Often, when you start out in business, you’re able to offer a personal level of service to every customer. But as your business grows, you can become slightly distanced from your customers.
Increased demand may mean you simply don’t have the same amount of time to spend chatting to customers as you had when you were starting out.
You may adapt your operation to reflect these changes, but one thing that never changes is customer expectation.
Essentially, customers don’t generally ask for too much. They want to be able to get in touch easily, get answers to questions and get a good deal on your product or service. So, as you start to field more calls, a call answering service can provide exactly what your customers want without you having to constantly interrupt your working day or hire new staff to deal with increased demand.
Customers are the lifeblood of every business, so looking after them is crucial to success. Now, that’s probably not news to you and there’s every chance that customer satisfaction is right near the top of your list of priorities anyway. But if you’re not familiar with the customer engagement lifecycle, you could be missing a trick.
What is the Customer Engagement Lifecycle?
The customer engagement lifecycle is a marketing framework that allows you to monitor how successful your engagement with customers is from first contact and throughout their journey.
Once you start to map a users’ journey, one thing that often becomes apparent is just how many of them leave without making a purchase. And one of the main reasons for this is that there is a lack of information available or they are unable to find answers to questions.
Despite digitization, there are still many circumstances in which customers prefer to make a phone call:
- 62% of customers said telephone is their preferred method of contact with companies
- 77% of consumers still believe a phone call is the quickest way to get an answer to their question
- 85% of potential customers whose call goes unanswered say they will not call back
So, it’s clear that consumers still want phone contact with brands and if it’s not readily available they will look elsewhere.
The full customer engagement lifecycle contains multiple touchpoints, but here we’ll touch on the four most common aspects of it.
This is the initial contact between the two parties. One will reach out to the other and both parties try to get to know a little about each other.
Customers want to know what the company can offer them, and the company will want to understand the potential customers’ needs, issues and pain points.
If the reach stage is successful, stage two is then acquisition. This is where the business starts to nurture the relationship with a view to converting the lead into a customer.
From a customer perspective, this is the stage at which they are evaluating the services or products on offer and comparing them against the alternatives.
Customer service is crucial at this stage as 66% of customers say they will find another provider if they are not happy with the level of service received.
This is where leads are turned into paying customers. But the cycle doesn’t end here. Acquiring customers is labour intensive and costly. So, at this point, you must pull out all the stops to ensure your customer enjoys their experience and is, therefore, more likely to stick with you.
Keeping customers is the real challenge for all businesses. Studies show that focusing on customer retention rather than just the initial sale can increase profits by up to 125%.
Upselling and cross-selling services to already engaged customers is far easier and more profitable than constantly chasing new business.
So, how can a phone answering service contribute to the customer experience lifecycle?
A professional phone answering service identifies your company as credible from the first point of contact. 25% of customers say they give up if a call takes too long to answer. And as we’ve already seen, 85% of those won’t even attempt to call back.
That means that for every 10 people who call your number and don’t get an answer the first time, you will never get the chance to speak to at least 2 of them.
Others will find alternative providers, and those that do come back do so with a heavy heart, making the sales process more difficult.
Contrast that situation with somebody calling up, receiving a professional response and having their questions answered, and you quickly see the benefit of call answering services in customer engagement.
It’s important here to remember that we’re talking about customers calling you. These are people already interested in what you offer. Failing to speak to them is bordering on criminal.
Faster responses capture more leads
A 24/7 live call handling service can support your sales team and keep your business turning at all times. In an increasingly 24/7 economy, a crucial aspect of customer engagement is being available when your customers want to talk to you.
Of course, no individual can be on-call around the clock, but your business can. So, with a 7-day-a-week call answering service, you’ll never miss a call.
With Virtually There, you get more than just someone to field the call. You get a professional who will triage the call, take all the relevant information and pass it on to the right department. You and your staff may be sleeping, but your business continues to work like clockwork, around the clock.
From a customer point of view, their call has been handled professionally which gives them a good first impression of your business. And that’s before a member of your team has even spoken to them!
The net result will be more quality leads landing with your sales team and, thus, more conversions.
One common strategy for customer retention is promotional campaigns. Via a variety of media, you will try to encourage existing and former customers to get in contact.
If that goes well, you should expect an increase in calls, and that means you need the capacity to respond to those calls in a professional manner.
These are some of the hottest leads you will ever have and you cannot afford for them to be diverted to voicemail or go unanswered.
The customer engagement lifecycle relies on human interaction and quick response times. Sure, we all love an app and a bit of online shopping, but there are also times when we just want to talk to somebody.
Those organisations who still offer that direct communication (and do it well) stand out as the best in customer service and are more likely to acquire and retain large volumes of customers.
Find out how call answering services could boost your customer engagement. Call today.