Customer Service through Long Form Content

“Consumers will prefer to spend 15 minutes reading an excellent story that spending 15 seconds viewing an advertisement.” – EsmeeNetwork

Is it acceptable to begin with a cliché? “Content is king” – this phrase was first said by Sumner Redstone of Viacom and later used by Bill Gates. With the popularity of the internet and the loads of information that people continue to seek, content is taking on entirely new and bigger proportions. Companies now are becoming increasingly aware of this need of their customers and the fact that they can provide top class customer service through long form content.  Why long form content though? Why is it better than short snippets or ‘crisp’ pearls of wisdom? There are many reasons why long form content is fast gaining and moving up the ‘popularity charts’ in the world of marketing and customer service. When a company publishes content that customers can use and benefit from – it does become part of the customer service gamut and is a great way to show both existing and prospective customers that the company is interested in helping them.

For a company long form content brings more visibility in the ‘virtual’ world, provides proof of the expertise and authority of the company on a subject or a variety of subjects, allows the company to provide industry information to its customers and target audience, and overall provide customer service by building a community and enhancing engagement. Customers want to read long form content since there is a lot more ‘meat’, provides direction, and allows them to remain engaged. Customer service through long form content simply means that a company uses such messages to build an audience and create awareness of a brand / products that they may not know existed. Providing the customers with as much information as they would need and more, is a more powerful way of serving them rather than short, fudgy ‘notes’ that only seem to serve a purpose for the company. In the spirit of customer service through long form content, a company must remember that the information must be free and definitely not ‘gated’.

When a company has the intention of customer service through long form content, the information contained therein would be focused on ensuring that customers can use it and benefit from it. This in turn excites readers enough to share and propagate the content, making the information more potent and compelling than short and standard sized posts. A regular ‘stream’ of longer content keeps your company connected with its customers and readers, which in turn serves to keep the relationship current and fresh. People know that they can depend on your company to sift important information for them, and ‘serve it up’ in a form that they can readily use and share with whomever they wish. This creates a viral effect – your company ends up serving not just its own customers, but also a much wider audience when readers share the content.

Customer service through long form content means that a company uses this type of content to stay in touch with customers and keep a finger on the pulse of prospective ones. It provides readers and customers an opportunity to express themselves and provide feedback not just about the material published, but also about the company and its offerings. What customers are essentially saying when the ‘share’ the content or information from a company is that, they trust what the company says and that others too, can benefit from this trust. Hence, both directly and indirectly, a company serves its customers by providing longer and more detailed content. The more readers like the content, the more they share it, and this portrays your company in a great light and draws more people toward it.

Another reason why long form content is a means to great customer service is that when it is well written, articulate, and replete with value-added information, it becomes extremely interesting and helpful to the readers. For a company this means that readers and customers would spend more time on their website and social media sites. When content manages to arrest the attention of readers, they are more likely to ‘turn the pages’ of the website, which means more page views and footfall time for the company. As readership and time on the website increases, search engines are more likely to ‘pick up’ the website and place them high on SERPs, which increases visibility and popularity of the company. The higher the ranking, people tend to trust such companies more, making them more interested in associating with them.

With the growing number of communication channels, it has become imperative for a company to be able to serve its customers through any channel they deem appropriate. Long form content enables more back and inbound links, which allows readers to gain more information simply by going on to the content page of a company. Long form content therefore has more performance potential than shorter forms of providing information – serving the interests of both the company and its customers. To explain, customer service through long form content, better – when a company consistently gives its customers and readers, information they can use, the company becomes one that people trust. Customers tend to prefer and stay longer with companies they can depend on and know are honest.

For customers, stability and a strong association with a company is equally important as getting top quality service and products. Companies that can support this need would be the ones that customers prefer. By providing long form content, a company portrays itself as an authority, highly knowledgeable, a trustworthy source of ‘education’, and overall a consistent supporting pillar for its customers. This is exactly what customers seek from an association with a company and consider these traits as part of top class service. For a company this translates to more positive attention for its brand and products, more time and views on its website, more opportunities to remain in the forefront with its existing customers, and enhanced chances of grabbing eyeballs of untapped markets and customer bases. All these aspects together are worth more than any amount of promotional and marketing activities. Customers become brand ambassadors – willingly spreading the content and information about the company and its products. The more time and attention readers give to a company’s long form content, the better the chances of boosting conversions for the business. The ultimate aim of information and customer service is to gain more business for the company and long form content is one of the best methods to doing this.

What needs to be remembered though, is that writing long form content is not easy and gaining ‘views’ will not happen without it being top quality – from the view of customer service through long form content, this is an extremely critical point to focus on. A company must ensure that the topic / topics they choose to write on must be one of wide interest, offer something valuable, and make sense to a wide audience. Writing great content, especially long form, is a commitment that requires time and consistent effort. It cannot be a one-off thing and neither should publishing such content be erratic and dependent on the ‘whims’ of the company. The style and tone of the content must be engaging, conversational, and such that readers can identify with the ‘message’. With so much competition, any manner of providing top class service to customers – both existing and prospective, is an opportunity that a company must grab with ‘both hands’. Customer service through long form content, then, is about add value to the lives of customers and readers, by solving problems and serving a long term purpose.

Learn about a new approach to better customer service!

Interactive Guides for Superior Customer Service

Create interactive decision trees for customer service management, cold call scripts or self-service. Improve sales performance metrics and customer delight across your call centers.

Interactive Decision Tree