Laptops, smartphones, tablets and social media have made running a business more portable and labor-saving than ever before. While it’s true that advances in technology have turned many business practices on their head, modernizing too much can mean forgetting about all those tried-and-true old school methods that are still at the core of successful businesses. Here’s how to blend the old world of customer service with contemporary techniques.
1. The Seller Era vs. the Customer Era
At one time, the seller was in control. Business owners told their audience what should be bought and why those products were needed; the seller dominated the conversation. Today, the buyer is more prepared than ever before. Researching product information and reading reviews allows potential customers to approach the business, well-prepared and ready to show off their knowledge. Those tools that are letting the buyer control the market (forums, review websites, social media) are the same things that businesses can use to tap into what the customer wants. Sellers may never fully take back the reigns, but they can certainly keep up with buyer interests and market demands if they utilize those online resources.
2. Honesty and Ethics
Being trusted and trustworthy will never go out of style in the business world. Customers need to have confidence in the company they’re buying from. This is especially important for online businesses to understand. Buyers may feel that it’s a huge risk to put their trust in someone they’ll never even meet in person. Business owners and customer service reps need to stay fair in their policies, available to sort out any concerns and dedicated to following through on their guarantees. Luckily, with so many online tools and free apps for small business owners, staying connected is easy even for the on-the-go entrepreneur.
Streamlining business processes is both a blessing and a curse. Scheduling and automation are excellent for employee productivity and efficiency, but when those slick processes don’t allow for flexibility or spontaneity, the customer can be let down. Some consumers need to know that if plans change on their end, your business can adapt. Combining automated systems with real-time customer service means that things will run smoothly most of the time, but when an exception needs to be made, the manpower is there to handle it.
Approaching customer service with a past-meets-present mentality is the best approach, because it allows companies to carry over traditional values that still work while employing new, efficient ways of doing business. Visit CRMXchange for the newest contact center ideas.