In any formal business transaction regardless of whether it is conducted online or offline, three entities participate prominently– the buyer also known as the customer, the seller, and the product or service on which the transaction is based. Owing to a variety of factors, there has been a paradigm shift in the behavior of all three over the past decade. The buyer persona is perhaps the entity which has not merely transitioned into a new dimension but literally undergone a reincarnation. According to Jon Ferrara, founder CEO of Nimble CRM, an innovative CRM solution which leverages the power and potential of the social web to initiate communications, connections and conversations between an organization and its customers, gone are the days when you could “bag and tag” your sale simply on the basis of your product’s USP and your selling prowess. Today’s buyer persona is much more sophisticated, knowledgeable and alert.
Customers rely not necessarily on flashy product brochures and glossy ads in the trades although these instruments are also scanned quickly at least as a formality, they turn to Almighty Google to understand the problem they are attempting to solve, seek out reviews for products that meet and match their specifications, and check out PDFs on manufacturers’ websites. Most importantly, they turn to social media. They seek and usually find someone in their Circle on Google+, Friends on Facebook, or Connections on LinkedIn who has an honest and justifiable opinion. It is only after crossing these bridges that customers turn to your company for additional information. They will turn to you because you feature on their short list. Are we at the bottom of the sales funnel? Far from it, we haven’t even begun the journey!
The Winning Strategy
The “shift” we have described above, which is not merely a paradigm shift but also a genuine shift in sensibilities as well as a shift in the choice of service channels, will bring you face-to-face with your customers who are already in a position of strength. Your customers may or may not choose to explore self-service. However, all the available service channels such as phone, email and live chat continue to remain available. Here are a few reasons why we believe your customers will prefer live chat over other existing service channels even after switching channels more than once:
Only phone and live chat possess the ability to provide instant responses. Live chat has an edge because it protects the visitor’s identity except for an email address. A phone conversation tends to generate tons of data about customers, a situation with which customers may not feel comfortable. Customers often list privacy considerations as an area of paramount concern.
Multiple Response Mechanisms
Customers are gradually becoming aware of the fact that an answer to an inquiry submitted through live chat does not merely result in a return chat message. Responses are also provided through links that are click able once sent through live chat, co-browsing facilities, screen sharing and the transmission of data through file transfer. Such transfers are now beginning to include proprietary content especially developed for customers such as images and videos which organizations are choosing not to post online for fear of competition.
Do you have a customer engagement strategy which you have adopted, implemented and fine-tuned that works for you well? Let us know through the blog comments below.