Responsiveness is critical to customer experience. If you get an email or see a post to your company Facebook page with a request or comment from a customer (or potential customer…), letting it go for awhile (or altogether…) is a recipe for TROUBLE! The speed by which you respond not only convinces that person that you’re listening, but that you actually care what they are bringing to you. However, there’s a lot more to this than speed…
How you respond and your tone prove how you treat this as an opportunity. You can not only build a better relationship with this person, but provide an online record of how professional and customer-centric your company is. I’ve written a lot about your VACC (Visitors/Audience/Customers/Community) and how your conversation with each differs and builds toward the kind of relationship that benefits all parties. Defined as “fair exchange“, this is a great relationship, as both parties derive immense value from the framework, and all work done on it only serves to strengthen it. The stronger the foundation, the easier it can be to get past the niceties of the regular communications and unveil greater authenticity and transparency. This is particularly true of bad news you need to deliver.
Sometimes you can’t get the answer the other wants or needs right away. I wrote about this awhile back, but part of this communications framework is built upon recognition of each other as a real person. The bedrock of trust allows for much more latitude in the conversations you can have, even not being able to do what the other asks. Likewise, the customer can be more frank about what is going on with you (and her or him…) than they might be otherwise. It might be a frank discussion about a less than excellent experience they had with one of your employees, or even some competitive information they’ve run across that might affect you. These kinds of exchanges, built on the trust you’ve both contributed to, can be of terrific value to the business and the ongoing relationship with this customer.
Follow-through is huge. If you say you’ll do something by a certain date, do it.
This sounds simple, but it is a real challenge for many businesses. It is much too easy to make a promise and forget or let it slide. You need to enshrine this Dr. Seuss’ quote from Horton Hears a Who! into your customer experience: “I meant what I said, and I said what I meant, and an elephant is faithful 100%!”