The Importance of Meaningful Connections
In our webinar, “Make Your Online Connections Count,” panelists Lawrence Solis from LivePerson and Maya Kotecha from Social Herd, spoke on how to create meaningful connections in their respective fields. Lawrence explored the controlled realm of live chat, while Maya, the uncontrolled social media space. Although live chat and social media are different platforms used to engage customers, similar steps can be taken for both to ensure rewarding interactions.
By leveraging insights from technology and VOC information gathered from calls, chats, e-mails, etc., you can get to know your customers, their motivations, and desires. A survey from Cone Communications states the top three things consumers want to get out of an interaction with a brand is to be offered incentives (77%), to have their problems solved/customer service (46%), and to be asked for feedback (39%). The thing consumers wanted least from a brand interaction is to be marketed to (21%). So not only do you want to get to know your customers, but you want to engage with them and develop a long-lasting relationship. A meaningful connection involves more than just making a sale; however, some may have a hard time knowing how to get there.
There are a number of steps that must be taken in order to create a meaningful connection. Before you can even formulate a response, each channel, and the communication tendencies that occur within them, must first be understood. Reporting and intelligence features can be used to analyze Big Data which includes any touch points implemented to communicate with your customers, i.e. live chat, social media, voice, etc. Communication and behavioral patterns will help you gain insight into your customer base and develop each customer profile, allowing for proper group segmentation (shoppers, buyers, brand advocates, etc.) and priority assignment. Once segmented, a response can be crafted according to the sentiment expressed, or a strategy can be executed to engage your current fans or acquire new ones. Conversations that occur in the proper channel, and using dialogue that aligns with that of the consumer, have a better chance of resonating with their target and having an effective outcome.
Using a multichannel 2.0 strategy, or having a presence on various channels and using them to engage with customers, will only amplify your connections. For example, if an interaction with a customer begins on live chat or in a basic social setting, such as Facebook, they can be redirected to other paths your brand has created. If they have asked a generic question about what product will best suit their needs, a link can be given to your website. Once they choose a product, maybe they need clarification with the installation or use process, in which case they can be sent to a YouTube page with instructional videos. If they like the product so much they want to express this love publicly, they can use your Twitter or Pinterest page. Be cognizant of the intention your customers have as you don’t want to redirect them to other channels simply to gain likes or increase your page views. Focus on finding the best channel suited to each interaction. By creating a cycle with multiple touch points, you add value to the interaction, and in a sense, create a bit of control in the uncontrolled social environment. This can help to increase loyalty, create brand advocates, and drive ROI.
Companies that understand their customers well, employ seamless cross-channel integration with voice, chat, and social media, and combine them together in the most beneficial way, will have the best chance at creating a truly meaningful connection.