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Building a Robust Customer-First Strategy for 2021

A customer-first strategy can help your business enhance customer experience, increase customer retention, and boost employee productivity. An effective strategy is designed to focus on the customer and develop strong customer relations. Happy customers lead to happy businesses, after all.

What is a Customer-First Strategy?

A customer-first strategy is a business plan that revolves around the success of your customers. It focuses on the customer and improving the customer experience. Such an approach looks at the situation of your target customer and identifies ways to make their experience with your company and your product better. If customers are unhappy with your service or cannot relate to your product, then there is no reason for them to do business with you. They will take their money elsewhere.

This includes addressing the following points:

  • What are the expectations of your customer?
  • How can you make life easier for your customers?
  • What are the common issues your customers are looking to solve?
  • How is your customer’s team set up?
  • How can you improve your customers’ experiences by leveraging customer stories from the past?

Besides focusing on your customers, an effective customer-first strategy will also focus on employee needs. After all, your employees will be interacting with your customers or creating products and services for them. If your employees feel undervalued, they will not put 100% into satisfying your customers.

Why You Must Put Your Customers First

Any business that relies on recurring revenue must put its customers first. Improved engagement and the quality of customer interactions will drive sales down the line. We all know that happy customers spend more and are more likely to refer your business to others.

A customer-first approach that focuses on solving customers’ problems will improve the longevity of your business.

customer first

 

How Do You Put the Customer First?

So, what do you need to focus on to create a customer-first strategy that will be successful and draw more customers to your business?

  • Customer expectations — What is your target customer expecting from your service? High quality, quick response time, multichannel support, etc.?
  • Customer preferences — Do customers prefer self-service options or assisted customer support? Do they look for product information and reviews on social media? Would they prefer multichannel support and not just voice calls?
  • Customer experience when interacting with your brand — How and where are customers interacting with your business? How can this interaction be improved to their satisfaction?
  • Customer’s situation — How is your customer’s business set up? What essentials do they need? How can your business help?
  • Employee experiences — How can you improve the experience of your employees so that they do their job well and treat customers with care?
  • Common issues customers want solved — What issues are they looking to resolve with your product? How can you market your product to that end?

Related: 7 Types of Customer Complaints & How to Resolve Them

How to Establish an Effective Customer-First Strategy

An effective customer strategy usually consists of two initiatives: customer-focused and employee-focused. You will need to pay attention to the needs and expectations of both your customers and employees so you can put your customers first.

Here are some ways to create a customer-first strategy that boosts business growth:

1. Know Your Target Audience and Customer Base

The most important part of creating a customer-centric strategy includes understanding your target audience and your existing customer base. If you don’t know who you are selling to or have a good idea of their situation and needs, you will not be able to provide them with a useful and helpful product.

Conduct market research for new customers and target audiences to gain insight into their needs, expectations, and preferences. Collect feedback from current customers to understand what you can do to improve their experience.

2. Build a Buyer Persona for Your Product

If you haven’t yet, it is extremely crucial to create personas depending on your customer. This step should occur when you create your business plan.

A buyer persona is a representation of your ideal customer or target audience. This persona is created by including your target customer’s demographic, career, job position, personal interests, and so on. Create a buyer persona through market research and collecting data about individuals within your target audience range.

Creating customer personas helps you get into the mindset of your audience, their needs, demands, expectations, preferences, and so on. This can further help you serve them better.

3. Study Customer Behaviors, Preferences, and Needs

To execute a customer-first strategy, your business needs to work closely with its customers. How else will you learn what they need and the best ways to help them? By paying attention to their needs, you can:

  • Offer better, more wholesome products
  • Become more accessible through multichannel support
  • Understand when and where they are interacting with your brand to optimize marketing efforts
  • Customize and personalize customer support and sales efforts

All of these steps can help you develop stronger customer relationships and encourage these customers to continue doing business with your company. This will help you retain more high-quality accounts. It’s essential to study your customers so that you can proactively respond to their needs.

Start by tracking customer metrics such as lifetime value (LTV), customer retention, satisfaction, and net promoter score. Ensure that all departments (especially sales, operations, and support) have access to this data. Your business can then start building an incredible overall customer experience.

By failing to understand the needs of your customer base, you might not be able to guide customers along the right journey. In addition, you might not be able to solve their problems quickly.

4. Focus on Improving Employee Experience

While the term “customer-first strategy” naturally implies a focus on customers, remember that customers interact the most with your employees. Specifically, your customer support and sales teams. Overburdened and stressed-out employees will not make a good impression on customers and sales leads.

Employee experience (EX) must be considered as part of your customer strategy. The value of a great employee experience is immense! As such, your employees need to be treated well and provided with the right business tools so they can do their jobs effectively.

EX means taking key steps towards improving the collective experience of your employees. You may consider popular incentives such as remote work and perks. Additionally, you can provide employees with training materials and courses to continue to better their skills and talents. Above all, you should allow for growth within the company. This helps lower employee turnover rates and ensure productive employees but also save.

Working on your business’ EX means creating a stable and healthy work environment. Happier employees have more pleasant customer interactions, which in turn drives customer success.

5. Make Your Business Easily Reachable

Part of a strong customer-first strategy is being accessible and reachable to your customers no matter where they are. No customer should have to pass through hoops or wait for days to get support. You must have enough customer service and technical support reps to satisfy customer needs. Furthermore, be active on multiple channels such as phone, email, live chat, social media, video. This ensures that you are always reachable.

If you are running an international business, it is important to have strong global communication. Consider subscribing to an international call forwarding service. Such a service will route calls to your team anywhere in the world. This gives your customers a free or inexpensive way to call your business, irrespective of physical distance.

Being reachable and providing quick responses will increase customer trust in your business and improve customer success. Here at Global Call Forwarding, we can help get you set up with a reliable and well-functioning business phone system for round-the-clock support.

6. Collect Feedback & Grow

Finally, collect feedback from customers regularly. You can use surveys to understand where your business is succeeding and what problems you can solve for customers in the future. Then, brainstorm and apply practical solutions to key issues. A strategy that puts your customers first will make your business a better place to be.

Draw in More Customers in 2021 with a Customer-Centric Strategy

How can Global Call Forwarding help? Check out this list of great customer service tips. Implement the above tips to build and execute an effective customer-first strategy that proves helpful for your customers and employees.

Speak with our experts to see what tools and services are available to help your business focus on customer experience. Call us at 1 (888) 908 6171 or chat with us online today!

7 Types of Customer Complaints & How to Resolve Them

The best way to provide A+ customer service is to identify common customer complaints and be prepared to resolve them. Having your agents and reps trained to quickly and effectively handle complaints will lead to better and improved customer service. And this sets you on the path of gaining loyal and returning customers.

Resolving Common Customer Complaints

Customers reach out to a business for a variety of reasons ranging from help with signing up, product inquiries, request for quotes to assistance and support. However, they do not always have a good experience. This is why over the years so much emphasis has been placed on good and effective customer service.

So, what are some common types of customer complaints and how can they be resolved?

1. Waiting in Queue for Long Periods

Problem: Most of the time customers calling a business for customer support end up waiting in line for 15-45 minutes. Waiting on hold can be extremely frustrating for customers who have a small inquiry or an urgent issue.

Solution: Have more agents on call during high call volume periods. For most businesses, these periods occur between 12 pm – 2 pm (during lunch) or 4 pm – 6 pm (end of the workday). Additionally, use call routing to forward calls to different agents or office locations, when one is overburdened.

2. Long Response Times

Problem: One of the most common customer complaints is long response times. This includes customers sending emails, queries through webforms, responding to voicemails, etc., and not receiving a response within 1-2 business days.

Solution: Prioritize responding quickly and actively. Ensure your employees are on top of the emails, queries, voicemails within 1-2 business days. Longer than that and a potential customer will go with a competitor instead. While automated responses can do the trick, personalize these responses to make them less “mechanical.”

3. Frustrating Automated Systems

Problem: Dealing with chatbots and IVR systems can be hard, especially for customers that have a unique issue. Automated systems are useful for handling simple, common, mundane tasks such as:

    • Transferring calls to the right department
    • Offering troubleshooting help
    • Providing company information
    • Activating or renewing services, etc.

Customers love self-service. However, more complex tasks will need a real agent’s help. Additionally, some customers may not even know how to use and navigate through an IVR system. Some may select the wrong option and end up in the wrong department. While others may find the long menu options more annoying than helpful.

Solution: Have a simple and easy-to-use automated system with an option for voicemail or “speak with a representative” easy to find. Keep menu options short and clear. Avoid jarring hold music or repeating your services on a loop when calls are transferred. And also, be sure to allow for the option to “speak to a representative.” This way, customers can request to speak with an agent if all else fails.

4. Being Passed Around

Problem: Customers being passed around from one employee to another will definitely leave your business for another more organized and efficient one. This includes in-person, phone, and email conversations.

Solution: When they connect with your business, it should be easy for them to find the right person to speak with. Therefore, your teams need to be organized with useful department extensions or email addresses. An IVR system will come in handy here; offer menu options to callers such as Press 1 for Sales, Press 2 for Customer Support, Press 3 for Billing & Accounting, etc. Route calls effectively using attribute-based routing to ensure customers get the help they need with their preferences in mind.

5. Impatient or Rude Staff

Problem: This is a no-brainer. Agents that are impatient and trying to quickly resolve a call without making the customer feel welcomed and valuable or are rude and condescending will lose customers promptly.

Solution: Train your agents and reps to adopt active and empathetic listening, be patient on their calls, and behave appropriately with customers. We recommend that you use these customer service tips for 2020.

6. Staff Not Helpful or Knowledgeable

Problem: Customer complaints also include staff or agents being unhelpful or unaware of a solution. When customers interact with your business for customer support, it is usually to inquire about a product or resolve an issue they are facing. And so, they expect to talk to someone who has the knowledge and expertise to assist them.

Solution: Train agents in the subject matter of your product and service as well as the industry they serve. Create knowledge bases for employees to use when they are in a pinch and need additional support. Furthermore, you may even consider call barging and call whispering to have supervisors and managers enter a call and provide support.

7. Poor Product or Service

Problem: Another common complaint is that the quality of the product or service is poor and deceptive. Customers may feel that the description of your product or service doesn’t match the result which can lead to cancellation and refund requests.

Solution: Take these complaints seriously because they may be an indication of a much larger problem with your product or service. Customer feedback is useful not only in improving the development of your service but also in understanding your customers’ expectations and preferences. Train your staff to deal with unhappy customers. Once you see a common issue with your product, be prepared with solutions, alternatives, refunds, or promotions for future customers that may experience the same issue.

Why Paying Attention to Customer Complaints is Important

Listening to your customers and their complaints can help you improve how you serve them. Additionally, it will help you offer better and more efficient service. This can directly enhance customer support and increase customer retention, as these two factors are necessary for any business’ success!

5 Ways to Win Back Your Post-Pandemic Customers

It’s true that the COVID-19 pandemic put a wrench in our plans to grow this year. Yet, instead of being disheartened about the current state of your business and future prospects, now is the time to see how you can reinvent your company and keep your customers.

This means: developing a post-pandemic customer support strategy.

In this post, we will look at creative and successful ways to bring your post-pandemic customers back to your business.

How to Provide Excellent Post-Pandemic Customer Support

To ensure that your customer relationships outlast the coronavirus pandemic, it is important to have a customer-first strategy. This includes understanding what your customers need from you and how you can offer that in a safe and secure way. Take time to devise a post-pandemic customer support strategy in a way that elevates your customers and your customer support team. Let’s look at these 5 ways to win back post-pandemic customers.

1. Gather New Customer Insights & Preferences

The first step to implementing a customer-first strategy for your post-pandemic customers is focusing on what they need. Gather information about customer insights and preferences by asking them, conducting social media polls, and getting your marketing team on task. Brainstorm ways in which you can surprise your customers or make them feel valued. Thank you notes or emails, complimentary presents for using your service, etc., are some ways to get their attention and make them feel welcomed.

2. Demonstrate What You Are Doing to Stay Safe

Since individual and collective safety is of utmost importance at this time, you will need to show your customers what your business is doing to stay safe. Social media posts and an email detailing your safety plan can go a long way in gaining their trust. Some ways to display good and safe practices include:

  • Mandating face masks when in your store
  • Maintaining social distancing
  • Ensuring the availability of hand sanitizers
  • Offering flexible return to business policies
  • Keeping your website and online transactions secure from hackers
  • Highlighting employee safety regulations; what employees are doing to stay safe and healthy

All of this information not only educates your customers about the virus and how your business is dealing with it but also helps them trust you and your employees enough to make a purchase.

3. Offer Multichannel Communication & Support

Another key element to include in your post-pandemic customer support strategy is to make your business available via multiple channels. Besides offering phone and email support, you may even consider other channels of communication. For example, instant messaging, social media engagement, live chat, and video conferencing. Video conferencing can go a long way in interacting with a potential customer, doing product demonstrations, and securing their purchases.

4. Prepare for Antsy and Worried Customers

Now this one is important. There is general anxiety all over the world right now. And so, your customers may be angry, worried, or antsy. But be mindful and respectful of this. Treat them with kindness. Be prepared with solutions to their issues and concerns. And you will gain global customers for the long-run.

5. Make it Easy for Customers to Come Back to Your Business

Encourage your post-pandemic customers to come back. It is not going to be easy, which is why your business must attempt to make it convenient for them to return. Shower them with deals and promotions, membership programs, let them know how much you miss them. These actions will reap results in the future when everything opens up again.

Prepare For When the Pandemic is Over

Take time to improve your business’ post-pandemic customer support. Remember that even if customers do not immediately start purchasing from your business, they will remember the above initiatives when the pandemic is over. They will know that your business did everything it could to ensure safety and customer satisfaction, and that will also influence them to come back. Work now so that when COVID-19 is gone, your business is the first thing customers think about!