The marketplace is placing new demands on how corporations interact with their clientele. At the core of many consumer’s concerns is the ability to resolve an issue without any unneeded hassle.
The solution begins with anticipating the needs of your audience. Does your staff have the skills to identify the nature of an issue, the tools to correct the problem, and the latitude to engage a working solution?
As a consumer, how many times have you spoken to someone in a customer service department who clearly does not understand what you are describing, cannot access the information that is needed, nor do they possess the authority to resolve your issue?
Empower your staff
By anticipating the needs of your customers, providing proper staff training, and empowering your employees to resolve an issue, you position the company to respond intelligently to an inquiry of any caliber. The process starts with you.
Communications is a proactive and interactive relationship. The key is listening and responding intelligently to what your customer has to say. After you hear what they tell you, provide some type of proactive response that advances the situation toward a proper resolution.
Two critical needs for successful communications are:
- An established path of open communications – Is that path flexible to meet the changing needs of the consumer and your corporation?
- Trained “brand ambassadors” who understand your brand and your corporation. They must understand the needs of your clients. Do you have people who can effectively communicate with your customers? Do they merely read text off of a computer screen or do they actively process the requests when the public contact them?
The way we interact and the manner in which we prepare for that interaction are mission critical to the success of your brand. If a customer’s requests get lost in a web of inefficiency, the potential PR damage is probably more significant than the event that generated the initial query. No one likes to have their concerns dismissed, lost, or just ignored.
Be sure that your customer service team has a flexible, interactive pathway established before you “open the front door.” If your staff doesn’t have an answer, at least have the ability to ‘vamp.’ Be able to acknowledge, record intelligently, and pass along the genuine concerns of your clients to someone who can correct the situation.
Your corporate brand is not an image on a bumper sticker. It is the lifeline to your customer. Be sure that you understand the process of communication.
Simplify the corporate image
The internal workings of almost any corporation are complex. Structure, hierarchies, and procedures are mission critical to keeping an organization well oiled and operational. However, when a customer calls in, they don’t care about your corporate needs – they want a simple answer to their problem.
This challenge faces every corporate communications office. How do you merge these two necessities? The problems that most corporations face are being able to listen successfully and answer intelligently.
Calvin Sun wrote a great piece on corporate communications for TechRepublic. Being able to communicate successfully involves active participation. Be ready to listen. Be prepared to change for the needs of your customer, your industry, and your brand.
If you want to develop a working strategy for your customer’s needs, contact our project managers to help you get your brand to those who matter most.