Customers today interact with brands and businesses in ways that were previously never imagined. You can now talk to the owner of a company directly on Twitter or publish your thoughts of a brand to millions of readers that make purchasing decisions based on customer reviews.

As a business, in order to stay ahead of potentially negative experiences, you need to be prepared to serve your customers in a way that meets the demands of the modern day consumer.

It is important to jump out in front of these changing times as quickly as possible, because your customer is already there, and it is likely that so is some of your competition. To help out, here is a short, but powerful list of ways you can evolve your business to handle the requirements of today’s highly connected customers.

Anticipate Instead of React

If you want to build a high performing customer support experience, you have to be able to spot commonalities in your customer experience and learn to anticipate problems, rather than react to them each time a customer contacts you.

A great example of this was written about in a Forbes Article by Carmine Gallo, Communication Coach and author of The Apple Experience; Secrets To Building Insanely Great Customer Loyalty. In the article, Carmine talks about his experience of being won over as a customer at a resort because their staff found, “…small ways to unexpectedly delight their customers and they do so by anticipating unexpressed wishes.”

Rather than dedicating resources that can only react to customer issues in real time, anticipating the expressed and unexpressed needs of your customers and addressing them ahead of time can free up your team to handle customers in a way that is organized, efficient and leaves an impression they will not soon forget.

Empower Your Team To Say “Yes” at the speed of Now

Many companies have processes and restrictions that can sometimes prevent a customer support team member from being able to offer immediate resolution to a customer’s problem.

For example, maybe there is a unique circumstance and an unsatisfied customer wants their money back even though company policy is tight on refunds. Or what if one of your customers would be willing to buy even more if your customer support team member were able to offer a discount or throw in something a little extra to sweeten the deal?

Author and Consultant, John Bernard, wrote the book Business At The Speed of Now. He emphasizes the importance of enabling your customer support team to handle unique customer situations unilaterally. This helps avoid putting your team and your customers behind processes and management that restrict them from being able to provide an efficient, solution based experience.

Take an Omnichannel Approach

Today, your customers live in an online world that is constantly being tailored to their specific interests. In order to serve the customers of today, it is important to embrace an omnichannel approach.

This doesn’t mean you necessarily need to be on every social media platform that exists. However, it does mean that your customers should be able to connect with you on your website, on one or more social media platforms, via email and over the phone. With that many different channels, it can be difficult to provide a consistent experience that stays on brand and provides the highest level of quality and care.

Although keeping the customer service experience seamless is critical, the workload does not have to all land on the same internal resources. An effective way many companies manage this multi-channel approach is by dividing and conquering. The secret to this is to develop a strategy and select the right resource for the job.

Many successful businesses manage their omnichannel approach by hiring out the answering of their phones to a professional customer support call center that operates at all hours of the day, every day. To maintain a consistent message quality, companies create a script of responses as well as resources that highly trained customer representatives can refer to and provide callers with immediate answers resolutions.

For more complex calls, agents can connect callers to an internal resource that is able to provide the specific assistance that caller needs. For callers who reach out after hours, they are able to enjoy a warm connection with a friendly representative who is either able to help them right then and there, escalate the call appropriately, or queue up a detailed message for your team when they get back to the office (rather than hoping that caller leaves you a message on your machine).

Fortunately for businesses not familiar with outsourcing customer support functions to a professional call center partner, MAP Communications can guide you through the easy setup process, has affordable rates designed for small businesses on a budget, won’t lock you into a long-term contract AND they offer a no-risk, 7 day Free Trial of their call center solutions so you can experience the difference of a professional phone answering service before you pay a dime.

Changing how your business fundamentally handles customer support won’t be easy. That is why businesses who have already adopted techniques like these tend to stand so far out from their competition, which is usually evidenced by raging positive reviews and word of mouth marketing.

By taking your own steps to build a strategy to anticipate your customer’s needs, empowering your support team, and being as responsive and accessible to your customers as possible, your business could quickly rank among the few companies able to exceed the demands of the modern day consumer.

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Andrew Tillery
Andrew Tillery is the Marketing Director for MAP Communications, an employee-owned company that provides answering services and call center solutions. Born and raised in Oregon and having lived for several years in Seattle, Andrew has a damp, green place in his heart for the Pacific Northwest. After graduating from Portland State University with a double major in Marketing and Advertising, he spent some time learning Spanish and experiencing all that South America has to offer. It was while he was south of the equator that he uncovered an interest in writing that he strives to develop whenever the opportunity is presented. Follow @MAPComminc on Twitter and @mapcommunications on Facebook.

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