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Customer Service Innovations: Is Your Business Keeping Up?

Customer service trends evolve. That makes it much too easy for companies to begin to lag behind. Read these tips on maintaining your customer service edge.

Your company may have great customer service but have you reviewed it recently? Trends in customer service change over the years as do the expectations of customers and potential customers. We all know that today’s leading companies can quickly fall by the wayside if they fail to keep up with the demands of the marketplace. These are the biggest factors where many companies are failing to remain competitive. How does your company compare?

 

Logistical Options


Shipping can be a significant part of your company’s expenses. Whether you sell directly to consumers or to other businesses, any company that sells products needs to stay up-to-date with the latest logistics solutions. If you’re not, you could be paying too much for shipping and/or failing to keep up with your clients’ expectations.

 

Modern logistical options include shipping whole pallets, rather than individual buses or whole truckloads. Fulfillment centres like those utilized by Amazon are enabling more small companies to participate in worldwide markets. Regional storage locations can allow you to more quickly deliver products to your customers to meet their changing needs and reduce your retail customers’ need for extensive warehouse space.

 

Social Media


Customers are relying more and more on social media as a source for information, reviews, and answers to their questions. Maintaining strong social media sites can allow businesses to attract new customers and keep the ones they have now. It is important to understand the changing expectations in the marketplace. Rather than calling a toll-free number and waiting for someone to take their calls, many customers expect to find solutions online. That could mean posting helpful FAQs, answering their comments and questions after they are posted to your social media pages, or being able to respond to their messaging.

 

To be effective, social media sites should be updated regularly, feature helpful information rather than just sales pitches, and include good visual content as well as text. You’ll need to make sure posts regularly appear on your site and that your company quickly responds to any posts/tweets or messages.

 

The online reviews that spawn off social media other sites can be a huge post to your business or a tremendous liability. It is important to monitor sites to look for reviews that are related to your business. Reviews should be responded to promptly, particularly if the reviews are negative. It is vital to manage your online reputation.

 

Online Compatibility

Gone are the days when it was acceptable to have a website that only worked on certain devices. Now customers expect to be able to use their smartphones or computers to easily access websites and other online content. Make sure your site can be easily operated using all types of devices and that it loads quickly.

 

Interactive & Videos


Static sites have become a way of the past. Now customers expect more information and more visual content. Studies have shown that products that are featured in a sales video have better sales. Details matter to today’s customers so the more information you can provide about your products, the more likely you are to be successful.

 

Partnerships


Pairing up with other companies has become a popular route to improving sales and broadening customer bases. Major retailers like Walmart are now featuring online sales of third-party companies. This can be a way for more people to become aware of your products. Companies like Amazon who provide shipping out of their fulfillment centres can combine a chance to reach new markets with the convenience of having Amazon manage the sales and shipping of your products.

 

Updated Collateral


Sales materials have never been easier to produce, thanks to new software and the ability to distribute materials electronically. Sadly, many companies still haven’t caught up with these innovations. While companies that sell retail have largely worked toward updating their materials, many companies that sell to other businesses have lagged behind.

 

Having an established customer base doesn’t mean your company doesn’t need to update your sales materials. Retail and wholesale businesses still want the convenience they experience as personal consumers. Clear websites and sales materials that clearly explain your products or services are still critical for your company’s long-term success.

 

Don’t assume your customers will continue to stick with you forever. As your contacts retire or move to other positions, you’ll deal with new contacts at these companies who may have completely different expectations. They may have their own businesses they prefer to work with or they may be concerned about doing business with a company that lacks modern materials. Outdated sales materials reflect badly on the business that produces them. Make sure your company doesn’t fall into that trap of complacency.