for restaurants. This scenario offers customers the time and convenience to order food at their own pace, without the pressure attendant in situations where the customer sits at a restaurant and interacts with a human waiter. The outcome of such technologies manifests itself in repeat customer visits and a happy end-user experience. We could say that the use of information technologies to power such interactions with the customer is opening a new chapter in the history of the food and hospitality industries.

Self-service for customers has also been harnessed at certain grocery stores wherein, customers are offered the option of self-service checkout areas. The wide range of products available at a grocery store can burden most customer checkout queues; this is a global phenomenon. However, automation technologies have managed to offer an option, wherein the business interaction with the customers is automated. The customer brings in his trolley of articles which are sorted and packed in front of the customer. Payment is executed through credit cards, debit cards, or electronic wallets. The use of such self-service technology offers the customer an option to the regular check-out process which is manned by store personnel.

In the preceding paragraphs, we have spelt out the importance and significance of using self-service technologies to serve the customer. We have also delineated some of the techniques that power self-service for customers. We may say that web-based self-service represents the cutting edge of customer service in modern times. The use of self-service technologies allows most consumers direct access to the answers they seek. For its part, the business enterprise is able to meet customer expectations and gauge consumer preferences, in addition to gaining a competitive advantage and lowering the costs of providing customer support. The process of serving the customer in a time-constrained world must be continuously refined and re-evaluated. While business considerations and imperatives must be borne in mind at all times, we have to acknowledge that only by serving the customer can a business truly achieve greatness.

 

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Meaning of Really Listening to Customers


May 9, 2017 0 comments Customer Service

“Truly listening is hearing the needs of the customer, understanding those needs, and making sure the company recognizes the opportunities they present,” – Frank Eliason Conversations are an important part of human society; the exchange of ideas and points of … Continued

“Truly listening is hearing the needs of the customer, understanding those needs, and making sure the company recognizes the opportunities they present,” – Frank Eliason

Conversations are an important part of human society; the exchange of ideas and points of view acts as a lubricant that drives civilization forward. Similarly, the world of commerce can benefit by interacting and listening to its customers. An enterprise or a business has a duty to speak to customers and listen to what customers have to say. Really listening to customers is a business imperative in the modern world; we could say that a business must pay attention to the points of view put across by customers. Not every individual customer may have the ability to contribute pearls of wisdom to the business or service provider. Nonetheless, good listening skills are important for a business enterprise because the insights and information that can be gleaned from such interactions can help the business to design better customer service experiences and align itself with the customer’s point of view.

In the modern world, a business can listen to its customers through a variety of devices and channels. Face-to-face interactions at the various points of customer contact represent the primary interaction between a business and a customer. Similar sites of interaction include formal meetings with customers, annual general meetings, trade meetings, and customer interactions at points of sale. Alternative sources of interactions with customers can stem from social media, blogs, online forums, product review sites, podcasts, press articles, and customer reviews from e-commerce websites. The information culled from all these sources can be collected, processed, and analysed by business enterprises. The information can be used to improve business operations, consolidate the trust of the customer, identify and leverage new business opportunities, and achieve higher business performance.

We have to bear in mind that really listening to customer feedback creates the potential to earn much goodwill for the business enterprise. The average customer feels appreciated when his / her feedback is valued by the company. We may say that this kind of an inclusive attitude makes the customer a part of the value creation process inherent in every business enterprise. Consider this: a product designer for a vacuum cleaning device has a wealth of information to guide the conceptualisation and creation of his next gadget. The designer has access to scientific knowledge and his own instincts to craft a better product. However, inputs from long time users of vacuum cleaners can prove priceless in the designing process. The designer may choose to poll a select group of customers about their requirements and the changes they wish to see in the next vacuum cleaner. Such inputs may boost the aesthetics of the new product, or may inspire the product designer to create a new cleaner from the ground up. We have to bear in mind that the customers’ inputs are not available off the shelf; the product designer or the business needs to go out of its way to solicit inputs from users and customers. The outcome of such efforts may help the enterprise to craft a superbly profitable product that meets and exceeds customer expectations. This instance is an illustration of the benefits of really listening to customers.

Feedback from consumers and customers can be viewed as an important driver of doing business in the modern world. The thoughts, actions, and principles of corporate management teams and their staff members can be, in part, guided by such feedback. The importance of feedback can never be underestimated or quantified, because it adds value to business processes. Consider this: a telecommunications company that has launched new service products may choose to invite customer feedback on said products. Cellular services are widely used in most countries and therefore many customers may choose to voice an opinion. The ensuing flood of feedback can be evaluated at company headquarters and the key learning can be disseminated throughout the organization. This is an instance of a corporate citizen valuing its customers and their feedback. We could say that a business that values feedback is also transmitting the message that it respects the customer. A possible outcome of such practices is earning customer goodwill; such actions can build a corporate reputation and help the business to carve an outstanding presence in a competitive market.

A pro-active stance on really listening to customers can find expression in many ways. The modern business enterprise can choose to leverage Internet technologies to establish dedicated electronic mailboxes, wherein the customer can send his / her unvarnished view of the business. The raw feedback from customers should help the business to gain a greater understanding of the customers’ mindset. This information can also guide the business to exert itself to match business priorities with customer expectations. This middle ground can be fertile landscape to create new ways of thinking and device better means to serve the paying customer. Similarly, dedicated kiosks can be set up within business premises to solicit customer feedback and opinions. This is especially relevant to gauge the public reaction and the customers’ opinion at critical business junctures, such as the launch of a new product or service. The business can use such inputs to refine future versions of the product or service, while fulfilling its duties as a responsible corporate citizen.

The modern business can treat customer feedback in many ways. The customer’s voice can be heard in the highest echelons of the management hierarchy or may be restricted to operational heads of business. However, the benefits of transmitting customer feedback throughout the enterprise can have a fundamental impact on the business in the broadest possible sense of the term. We have to bear in mind that customers represent an important aspect of all business stakeholders. Other stakeholders include investors, regulators, staff & employees, business promoters, and the financial markets. When customer feedback is good, the stakeholders respond positively to the said business. However, negative feedback (or a strained customer voice) indicates danger signals that have to be managed astutely. A business has to be mindful of its reputation at all times; therefore handling adverse feedback has to be a part of doing business. This type of feedback can be used as a learning experience for the entire organization. We may aver that a business should not allow negative feedback to make a mark in the public space, but that is an idealistic point of view. In the real world, enterprises have to actively manage their corporate reputations because the fruit of such efforts can cast long term effects on the business. We must note that a lack of momentum in such matters may affect the bottom line, while boosting the commercial fortunes of competitors.

In the preceding paragraphs, we have outlined the importance of really listening to customers. A business needs to cultivate these skills and refine its collective attitude towards the average customer. Business gurus concede the fact that the paying customer has a right to be heard, but they emphasize the fact that how a business treats customer feedback can determine the fortunes of the corporate organization. Business organizations need to act on customer complaints and minutely examine customer suggestions before they attain the stature of responsible corporate citizens.

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Building Customer Communication Solutions that Work


May 8, 2017 0 comments Customer Service

“Communication – the human connection – is the key to personal and career success,” – Paul J. Meyer Effective customer communication solutions represent an important aspect of conducting modern business. An enterprise needs to communicate with its customers regularly in … Continued

“Communication – the human connection – is the key to personal and career success,” – Paul J. Meyer

Effective customer communication solutions represent an important aspect of conducting modern business. An enterprise needs to communicate with its customers regularly in order to do business. Modern commerce can use a wide range of technologies to communicate with customers and other stakeholders. Communications, both internal and external, are vital to modern commerce because they reduce the chances of damage that can be wrought by miscommunication. We have to bear in mind that the modern customer is an informed animal that is being flooded with both physical and digital messages all the time. This alone makes communication a critical venture for the modern enterprise.

When we consider public spaces, customer communication solutions start with the basic building blocks of advertising and marketing. For instance, a company can use advertising billboards to communicate with its customers – this is a mode of high visibility communication wherein a company can send messages regarding its products and services to all customers. Billboards can be mounted in strategic locations in a predominantly urban landscape. These messages have to be succinct, clear, and brief in order to transmit their import. Similarly, marketing messages about new product launches can be communicated to consumers.

A company can commence a conversation with customers and prospective customers through a website. Among all the customer communication solutions, the use of an Internet address can be considered an electronic billboard that communicates the essence of what the company represents. This means of communications is important in an increasingly inter-connected world; an Internet address is also useful because it overcomes geography. A customer sitting in any point in the globe can visit the company’s website and seek the information he / she seeks. In addition, a website scores over a billboard because it can be updated easily at any time. Additional functionality can be built into the website so that the customer can get in touch with the company and its representatives. Virtual real estate is free and therefore, the website can be loaded with all manner of relevant information. Space is not a constraint in cyber space.

The age of electronic mobility technologies has opened up new customer communication solutions. The mobile Internet is now everywhere and we could say that it confers upon the business enterprise the power to reach every individual customer at his / her convenience. Websites tailored for mobile consumption and mobile apps are the current flavour, wherein the customer can use his connected mobile device to communicate with business enterprises. The sheer convenience of such communications has endowed corporate enterprises with the ability to seek the consumer at any point in the globe.

Customer communication solutions can take the form of paper documents, such as a corporate prospectus, an annual letter from the chairman, a monthly newsletter, and other documents that can be sent to every customer’s home address or can be sent via email. The use of traditional paper-based communication can instil a sense of heritage in the operations of an otherwise modern corporate behemoth. The company can use such documents to convey its annual performance report, its shareholder payout (if any), its future plans of action and expansion, significant changes in corporate strategy, changes in leadership, etc. to all stakeholders. This type of communications carries the weight of tradition behind it and may be prized by old school stakeholders.

Email communications can be crafted to offer the customer a multi-media experience of corporate communications. In addition to the message and its gist, the email may contain an embedded video, a web-link, contact names, and telephone numbers. Almost every investor and customer has a personal email address in the present day and therefore the corporate world can send an email bearing the above information to each customer’s mailbox. We could say that email represents the most convenient form of customer communication solutions.

An annual shareholder meeting represents an opportunity for a company to face its customers and other stakeholders. The corporate chief and his various lieutenants, heads of departments, and other top office holders can leverage this platform to communicate with customers. This is essentially a two-way communication process wherein, the customers can ask questions, seek clarifications, and voice concerns directly to the top echelons of the organization. Amongst all customer communication solutions, the annual general meeting represents the most direct and immediate form of communication. The proceedings of such meetings can be reported in the press and new media, thereby conferring wide publicity to the corporate house.

Short text messages are a modern mode of personal communication. This technology can be used by corporate houses to briefly apprise customers on new developments. As an instance of customer communication solutions, the text message excels itself because most members of the civilized world carry a mobile device. The company that leverages the use of the brief text message can create a niche image (and a stellar reputation) as far as communicating with customers is concerned. The brief text message can also be used to broadcast the launch of new products and services at any time of the day. This breaks the conventional media cycle wherein, customers have to wait till morning to receive the daily newspaper. We could well say that compared to the text message, even television falls short in terms of immediacy and brevity of communication.

High quality customer communications can also be routed through call centres and company hotlines. This type of voice-powered communication is still predominant in many parts of the world wherein, customer service officers are placed to answer inquiries, book customer orders, handle complaints, and address customers’ needs. Toll free numbers provided in most corporate websites and print advertisements are the starting point of such communications; these remain a critical leg in the pursuit of perfect customer communications.

Customer communication solutions can be engineered into product packaging as well. This form of communications operates every time a customer buys a certain product at a showroom or a shop. The packaging can be made using industrial materials or attractive art paper and should be viewed as a product in itself. This conveys a positive message to the consumer because the visual of the product should be used to craft a positive image of the company. Any marketing communication that is imprinted on the product packaging is guaranteed to attract public attention, thereby fulfilling the role of communication. Further, the space on the showroom floor or the retail space in the shopping centre can be utilized to showcase marketing messages intended for the customer or consumer. We could note that such communication melds marketing and advertising into a single message, thereby enhancing corporate return on investment.

We have discussed the various means to deploy and leverage customer communication solutions in the preceding paragraphs. The modern corporate enterprise must be clear in its intent and purpose when it is fashioning communications for customers. A corporate regime of persistent, clear, and unambiguous messages should engage the customer at every level. Messages can be visual, thoughtful, or provocative, but the communication must be clear. High levels of engagement with the customer can help a business to rise above the competition, while achieving excellence in all areas of business activity.

 

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