Website contact forms, info@ emails, and department extensions (I just got anxiety writing this)— it can be difficult to keep up with the multitude of options for people to get in touch with your organization. If you don’t have dedicated members of your team monitoring those channels, your “customer-focused” opportunities to get in touch can just become poor customer service. And on top of the variety of traditional ways to contact your business, your social media pages are now a common place for potential clients to reach out. With such an expansion of opportunities for communication, it is officially time for your customer service and marketing teams to become BFFs.
If you’re running a small business or nonprofit, these team members may have multiple priorities, or it might be just you. To keep on top of the constant requests, we have a few steps to create a smooth process to keep engaged with customers.
- Make a list! Google, Yelp, Facebook, Instagram, customer service email, phone number, website contact form— determine all the ways customers can get in touch with your organization. If you can, set up notifications for some of the social platforms to go to an email commonly checked.
- Designate your top communication channel. Which channel do you check the most? Are you always on email? Love text messages? Responsive on Facebook? Direct customers on where to go. While you want to be accommodating, you also need to be reasonable with your time expectations. If you have a contact form on the website that goes to a general email you never check, you’re going to frustrate your customers way more than just taking down that form and linking customers right to your Facebook page where they will get a prompt response.
- Delegate responsibility. Determine which team members or how frequently you will check the other channels. How your organization responds to inquiries, and even negative feedback, makes a lasting impression on people. This is your opportunity to shine and show off your organization’s personality through coordination among team members. Work with your marketing team to develop responses to frequent questions and then determine how to find out answers for questions and comments between the general FAQ scope. Then, make it clear which channels each person is responsible for managing and the timeframe a response is expected within.
- Repeat. This might actually be more difficult than it sounds. Responding to customers efficiently takes discipline. Set reminders and tasks to make sure you stick to the plan until it really just becomes a habit. If there is a season where your plan will easily go out the door on the first day, plan for that! Develop a strategy or set automated replies through email, voicemail, and social media that give your customers a clear idea of when there might be a response to their inquiry. If you just keep the expectations clear and up front, people are much less likely to get frustrated.
If tackling this project sounds like too much for you to handle, talk to the Total Solutions marketing department to see how we can help! We can manage some of your contact channels indefinitely or put together a really clear plan on how to stay on top of new notices.
Submitted by Maura Warner, Marketing Coordinator