As a business owner or employee, you’re bound to encounter a plethora of difficult customers of all shapes and sizes. Some are impossible to please, others like to waste time, and some are just plain rude. This article will focus on one particular type of customer — the one who doesn’t want to talk to you.
Even though they have a need your business can meet, some customers would rather avoid you altogether than call a service agent for assistance. Clearly, that’s not in your best interest or theirs. So regardless of their reasoning, strive to give these customers the help they need in the way they want to receive it. The hands-off support you provide will reflect just as well on your brand as if you had talked with them directly.
Use the following tips to effectively reach your most antisocial, introverted, or otherwise hesitant customer:
Before criticizing customers who are difficult to work with, look to empathize. Empathy is a powerful tool in business just as it is in personal relationships. If you begin each interaction by trying to understand how the other party feels, your efforts will be much more productive.
In this situation, ask yourself the following questions. Why doesn’t this customer want to talk to me, and how do I overcome that obstacle? Perhaps this customer has had poor experiences with customer service representatives in the past and is hesitant to go down that route again. Some of your customers may suffer from social anxiety. They’ll do everything in their power to complete tasks and fulfill needs with as little human interaction as possible.
When COVID-19 struck, and businesses faced major struggles trying to make ends meet, 54% of those surveyed admitted to strained customer relationships. Granted, the pandemic was a difficult time for even the most weathered businessperson. Many organizations focused solely on keeping their business afloat and may have lacked empathy when dealing with equally anxious customers. In the long run, though, businesses that responded with empathy fostered customer loyalty and met needs more effectively. They set the stage for regained stability as the pandemic started to fade.
Help Them Help Themselves
For the customer who regards a call to customer service as a last resort, do what you can to help them help themselves. Through automation and artificial intelligence, your website can provide all the guidance and tailored advice to help customers with their every browsing need.
With an intelligent virtual agent, you can give your customers the support they require without speaking a word to them. This AI-powered solution learns fast and can be programmed to answer simple questions and perform online tasks for customers around the clock. There’s no queue and no waiting, and problems can be resolved quickly.
Virtual agents are commonly confused with chatbots. While both are quite useful, there’s a distinct difference. Intelligent agents are built to emulate human interaction, while chatbots rely on whatever programmed responses they have in their system. Apple’s Siri is an example of a virtual assistant that uses voice cues to perform tasks in a way a simple chatbot can’t.
Strive for Continuous Improvement
When you can’t reach your customers with words, reach them with actions. Constantly improving your operations will solve many of the problems your customers have without ever having to voice them. Spread the word about these improvements; customers will appreciate your proactive response.
If you’re having a hard time deciding where to start, consult the customer feedback you’ve received. Look for improvement suggestions that come up in a majority of reviews. For example, you might have gotten complaints about the time it takes to respond to messages or ship products. If reviews point to these as recurring problems, they should be the first things you work to fix. Once you’ve done so, tell your audience.
Provide the Resources They Need
After dealing with enough customers, you’ll be able to come up with a solid list of frequently asked questions. Customers who would rather not talk to you often have those same questions and will take the long way toward getting the answers they seek. Help them out by providing additional information resources to address their every need.
A company blog is an effective way to reach out to customers while creating content that also helps with sales and marketing. Write articles that answer FAQs or offer useful tips about your products or industry. When your phone-shy customers are looking for answers, a quick search of your blog will provide them the information. Your blog posts will also show up for inquisitive search engine users, assisting even more people and drawing in new customers.
Company newsletters can also be of great value to customers who sign up for them. If this is the route you choose, be sure to prioritize personalization. Blatantly templated newsletters with weak copy are likely to be diverted to the spam folder. Personalized newsletter emails with easy access to company resources will help your silent customers get the help they need without direct communication.
Build a Community
While customers may not feel comfortable talking to an agent, they might find the help they need via a community built around your brand. Sometimes it’s just easier to talk to someone who speaks to you as a peer instead of as an official brand representative.
Companies looking to build a community should be using social media as a platform. A Facebook group can connect customers and users from all over the world with single shared interest. For example, home exercise equipment company Peloton has a thriving Facebook ecosystem. Customers connect with each other to coordinate workouts and ask for advice on using the company’s products to stay in shape at home.
Your quietest and least accessible customers may be your most valuable. Making an effort to help them even when it’s difficult will pay off with added loyalty, increased referrals, and positive reviews. Don’t hesitate to put in the extra work to help out each and every customer in need.
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