customer

When it comes to customer service, big business has set a standard for efficiency that smaller organizations are also being held to, especially as the experience moves online. In addition to having their pick of digital channels through which they can communicate with companies (e.g., live chat, email, social media, SMS, and more), customers also expect agents’ responses to be quick and informed.

However, this level of engagement can be difficult for smaller businesses to keep up with when they may be operating with limited staff who can’t effectively monitor every customer touchpoint. Unfortunately, failure to quickly address customers’ inquiries can mean losing their business or—potentially worse—earning poor reviews.

To avoid this risk, small businesses can deploy digital customer engagement tools to be everywhere their customers are, as well as make the interactions as seamless as ones offered by their big business competitors. Here are the benefits of implementing digital customer engagement tools for small businesses:

Never miss a customer inquiry

Today’s customers expect to reach companies through a variety of channels, which has prompted many organizations to establish multichannel customer service strategies. By setting up more communication paths for customers, companies increase the odds of customers reaching out and, hopefully, completing transactions.

However, the problem with multichannel approaches is that these touchpoints are typically siloed from one another, each managed through a separate system. For example, agents would have to check each social media platform individually to ensure they aren’t missing any messages, which can be time consuming. Even if the business uses a social media management platform like HootSuite to manage all their social accounts from one place, it still won’t help with email, SMS, messaging, or live chat.

Instead, business owners should look for an omnichannel solution that aggregates the data from all touchpoints into one centralized interface. An omnichannel tool allows agents to monitor all these platforms without having to manually log into them one by one, which saves them time to focus on more pressing business activities. Additionally, when companies receive high volumes of inbound messages, a strategic omnichannel system helps them route and assign queries more efficiently, with the option of marking conversations for follow up later on the original channel or on another channel to prioritize workloads.

Having coverage from an omnichannel solution is beneficial during periods of increased demand, like during the pandemic when customers are choosing to communicate from home to avoid in-person interactions and flooding businesses’ online platforms and phonelines with questions. This capability prevents customers from abandoning inquiries because they didn’t receive answers quickly enough.

Enhance both the employee and customer experience

Of course, customers aren’t concerned with the communication strategies the companies they’re engaging with have in place; they only want assistance available to them when they want it, however they want it. To this end, digital customer engagement software can offer the support small businesses need to achieve a more seamless experience for both agents and customers.

Again, omnichannel engagement tools will prove the most valuable. That’s because, beyond being difficult for employees to manage, having various siloed channels limits the value in customer data collected from them. For example, if a customer decides to call into a business but has already shared their information via Facebook, the answering agent doesn’t have easy access to that data and therefore must spend time collecting it again, which is frustrating for both the agent and the customer.

Using digital customer engagement tools capable of aggregating conversations from every channel onto one platform provides agents with access to the complete story. Plus, if using tools that integrate with a CRM system, agents will be able to reference relevant insights like purchase history so that they can deliver more informed service. Besides inspiring loyalty from the customer, this personalization can increase sales by allowing the agent to make strategic recommendations to the customer to increase the value of the transaction. Likewise, these insights also help agents better understand customer pain points so that they can not only avoid them but work quickly to remedy them.

In addition to customers receiving the responsiveness and efficiency they’re looking for when interacting with a business, agents are saved from the tediousness of having to source information across platforms. An omnichannel solution expedites the task of responding to customer messages and mitigates the risk of employee burnout. As a result, agents are more engaged in their interactions, making the experience more satisfying for employees and customers alike.

Many small business owners don’t realize they don’t have to be a big corporate enterprise to deliver premium customer service—they just need the proper tools. Digital customer engagement software empowers small businesses to be more accessible and more responsive to customers while still operating efficiently, which works to increase sales and improve customer satisfaction.

Jeff Epstein is Comm100’s VP Marketing & Strategy. He’s a B2B marketer with 20+ years’ experience creating compelling messaging and content for sales enablement and demand generation. He holds a BA from the University of Waterloo and an MBA from Thunderbird, the American Graduate School of International Management.

Engagement tools stock photo by Drozd Irina/Shutterstock