James Stokes, Senior Account Manager – October 16, 2017
You just got a text from your digital advertiser. There’s a system outage.
The message also apologises, briefly explains why and gives you a clear timeline for when it’ll be fixed – along with a link to more information. And it arrived before you’d noticed anything was wrong.
How does that make you feel?
It’s not ideal, certainly. Nobody likes downtime. But it also proves your service provider is open, honest and on-the-ball. Sometimes, problems happen – that’s a fact of life. As long as it’s not too often, these guys probably seem like a company you can trust.
For better, for worse
As a species, we’re obsessed with celebrating our moments of success. But what about those dull business processes that underpin every client relationship – or those small issues that always rear their ugly head at some point in the journey?
Rather than a pain point, we see them as an opportunity for professional services companies to be proactive: your golden ticket to show just how invested you are in every part of your client’s experience – not just the good bits.
You made promises. Now it’s time to deliver
Chances are, your sales and marketing already promised your client a certain standard of service; a partnership, even. A professional firm with their best interests at heart.
Every client touch point is an opportunity to put that commitment into practice – and that goes double for negative or frustrating ones. These are the times when your client focus is really called to account. But by delivering the right message, at the right time, you can turn the mundane into a positive.
It could be during a critical moment – like the system outage – but it also applies to everyday things like:
- Following up on missing information. If a field on a form is accidentally left empty in a submitted application, does it get put on hold – or is it easy to send a prompt to fill in the blanks?
- Resetting account passwords. Ever forgotten your memorable answer on an account? Then you’ll know how infuriating it can be. You could provide two-factor authentication – improving security and client experience.
- Getting updates on progress. Does your client have to log into an account or call your team to find out about the status of a project or case – or do you keep them informed automatically as you go?
- Requesting personally identifiable information (PII) details. For example, how easily – and how reliably – can your client request or amend their data? New regulations coming into force – like the GDPR in Europe – means you need to make this simple and convenient for clients.
It’s little interactions like these – at every part of a client’s journey – which make the meat of your professional services customer experience.
If you can flip necessary-yet-annoying processes on their head (especially when clients expect it least), it shows them you’re keen to make things as easy and flexible for them as you can.
This is where client relationships are built.
New isn’t always better
In business – and especially in a competitive arena like professional services – there’s always a cultural pressure to engage with customers in as flashy a way as possible. Think mobile apps, email, and messenger – it’s easy to think that new means better, and vice versa.
These channels are great, and serve a purpose, but reinventing the wheel isn’t always the most effective way of giving customers what they want, when they want it.
How often have you looked at your phone and thought “why did I install this app?” And when was the last time you welcomed an automated call from a business supplier – or opened an email as soon as it arrived on your phone?
Sometimes, the simplest approach is best – like SMS.
SMS – that’s a bit retro, right?
Didn’t you get the memo? Retro is so in right now. But joking aside, let’s look at the facts:
- SMS offers an open rate of 98%
- 90% of texts are read within 3 seconds
- 5 billion people can send and receive SMS
- Approximately 18 billion texts are sent daily
SMS is going nowhere.
It’s fast, accessible, and ubiquitous. In fact, it’s estimated that 33% more people have access to an SMS capable device than have access to toilets – bleak, but true. If your emails are going unread and your calls get a frosty reception, look no further than SMS.
What could you improve today?
But here’s the best part: messaging your clients proactively doesn’t cost you money; it saves it. Find the right opportunity, and you can take the pressure off your call centre and service teams, make your organisation more efficient, and improve security and compliance too.
Not sure where to begin? Take a look at your client and employee experience, right now. What sticking points are there in your client’s life cycle – just because things have ‘always been done that way’?
If you could solve – or avoid – an issue by sending the right message, at the right time, you know what to do next.
All this proactive communication helps create what we call an Empathetic Interaction, a timely engagement between brand and client that delivers true value. And if you read our eBook, you’ll see it’s easy to do.