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How to improve customer relationships while working remotely

3-minute read

Can you improve customer relationships while working remotely? Absolutely. Learn how to build a better customer experience, no matter where you are.

Key take-outs
  • Turn up the dial on customer communication. What are their likes, dislikes and how can you recalibrate their experience?
  • Review your customer journeys. Which aspects can you remove or simplify? Are there any new opportunities to build loyalty and trust?
  • Create great digital experiences that will keep customers engaged and coming back, including personalisation and multi-channel support
  • Make sure your customer service staff feel connected and supported on a daily basis

The COVID-19 crisis has sent shockwaves through the Australian business landscape as staff transition into work-from-home arrangements and customers flock towards online retailers. Here’s how you can ensure your customer relationships strengthen and grow in value during this new era of physical distancing.

1. Build customer relationships by having  ‘real’ conversations

Conducting customer surveys is always useful, but in challenging times like these, they may not be enough. It could pay to be a little more proactive and look for opportunities to engage with your customers, directly. Make yourself available via voice, video call and live chat, or, if you have time, by sparking  conversation or going live on social media.

 

Listen to what they say and embrace both positive and negative, then use it to recalibrate your customer experience. While it’s important to focus on core activities that can help keep the business running, it’s also easy to forget that customers are the lifeblood of the business, so make sure they feel included in your decision-making.

2. Build customer relationships by getting back to basics

With physical distancing restrictions still in place for the months to come, many customers are likely experiencing stressful lifestyle changes, such as reduced social activity and working from home. These changes mean certain elements of your customer experience that may have been relevant just a few weeks or months ago may no longer be applicable. But it also means there may be an opportunity to make their lives a little bit easier and less stressful.

 

Review the experiences you are offering. How can you make their path to purchase easier and more valuable? A good way to assess this is with a customer journey map. It can help highlight communication gaps and roadblocks customers face during each interaction with your business. This can help you to remove friction points and uncover opportunities to help them and win their trust.

3. Build customer relationships by digitising your business

Many businesses have had to hit the fast-forward button on digital transformation, as face-to-face interactions take a back seat. But it’s often not enough to simply redirect customers to a website. To help you remain digitally connected with customers during periods of social distancing, it’s important to entice them with intuitive and practical online experiences. Consider:

 

  • Optimising your website to reduce loading times and maximise customer engagement
  • Adding more payment options and free shipping to keep shoppers interested
  • Enabling 24-hour live chat, using AI chatbots to answer basic questions when service staff are away
  • Making it easier for customers to reach you through their preferred channels – whether mobile apps, social media or online search
  • Using marketing automation tools to offer customers more personalised, friction-free experiences

 

At the end of the day, technology is here to help you achieve your goals, so it’s also important to be sensitive to what each customer is thinking and feeling – especially if you’re offering personalised experiences.

4. Build customer relationships by supporting staff regularly

Keep in mind that your staff face uncertainty and anxiety as well. If not managed appropriately, working from home can create a sense of disconnection from colleagues and the business.

 

Whether they are frontline sales staff or IT staff supporting the business, you should do your best to check in on your employees regularly. Tools like Zoom and Microsoft® Teams which allow you to catch up by video and choose a space where you can have an informal and confidential one-to-one can be a great asset during this time. 

 

Thanks to digitisation, your customer experience doesn’t have to suffer in times of physical distancing. However, a good customer experience is a two-way street and nothing can replace real customer relationships. 


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Things you should know

This article is a general overview and should be used as a guide only. We recommend that you seek independent professional advice about your specific circumstances before acting.