The balance between new customer acquisition and customer retention is a delicate one. Focusing too much on one will often be to the detriment of the other. Businesses – especially SMBs strapped for resources – frequently end up neglecting existing customers in the hunt for new ones, or vice versa.
A pity! Thinking of customer support as a cost centre that should focus on customer retention, is just plain silly. Customer support, when handled correctly, can be an amazing profit generator, delivering new business as happily as the Easter bunny handing out his best eggs!
So: which communication channels should you consider to supercharge your customer base?
Loads of companies, both large and small, shy away from Twitter. They find the public space a little daunting. Too bad, as the Dutch airline company KLM illustrated with its social media strategy as explained on its blog. According to KLM’s Online Reputation Manager, a public answer to one person via Twitter can reduce the number of phone inquiries received by the contact centre: “Another return on investment is improved online sentiment (more people talking positively about your brand online) and an increase in brand ambassadors. What’s more, we are equipped to sell tickets and track all conversion to the website.” With clever use of hashtags to attract new followers, incentives to activate your brand ambassadors, and open disclosure to educate your customer base, you too can reduce support cases AND monetize your Twitter support channel.
2. Live chat
Another sad misconception is that live chat diverts your attention away from other tasks, like customer acquisition. The assumption that live chat and new business are mutually exclusively is wrong. Live chat can resolve customer inquiries in an instant, whilst offering a dynamic and proactive means of engaging prospects online – right when they’re in the frame of mind to buy. Be the hero of the hour: convert new prospects before your competitor does, and support your customers with the responsive service that keeps them loyal. Give it a try – you’ll see!
If telephone is your single channel of support, you should add email as a contact option at the very least. It enables you to follow up every inquiry from a customer or prospect with recommendations for add-ons or upsells that they can keep for reference in their inbox till a time when they are ready to buy. Email, unlike a phone conversation, is quick and easy to share with friends and colleagues – so a even a single email response can turn into a mass referral with the right content, especially if you combine email with live chat in a novel way. We call it hybrid messaging.
So yes, extending your support suite requires effort and consideration. But it needn’t be overwhelming. With the right tool – one application that handles all communications via email, phone, chat and social media – you can fluidly manage your support and your customer acquisition. Best of luck with Casengo!