Are You Talking When Your Customers Are Listening? – September 8th, 2014
By: Lee Jacobson, CEO – Apmetrix
While you may be working an 8-5 job or 8-8 job, if you’re a business owner, the landscape of business has been so altered by the Internet that working 12 hours a day is no guarantee you’re active online when your customers are. Your customers can be anywhere and talking about you at any time. Is your business prepared for that?
The heart of any good business is good relationships with customers. The heart of any good relationship is good communication. Good communication is communication that takes place in the moment. If your significant other asks you a question, they don’t generally want an answer in 24-48 hours. They definitely don’t want to wait a week. They want you to engage with them in that moment, to show that you’re listening and thinking about them.
Customers are the same way. Just because you’re sitting at your desk at 3am your time, doesn’t mean that your customers in Malaysia aren’t active online and tweeting at you. Odds are good that, at least some of the time, your customers at home and abroad are keeping strange hours. Even during those odd hours, they bring the same expectations about customer service that your customers bring during normal hours. Just as critical, they are listening to you or for you when they post.
Six hours later, after you knock back that first espresso, they aren’t listening anymore. They’ve moved on to other things. The window of opportunity is closed and, no matter how well-intentioned your reply may be, you aren’t talking to your customers when they’re listening. While this may not be a crisis, it is a lost opportunity to generate positive customer sentiment about your business and brand.
You can’t personally be online all the time, but software can be online and active 24/7/365. Software doesn’t need to take breaks, sleep, and it never gets grumpy – barring a server catastrophe. You can take advantage of always-on software that automates social media messaging based on user behavior and segmentation to help manage the demands of the always on Internet and global customer base.
Message customization and automation, based on segmentation profiles, lets you address the needs of your business and talk to your customers when they are listening. Of course, there will always be a need for human engagement, such as following up to critical comments or addressing atypical questions. Delivering customized, automated responses when the customer is listening keeps the door open for future, specific communication.