Customer Interaction: 6 Best Practices to Follow in 2021
It’s a fact: your customers are the heart of your business. Your market is competitive, and great customers come with great expectations. You need more than a good product or service to thrive; you need to provide your customers with a great journey. Customer interaction is a crucial part of each step on the customer journey and is pivotal to your brand’s position in the marketplace.
Customer interaction is significant to the customer experience because it is an ongoing process that can strengthen relationships. It isn’t about the one-time sale, but about the customer’s overall experience with your product, service, or brand.
Let’s take a deep dive into the world of customer interaction. Understand the importance of customer interaction management, how you can improve customer interaction, technologies you can use, and much more.
What is Customer Interaction?
Customer interaction occurs each time you "touch" a customer. You might define customer interaction as any communication or interaction between a company and a consumer.
Customer interaction comes in many forms. The interaction might come from a chatbot or live agent chat, welcome message, social media interaction, retention interaction, service call, or even another form.
You’ll find that customer interaction is essential for all businesses but has a growing role in the e-commerce world. Consumers are rapidly shifting from shopping at brick-and-mortar stores to online retailers. In fact, the numbers are staggering — according to statistics from Oberlo, more than 230 million Americans will shop online in 2021. These consumers are expected to spend $469.2 billion online in 2021, creating lots of opportunities for web-based businesses.
Companies, businesses, and brands can tap into e-commerce success by paying close attention to the importance of customer interactions.
What is the Importance of Customer Interaction?
Each customer interaction is an opportunity. Understanding the importance of customer interaction is essential to taking advantage of each possibility.
There are a number of reasons why customer interactions and customer interaction management are important. Customer interactions can:
- Transform prospects into customers: Positive customer interactions create trust, which can quickly encourage prospects and leads to convert into customers.
- Create personal connection: Strong, positive customer interactions create personal connections between companies and consumers. Personal connections create repeat customers.
- Build brand loyalty: Personal connections with a company foster brand loyalty. Numbers from Adobe’s 2020 Digital Economy Index indicate that 8% of customers make up 41% of e-commerce store’s revenue. Fostering brand loyalty through customer interactions can improve profitability and increase your bottom line.
- Encourage customer retention: Returning customers are essential to your business’s success. The way you interact with your customers is what encourages them to come back again and again.
There are many factors contributing to the importance of customer interaction. With these considerations in mind, it is easy to see why the success of your business might hinge on creating meaningful customer interaction.
Types of Customer Interactions
Now that you have an understanding of the basics of customer interaction and the importance of customer interaction management, let’s dive into the types of interactions you can use to wow your consumers and enhance their journey.
The five main types of customer interactions include:
- Chat interactions
- Welcome messages
- Social media interactions
- Customer retention interactions
- Customer service calls
Learn more about each type of customer interaction and see how it might benefit your business.
Chat interactions that take place on an e-commerce website are often the first opportunity for your business to touch customers. You’ll find that chat interactions can greet new visitors to your site, provide assistance to returning customers, and foster an immediate sense of trust.
Chat interactions might include:
- Chatbots: A chatbot, like those offered by JivoChat, is a programmed assistant that can process and simulate conversation just like a real, live human. The chatbot can warm up the customer or lead with basic information so they are more likely to convert when they reach the product page, shopping cart, or a live agent.
- AI chatbots: AI chatbots are similar to other chatbots, but they function a little differently. Their actions are based on canned messages and programmed rules. Interestingly, AI chatbots can "learn" from human conversations and make decisions about responses on their own using natural language. AI chatbots can automate the customer experience and simulate live agent interaction.
- Live chat: Live chat is often a follow-up to a chatbot interaction, when a chatbot passes a customer or lead to a live agent for further assistance or to make a purchase. Live chat is a type of customer interaction that can support the journey and experience, assist with acquisition, and even build rapport and trust among consumers.
Welcome messages provide a way to immediately engage with prospects, customers, employees, and others upon visiting your website. A first-time visitor might get a welcome message explaining your products or services; a welcome message might further build a relationship with a returning customer.
Welcome messages might include:
- Website welcome messages: A welcome message on a website, delivered by a chatbot, can serve many purposes. Warm website welcome messages are brief and to the point and immediately connect with customers. The welcome message might introduce a new end-user to your company’s services or products; it also might further establish your brand to returning visitors.
- Welcome email messages: Welcome email messages can make a great first impression to new subscribers and captured leads. Email welcome messages can speak volumes about your company or brand. You might use a welcome email message to send special offers, provide a sign-up form, send videos and additional information, remind customers of an abandoned cart, and much more.
- Welcome text messages: It’s 2021 and everyone always has a smartphone in their hand. Welcome text messages are delivered straight to that device and allow customer interaction right where your consumers are. Numbers from a 2018 survey indicate that 4 out of 5 consumers actually wish businesses texted them more, so you’re sure to find many customers opting-in to this type of customer interaction.
Social media interactions
With 2.8 billion people around the world using Facebook in 2021, it is easy to see why social media interactions are an essential method of reaching out to customers. In fact, HootSuite recently reported that more than 1 billion messages are exchanged between businesses and consumers every single month via Facebook Messenger. This high usage makes social media customer interactions a virtual powerhouse for businesses and lets companies promote brand awareness, provide customer service, and do much more.
Types of social media interactions can include:
- Messenger and WhatsApp inquiries: Let your customers slide into your DMs by taking advantage of popular messaging platforms like Messenger and WhatsApp. Chatbots will let you automate personalized responses on these platforms and make customer interactions feel individualized, not canned. Provide information and create trust by offering quick responses.
- Responding to mentions: Mentions on social media let you interact with customers in a more public way. Consumers are spreading the word about your company when they mention you online. Responding to social mentions lets you engage your audience and demonstrate your customer focus. Respond to mentions quickly, use positive language, and know when to use a more private messaging setting to win at social media mentions.
- Sharing customer social posts: Sharing customer posts and tagging your customers has many benefits. Not only is it another efficient way to build awareness about your company or business, but it also increases brand loyalty. Sharing social posts lets your promoters do the work for you and creates opportunities for natural customer interaction.
Customer retention interactions
Existing customers want to feel valued, and they want a quick solution to any bumps along the way. Customer retention interactions make up an essential part of the customer journey. Statistics from Oberlo indicate that 58 percent of consumers who stop doing business with a company do so because of poor customer experience. This is why positive customer interactions are essential to your brand’s ongoing success.
Types of customer retention interactions you can take advantage of include:
- Special offer messages: Customers often opt-in to communication when they convert. Reaching out to loyal customers via email, text message, chatbot, or social media to share special offers can make customers feel valued and appreciated, as well as encourage additional sales.
- Renewal notifications: Reminding subscribers and ongoing customers with renewal notifications might give you a chance to relay appreciation and even increase the likelihood of continuation. A gentle nudge when it is time to renew is a chance to share new product features, share reasons why they might want to continue to engage, and remind your customers of how your service or product stands apart from the rest.
- Feedback surveys: Everyone likes to feel as if their voice is heard. Customer interactions through feedback surveys are exceptionally valuable to all kinds of businesses. Not only do most consumers appreciate the opportunity to sound off about your product or services, but the feedback they provide to your business can lead to the improvement of processes and procedures.
Customer service calls
Customer service calls are another opportunity for customer interaction that come in a variety of forms. Customer service calls might be incoming or outgoing, provide general relationship management, or even address customer inquiries and/or complaints.
Types of customer service calls include:
- Customer relationship management: CRM, or customer relationship management, is an essential part of customer interaction management. You might use a CRM tool or database to help you drive these interactions. Consider making outbound calls to customers to maintain connections. Check-in with your customers to see if they are happy with your product or services, share news, offer product support, see if they need anything from your company, and more.
- Inbound calls: Inbound calls are traditional customer service calls made when a consumer makes an inquiry to a company. Customers might reach out to a company to make an additional purchase, receive product support, voice a complaint, or for a number of other reasons. Each inbound call is a chance for customer interaction and an essential step on the customer’s journey.
- Chat transfers: Chatbots are a brilliant solution to many customer experience needs, but sometimes only a human will do. Chat transfers let your website visitors immediately engage and be on the phone with a live agent in seconds or schedule a specific callback time. Service over the phone from a live agent can encourage conversions and provide customized solutions to all inquiries.
While the list of customer interactions above is comprehensive, it isn’t complete. You’ll find many other opportunities to connect with customers with both proactive and reactive strategies. However, the methods above are a solid foundation for your business or brand’s customer interaction management process and can help engage all kinds of consumers, especially when following a few best practices.
Best Practices for Customer Interactions
Your customers have great expectations and you need to deliver great interactions. In addition to providing an outstanding product or service, following a few best practices for customer interactions can drive the journey from welcome to repeat conversions.
Best practices for customer interactions include:
- Track customer interactions: The right customer interaction management tool is an omnichannel platform that keeps a record of all communication across all channels. This means you should have records of emails, social media interactions, chatbot chats, phone calls, text messages, and other interactions. Save your customers from repeating themselves and impress them by referring to topics they’ve previously mentioned.
- Be proactive: Greet customers who visit your website with a friendly helper. Let a chatbot offer assistance to your customers before they even ask. This will let them know support is available when needed and your company is with them along every step of their user experience.
- Automate customer service: Live agents likely aren’t available 24/7. Consider letting an automated chatbot go to work when live agents aren’t online. Chatbots can respond to customer inquiries and keep a transcript of the conversation for your live agents. In fact, you can even set up action-based triggers that launch chatbots and encourage customer interaction.
- Analyze your processes: Customer interaction management is a process. Constantly monitoring and analyzing your processes will help you determine if there are any gaps in customer communication. Analysis will also help you determine which customer interaction strategies are working well and which need improvement.
- Ask for feedback: Feedback from your customers is essential to analysis and more. Make consumers feel more like stakeholders by asking for feedback. Consider using quick SMS surveys, end-of-call surveys, or seek out even more detail with multiple-question email surveys.
- Use translation technology: One of the most beautiful things about today’s business world is the extensive reach of e-commerce and the diversity that brings. Don’t make your customers communicate with you in their non-native language. JivoChat offers a multilingual chat solution that can translate incoming and outbound messages into 21 languages.
Why Customer Interaction Software is Important
Chatbots are the future of customer interaction. These savvy virtual agents can provide a warm welcome, answer questions, offer additional support, and drive the customer experience even without live agents — ultimately leading to more conversions for your business or brand.
The benefits of using customer interaction software abound. You’ll improve customer service, keep up with emerging trends, take advantage of social messaging, and increase engagement, by taking advantage of chatbot technology.
The proof is in the numbers when it comes to why customer interaction software is important. Chatbots are a welcome addition to the e-commerce experience for customers, as 70% of millennial consumers report positive chatbot experiences. Chatbots are also welcome to businesses and executives, as chatbots can help companies save 30% on customer service costs and save companies $8 billion by 2022. Additionally, the use of chatbots can free your staff and allow them to focus on the more complex aspects of seeing your business grow.
Let customer interaction management be easy by relying on the right software. From multi-language solutions to omnichannel platforms, today’s customer interaction software will let your business thrive.
How Will You Improve Customer Interaction in 2021?
Are you ready to see your business or brand improve customer interaction in 2021? Are you looking for new chatbot solutions to lead the way? Do you need a new strategy to improve customer engagement?
Look ahead and let customer interaction software and solutions from JivoChat drive your business toward success. This all-in-one solution will let your company effectively handle chats and interactions across multiple platforms to increase sales and customer satisfaction.
JivoChat will put you on your customers’ levels. Find tailored and customizable solutions for website chatbots, email interactions, social messaging platforms, and much more with answers from JivoChat. See customer interaction develop and bloom by taking advantage of top technology. Learn more and get started with JivoChat today!
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