Your service-profit chain connects your internal and external marketing efforts to your bottom line. It links three parts: (a) internal marketing, which covers internal service quality, as well as employees’ attitudes and behavior; (b) external marketing, which encompasses external service quality, as well as customers’ attitudes and behavior; and (c) firm performance, which includes revenue growth and profitability. Customer interactions are vital to (a) and (b), resulting in performance or (c).
With the power of an enterprise CRM, you can carefully examine each link in this chain.
How do you know if your customer interactions are as healthy as they could be?
What are customer interactions?
Customer interactions come in many shapes and sizes.
For example, service and support teams connect one-on-one with customers via phone, email, and chat. Chatbots act as first responders and direct customers to web resources. Social media teams respond to questions and concerns on public forums. Sales teams reach out for upsell opportunities.
Customer interactions aren’t easy; they require product/service expertise plus exceptional listening skills.
Why are customer interactions important?
Solid customer experiences define brand relationships after the initial sale. A single interaction can make or break a customer’s perception of your company. Your customer service/support teams are the face of your brand.
Every company should measure customer interactions by tracking important KPIs. Different KPIs need to be checked at different intervals; some are hourly, daily, weekly, monthly, etc. Once you establish a baseline and a plan, your team can set goals for improvement. Below are practical ideas to help your team move the needle.
6 Ways To Make Every Customer Interaction Matter
Healthy customer interactions and speedy complaint resolutions create better outcomes for all stakeholders. Positive customer interactions increase revenues and improve brand reputations. They also contribute to healthy corporate cultures.
When employees make customers happy, their morale increases. Good customer service and support create a positive feedback loop that can spread across your entire organization.
1. Show empathy
Empathetic customer interactions build brand trust. This increases positive outcomes like return business and referrals.
In a 2021 study, researchers at Belgium’s Ghent University found employee empathy statements increased brand trust. When customers felt understood, they believed their complaints had been handled well.
University of Pennsylvania senior fellow Annie McKee recommends three tips for demonstrating empathy. First, listen carefully to the customer without getting defensive or accusing them of being wrong. Second, be present with the person you’re helping and their specific situation. Third, don’t multitask when dealing with customers. Make them feel heard, special, and understood.
Customer satisfaction begins with empathy.
2. Solve problems quickly and efficiently
Speedy customer support and help desk outcomes can dramatically impact brand trust. All interactions matter, but fast first responses and final resolutions have the most impact in showing that you respect your customers’ time and result in an increase in their satisfaction.
In a 2020 study, researchers used a machine-learning algorithm to predict response times. They anticipated the messaging rates of both customers and customer service teams. These experts pointed out the utility of this analysis for support staffing since adequate staffing has the biggest impact on appropriate response times.
3. Make it easy for your customers
Examine each step of your customer journey and eliminate all unnecessary obstacles. All customers want convenience; new customers need smooth user experiences most of all.
Provide frictionless brand interactions by fixing all the little things that can damage brand trust:
- Make your contact information visible on all customer-facing content.
- Have your web and social media teams hunt down broken links.
- Provide clear and concise pricing options.
- Make sure your support ticket autoresponder functions properly, so customers know they’ve gotten through to you.
- Have a human being follow up as quickly as possible.
- After resolution, ask for quick customer feedback on their support experience.
- Follow up a few days later with a second feedback request.
4. Act on customer feedback
As you resolve individual support cases, collect customer feedback for analysis. Then, integrate this knowledge into your products/services.
According to these Swedish academics, organizations with supportive workplace cultures do a better job of sharing customer feedback. These researchers encourage organizations to value this knowledge base as much as they do their technical expertise.
Identify broad trends in your feedback data but don’t neglect individual experiences.
Remember, your customer base is your knowledge base.
5. Be where your customers are
All of your departments have a stake in your social media presence.
For example, your tech team needs to see comments from people griping about bugs, glitches, and inefficiencies. You don’t just need to identify and fix your faults; you need to interact with users, acknowledge their frustrations, and let them see you addressing their issues in a timely fashion.
Your social media team can encourage people to interact both with your brand and each other. Help your loyal fans connect over their common interest in your product/service. And make sure to track your customer-to-customer interaction metrics.
A recent outage by the Slack app played out in social media with frequent communication, plus humility and empathy. Rather than stale, programmed status updates, Slack chose to communicate with messages like these:
We’re digging into the problem with the highest priority. Thank you for your patience as we work on this.
Sorry for the panic. We’re working towards a resolution asap and will provide another update as soon as we can here: https://status.slack.com.
So sorry for making your morning harder. We’re doing everything we can to get everything back to normal as quickly as possible.
6. Be transparent and communicate often and effectively
Of all customer service outcomes, a positive feedback loop is the most desirable. It’s far easier to maintain healthy customer relationships than to repair your reputation.
By providing operational transparency, you can create a workplace culture that keeps getting better and better.
In a 2016 study of food service workers, researchers observed operational transparency benefits for both customers and employees. Customers who could see workers making their meals reported higher perceptions of employee effort. They were 22% more likely to rate their experience as high quality.
Workers in this study who experienced customer transparency felt their efforts impacted others. Researchers reported a 19% reduction in throughput times from employees who felt seen and appreciated. They pointed out the power of transparency to create reciprocal value for all stakeholders.
Not every business can make its operations publicly visible, but every company can communicate more often, own its mistakes, and share milestones. Demonstrate honesty and transparency to create loyal customers, and take care to track this customer communication.
Get creative: How can you provide genuine, transparent interactions between your customers and your employees?
Improve your customer interactions with Insightly
Use Insightly Service to foster customer relationships. Analyze feedback on centralized customer interactions dashboards. Close tickets and share mission-critical information across your organization faster than ever. Get a timely read on current and historical customer status and spark more engaging, relevant conversations. Empower internal teams with the data they need to perform their roles effectively.
When you use Insightly CRM and Insightly Marketing with Insightly Service, you align your teams and provide unified help desk, marketing, and sales experiences. Your team is empowered to identify, meet, and exceed customer needs, in real time.
Get your free trial of Insightly today.