There is definitely a set of skills required to see the smiling face of a customer after the engagement is over. Whether you are a customer service desk executive, relationship manager or salesperson, you can apply these ‘Powerful Ways to Engage with Customers” to make your customers happy and satisfied.
Needless to say, there are direct advantages of happy customers for you and your business. But what are these powerful ways to engage with your customers? This is exactly what we are covering in the post.
These customer engagement strategies require practice once you are aware of them. If you start practicing these strategies you will realize that in no time you have developed the skill to deal with your customer in a positive an profitable way
Let’s Look at the strategies to Engage with Customers for Success
Remember the sudden sense of association when someone who you didn’t expect to know you, suddenly calls you by name. This psychological satisfaction that we derive when we find a connection with self is not unique to human species. Studies have shown that even animals have this sense of association.
To engage with customers in a way that results in highly satisfied customers, you must devise a strategy where you’ll be able to maximize the personalization for the customers.
It doesn’t end just with recalling the names of the customers. It begins with it, you must associate with the customer in a conversation or message that the customer believes is meant for him or her. Many premium car brands have a personalized kit with the name of the customer that enhances their experience of owning the car.
You need to find ways to make personalization work. For example, if you work with a customer service desk that handles complaints about smartphone devices, talk about the name and brand or color (if available) of the device that the customer owns.
A customer service manager for a car brand may talk about how your kids will enjoy riding in this car. An investment manager will talk about how this investment will help finance higher-studies for your son. The more you personalize the better results you will get.
2. Relate to Authority
Don’t associate this authority with the power or right to give orders, make decisions, and enforce obedience. The authority that we are talking about is the authority figure by virtue of expertise, experience, skills, and work. This is also one of the most powerful sources of influence and persuasion. The Milgram experiment is a living example of how effective the authority is.
Every customer that you engage with has a problem, objection, question, observation or feedback. In all of the cases, you need to convince the customer of your position. One of the best ways to instantly satisfy a customer and avoid unnecessary follow-ups is to relate your position with authority.
For example, you are selling a brand of waterproof Bluetooth speaker and the customer comes to you with a water damaged speaker, instead of talking about how good your speakers are and how other customers have never faced such issues (which your customer doesn’t bother about) you can say that your speakers are IP68 certified, however, you will still look into what might have caused the problem.
Authority can be a professional like Doctor, Lawyer, CA, Engineers or a reputed organization, recommendation or certification. It essentially makes your job of assuaging the customer way easier by letting them know that there is expertise behind it and does it quickly so that you can address the real problem.
3. Deal in timelines
“I’ll get back to you as soon as possible”, or “I’ll get back to you by 4 PM on Monday the 24th of August”, which statement sounds more committed to addressing your concerns. We know the answer, therefore it is always advisable to deal with timelines with your customers.
It does two things for your customers, first, it creates an impression that you are serious about their cause and are working on it. Second, it avoids unnecessary confusion and follow-up that may have crept in had you not already given a timeline.
It is important that you be as specific as possible, or you can use the end of the day tomorrow as a timeline. However, the more specific the better. What if you don’t know about the timeline yet. Just do your homework and find out!
However, rarely but surely there are times when you don’t have a timeline when the exact resolution or answer that the customer is seeking isn’t with you. In this case, you still have a timeline. The timeline to update the customer about the timeline when the resolution will arrive. Sure, you wouldn’t use the word timeline of the timeline. What you’re going to say is allow me time till Monday the 24th of August to update you on your complete resolution.
4. Manage expectations
You give me the moon and I will ask for the stars next. There is no limit to human expectations, but for a customer service person, it is counterproductive. If you don’t manage the expectations of a customer, a time will come when their expectation will be so high that it may result in unreasonable demand that you’ll simply fail to deliver.
It doesn’t mean that you don’t want the customer to have high expectations from you, just that you need to manage them in time so that it doesn’t do out of control.
One of the ways to do it is to limit the expectations by externalizing it. You can externalize it to authority as discussed earlier or you can externalize it to your cost, regulation, company policy, etc. Externalizing it has two advantages. First is that you still remain a liked customer service person because it’s not you who is saying no. Second, they’ll now be restraint in their further demands.
The second way is to substitute the demand. If a customer is asking for X, give they Y but Y has the same value for the customer. It doesn’t mean to say that you don’t meet exact reasonable expectations from the customer. Just that when the expectations are ever-increasing, and I know you get the point.
For example, if I am a chief service manager in a resort. A family is my regular, loyal and profitable customer who frequents the resort every month for spending some quality time. They realize that they are my important customers. This time when they visit they ask for a discount, but I am already giving them the rooms at a discounted price from the regular customer. What should I do? I may perhaps give them a free welcome drink for this occasion.
Remember replacing the demand x by y. However, they visit again together with another family and they seek more discounts. Where’s the end of it all? I’m already giving them a welcome drink over and above the discounted price. I responded with a submission that I was getting a booking for another family at a much higher rate but I fought with my management to get them the room.
I can’t now go back to the management to get more discounts for the family. This worked wonderfully with the family. I am now seen as someone who has, in fact, stood by their side. It’s a situation that doesn’t allow me to get more discounts for them.
5. Provide accountability
To maximize customer engagement you must provide accountability. Accountability here means two things and needs to be understood.
1. Accountability when you’ve failed a customer
Failures are part of a business. Everyone fails a customer sometimes, a mere apology is good but it doesn’t solve the problem. You must provide clear accountability for actions that failed the customer.
For example, if you are a courier company and you delivered a customer’s parcel late. You sure will apologize but the customer will never be comforted just by your apology. The moment you say that you will hold your local courier staff accountable for the delay, this will go a long way to alleviate their grievances with you.
Every customer service scenario is different, and you will need to find your way to provide accountability to establish the best ways to engage with customers.
2. Accountability for the value
An individual is a customer when he or she pays you. Someone who pays wants to receive in exchange the same value that is promised to them while making a sale. What if the customer doesn’t get what is promised. A person purchasing an expensive sunglass on Amazon hasn’t even seen it. What if it doesn’t match the color that’s shown in the picture?
Amazon has a return policy that takes care of ‘Accountability for the value’. You must provide accountability for the value to the customers to remove any doubts they have while purchasing or after purchasing the product.
Using these strategies to meaningfully engage with customers requires some preparation and practice. You should prepare for each way to engage with the customer beforehand and apply in your day to day dealing with customers.
You will simply be surprised to see the results!