In order to improve on Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) you need to have ongoing and in-depth communication. Here are 7 tools to help you out with that
Customer relationships are the most valuable assets a company can develop. Improving on them is a great way to increase your average customer lifetime value (CLV), to collect meaningful feedback for product development and to gain referrals.
Developing customer relationships in a structured and re-applicable manner is, however, not as easy as it sounds. The basis for excellent customer relationships is excellent communication. Sadly, this is a field that is oftentimes neglected, even though the last decade has brought us so many more options that have made talking with your customers and prospects way more efficient and effective.
Check out this list of 7 tools that empower you to stay in close contact with your customers and prospects:
For most businesses the Website is (or has become) the most crucial place to collect business opportunities. That’s why Live Chat is at the top of our list: it is the one tool that allows you to directly interact with visitors over your website.
Since your website is the first place people look when in need for information from your company, it makes sense to offer an option that allows them to ask any question directly. A live chat tool such as Userlike combines the best of the worlds of phone and email.
With the phone people don’t know how long they’ll have to wait in the queue. You’d also be surprised by the amount of people out there suffering from a legitimate phone support trauma. Ever more, there are plenty of people with a natural fear of talking on the phone for whom this support channel simply is no option.
The problem with email is that people don’t know how long it might take to receive an answer. This insecurity by itself can deter them from using it. If web visitors can’t find an answer it is generally easier for them to hop to your closest competitor in their search results instead of sending you an email. There goes your customer… Furthermore, both email and phone aren’t fit to offer real sales support while your visitor hovers over the website.
Whatsapp for Business
These days, who doesn’t use Whatsapp? Well, most likely your business doesn’t! So far the general public has regarded mobile messaging as a C2C channel only, but this is starting to change. Startups like Smoope offer mobile messaging apps specifically designed for B2C communication, with the potential of drastically increasing businesses’ accessibility and transparency.
Just imagine being able to talk to a company as if you were talking to a friend. You remember you should make an appointment for the dentist or hairdresser? Send them a message. You have a question about how your phone subscription behaves while you are abroad? Send them a message. Your dentist would like to prevent you from forgetting your appointment or not eating 2 hours before the procedure? They send you an automated message. B2C messaging is still in its infancy, but the possibilities are tremendous.
Social Help Desk
We are all familiar with Helpdesk solutions through which companies provide email responses on customer enquiries. The difference of a Social Helpdesk is that it allows companies to respond to customer interactions from social networks and provides information to support agents to respond accordingly.
It’s a real trend for customers to address businesses over social media for support enquiries. Consumers already spend 60% of their free time on Facebook and Twitter, so why not throw your questions and complaints to the companies over there?
Instead of feeling threatened, the right response to this trend is regarding it as an opportunity: not just you and your customer, the whole world will be able to witness your outstanding service! Good tools to manage the social interactions of your company are Desk.com and Hootsuite.
A Mention Tracking Tool
On the web there are many places where you company, business, products or services can be mentioned, whether positively or negatively. Missing out on these mentions can mean a lost opportunity for a new sale, partnership or lead. On the other hand, if someone is unhappy with your business and blogs about a bad experience, not following up can cost you brand reputation and potential customers.
To help you stay ahead of everything that has been said or shared about your business, you might consider subscribing to a tool like Mention. It allows allows you to detect, analyse and react quickly. Mention tells you all the mentions to your brand done in social media, blogs, websites, online magazines and any other source.
In order to make sense out of the huge amount of unfiltered information on the web, consumers have turned to online communities where opinions, experiences and recommendations can be shared among one another. The power of communities shouldn’t be overlooked, as they leave modern online buyers more educated and conscious of different online sales hacks and have unlimited access to information. This doesn’t mean however that you should sit by passively as people discuss your brand and products. These communities are a great place to gather unfiltered feedback about your company. Also, by actively contributing you can prevent misconceptions from occurring. When you do this however, do make sure to prevent marketing talk as it can get you kicked out of the community.
But you can go even further than that: you can create your own community surrounding your product or brand. Get Satisfaction is an online tool designed to empower customers in their client-company relationship. By creating a community you will provide customers the possibility to get faster answers to their questions, provide feedback or gather the necessary information to make buying decisions. Get Satisfaction is one tool that allows you to build such a community.
Call Center Software
For smaller businesses, managing call support is a heavy task. If you are struggling, a SME call center tool can provide the answer. TalkDesk, a Portuguese software company, offers an all-in-one online call center solution for small and medium sized businesses. It allows you to access all the information about the customer from the moment you start the conversation, it lets you exchange operators easily, it synchronizes and integrates with your support software and even gives you monitoring statistics for performance control. All this with a professional service, design and quality product that requires neither infrastructure acquisitions nor expensive fees.
Finally, collecting user feedback is one of the most important parts of keeping a close positive relationship. It’s important to give the opportunity for collecting dedicated feedback and suggestions to make customers feel valued and important to your business. Feedback isn’t only important to raise customer satisfaction but also to improve and further develop your product.
Our top pick for feedback software goes to Honestly, a dedicated solution to collect your customers’ opinion especially from their tablets and smartphones. Honestly offers a set of templates for questionnaires and other rating systems which you can easily apply. After the completion of such forms, your clients’ data will be processed and translated into meaningful information for decision making. Win back unhappy customers and increase long-term loyalty among your current customers by using a feedback collection tool such as this.
Too many businesses still rely on the 2 basic channels of phone and email to stay in contact with their customers. Although these channels are there to stay, new innovative tools allow businesses to take on a proactive approach and build relationships with (potential) customers via the website, social media, platforms, or even mobile phone.
Photo Credit: Shutterstock /Young brothers talking with tin can telephone