[Synopsis: From old-school letter-writing to modern technology, customer service means communication.]
All right, we’ll admit communicating with the customer’ is not exactly a new strategy for running a business. But what does effective communication entail? Seriously, what are your best communication practices?
While we as movers may have a thousand differing opinions as to what form of communication works best with our customers, we can probably all agree that it is crucial to keep the lines of communication open for the duration of our relationship with a customer.
We use that word ‘relationship’ purposefully, by the way. Because we don’t just move stuff. We help people. Helping someone means that a relationship of some kind exists. That relationship starts well before we show up in the driveway.
Before the Move
We’ve all got an online presence. If we’re paying attention, then we are constantly updating our info and checking our reviews. But what about adding a living human element to the mix?
The Next Web suggests adding a live chat box to your website “to build rapport with your visitors over time.” You may wonder if you have the time and resources to initiate such a service, but consider this:
Adding live chat functionality to your website allows customers to chat with a business in real-time to ask questions, and more than 40% of respondents on a recent, relevant survey expressed interest in live chat. Smoke ’em if you got ’em.
Next Web bolsters the argument of spending on live chat in their reference to a study by Marketing Power:
Customers who use your live chat platform are three times more likely to buy since the method provides a direct and personal interaction with customers. The effectiveness of live chat as a platform is incentive enough to begin winning over the customers of your competitors by consistently improving upon their experience with your business.
While a phone call may seem a more expedient and personal way to communicate, giving your prospective customers the option of a chat box opens your doors a little wider to them.
During the Move
On their website, Move Management Australia (they also have a chat box, by the way) highlights four reasons why someone should choose MMA over their competitors. The first three may or may not sound particularly compelling, but the last point caught my eye.
“A single point of contact throughout your move”
To us that might not be earth-shattering news, but to a customer facing the prospect of hiring a group of strangers to come in and move their material world, stepping up and designating a single person as a main contact can lend a sense of order to their moving experience.
This means having one person whose job is to explain the paperwork, answer questions and handle any problems. Having that someone on the job who can take care of business thoroughly and professionally goes a long way with the customer.
After the Move
“Reviews are a huge ingredient in your recipe for success!” We say that a lot because we mean it. You can say whatever you want about your service, but what others say about you is what will influence your prospective new customers.
TweakYourBiz agrees, offering seven tips for asking the customer for reviews. Among their bits of advice: make it simple, don’t be shy, and allow your customers to post their review on their personal favorite review site.
We’d like to add one more idea.
Write each customer personally and ask them for a review of your services – one that will be sent right back to you. This is a clear sign you are not simply seeking to add to your online ammunition, but rather you would really like to know the customer’s thoughts on your service and hear their ideas on how you might be able to improve.
Give them the option of answering online – on your HireAHelper page, for example – or filling out the form you sent them and mailing it back to you. Of course, this can all be done electronically. But as a part of our ongoing relationship with our customer, doesn’t a real letter come across as more personal?
Whichever way you go on this, you’ve got nothing to lose and lots to gain by going this route. They’ve already told you what they think, there wouldn’t be much added effort on their part to go ahead and tell everyone else. And who doesn’t like to be heard?
Communicating and creating relationships. Just two parts – but two important parts – of the work we do every day.