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Category: customer experience

How to Communicate Effectively During the Covid-19 Crisis

The Covid-19 pandemic is dramatically impacting businesses worldwide. Companies and governments are mandating that employees work from home, so managers need to implement best practices for remote employees. Thankfully we have the necessary technologies to maintain our daily lives and sustain communication with customers and employees – we need communication more than ever.

 

Here are three ways your business or organization can communicate effectively during the Covid-19 crisis.

 

Text Message Notifications

The text inbox is a special place for most people and in times of social distancing and remote workers, it is more important than ever to help people feel connected to each other and their companies.

Remote employees can feel lonely and disconnected. This is a very new development for millions of employees nationwide and companies need to use every available communication tool to reduce anxiety and build connections. A well-written and heartfelt text message can create a much-needed personal connection with other employees and management. Fortunately, sophisticated texting platforms exist today to enable personal communication at scale with 2-way text conversations as well as mass text message notifications.

When you want to update customers and employees on the status of your business, the quickest way is to send text message notifications. With a 98% open rate, text notifications are much more effective than voice and email to reach your audience.

 

Many businesses are sending text message notifications for:

  • Updates on the impact of Covid-19 on their business
  • Work from home schedules
  • Status of business closure
  • Where to access important information
  • Friendly messages that create a positive feeling of connection to the organization

 

When sending text message updates, be sure you are prepared to respond to questions. By designating a person or a team as the main source of information, organizations can ensure customers and employees are fully aware of the current situation to help reduce anxiety and create a feeling of connection.

 

 

Virtual Phone Systems

Given the rapid expansion of this crisis, many companies have been forced to simply forward business lines to employee personal phones to conduct business calls. This can lead to rising cell phone bills for remote employees at exactly the moment they need to cut costs and can also reduce professionalism for the business.

To maintain remote employee productivity and professionalism, businesses need to implement a virtual phone system where business phone numbers can be accessed through personal smartphones.

A virtual phone system enables remote employees to leverage their business phone number and extension to keep work calls separate from personal calls. Advanced virtual phone systems provide important features such as auto-attendant, call routing, professional greetings, interactive voice response, call forwarding, voicemail to email and many other features to keep businesses running smoothly during this time.

It is critical to separate personal calls from business calls and maintain the professional reputation of businesses as they move to a remote workforce. These systems are very quick to set-up and surprisingly affordable – some at just $12/month. The best platforms are cloud-based, easy-to-use and highly scalable as remote employees continue to increase.

 

Web Conferencing

Businesses have been using web conferencing tools for years, but during this current crisis, web conferencing is soaring as most meetings around the country have become virtual. It’s even more important than ever to stay connected to your team members. Web conferencing keeps the personal touch of an in-person meeting and enables more collaboration through video and screen sharing.

To ensure your web meetings run smoothly, test your web conference software with colleagues to ensure audio and video clarity. After all, a web meeting is useless if others cannot see you or hear you. Have a backup software in place to ensure meeting do not get canceled or postponed due to technical issues. Free services like Google Hangout is a great backup alternative in those cases.

Some employees may miss meetings for various reasons, so make sure to record your web conferences and transcribe the contents of the meeting so you and other members of your team can access it and review later.

Bonus Tip: Recently, many conference companies have become overloaded, especially at meetings or calls that start at the top of the hour or half-hour. Schedule your call to start at an odd time – like 1:07 pm to mitigate this issue and improve the odds that your event will not experience technical issues due to the enormous increase in the volume of virtual meetings.

 

Summary

Maintaining solid lines of communication can help all of us get through this tough time. The tools and strategies highlighted in this article will help you manage an efficient remote workforce, create a sense of connection/community with your employees and customers, and keep your business operating as smoothly as possible during this Covid-19 crisis. Stay courageous and careful out there. We all have to do our part to get through this together.

 

Helpful resources for communication during Covid-19

Text message notification solution: Get a free trial of TrueDialog.
Cloud phone system for your remote employees: Get a free trial of VoiceShot.
Free web conferencing tool: Check out Google Hangout.

covid-19, remote employee communication

How Text Messaging Improves the Customer Service Experience

The rise of the internet and mobile technology have compelled businesses to focus more on their customer experience. Consumers today have more control in their purchasing decisions and the companies that provide the best experiences will succeed in the long run.

Online review websites like Yelp! and Google Reviews are providing the transparency that is necessary for consumers to be more confident with their purchases. Online reviews not only give potential customers insight into the product or service a business is offering, but they also provide a glimpse into their customer service experience.

Consumers hold the power to switch brands faster than ever due to the accessibility of information through their smartphones. A study shows that 49% of American consumers switched companies due to poor customer service. It is becoming more important for brands to concentrate on providing convenient and responsive customer service to gain the trust and loyalty of their customers.

Customer service has always been about solving problems as quickly as possible. Advancements in communication technology have enabled businesses to better support their customers using multiple engagement channels including phone calls, emails, website live chat, social media, and text messaging.

Although it’s not a new technology, text messaging is considered the fastest and most convenient form of communication. According to a Nielson study, 56% of people surveyed would rather message a business than call customer service. This shows that businesses need to meet expectations if they want to stay competitive.

 

Below are ways text messaging can improve customer service for businesses and their customers.

 

Texting enhances agent productivity and efficiency

When a customer contacts a business for support, they want fast communication and quick resolution of their issue.

Texting enables customer service agents to quickly answer multiple inquiries by using templated or automated responses for common questions like “what are your business hours?” or “what is your refund policy?”

Sophisticated texting platforms enable Contact Center teams to improve their productivity by enabling message routing and team collaboration to resolve problems faster. This eliminates the frustration of passing customers off from one agent to another.

Phone and email support are a necessary part of a holistic customer service operation, but these methods can create long wait times. A study has shown that the average response time for a customer service email response is 12 hours! Leading companies are integrating text messaging into their customer service communication tools and allowing the customer to choose their “channel of choice.” When customer service teams utilize texting, it dramatically speeds up response times while enabling agents to focus on more complicated problems.

You may not know it, but people may have already tried to text your business when visiting your website. To make communication more seamless, leading businesses are text enabling their landline phone number(s) to send/receive text messages. Many customers simply do not have the time or desire to call – they want a quick and easy text.

 

Texting builds customer loyalty

To keep customers loyal, businesses need to take a more proactive approach to customer service. This means not waiting until a customer has a problem and contacts you, but getting ahead of the potential problem and avoiding it altogether. Text message notifications and text surveys help businesses with proactive customer engagement.

Text message notifications can instantly tell customers about important and time-sensitive information that often goes unnoticed in a crowded email inbox or voicemail.

When businesses integrate a texting solution with their CRM, it enables them to send personalized notifications to a group of customers based on specific criteria. If a business wants to reduce late payments, they can schedule an automated text message notification for payment reminders. These notifications reduce the need to cancel or suspend a customer’s service simply because they were busy and forgot to pay their bill.

When the power of customer data is combined with the ease of texting, businesses can communicate with customers on a personal level by doing things like sending appointment reminders to reduce no-shows or sending follow-ups messages to ensure customers had a positive experience. Being proactive can help businesses build a stronger and more loyal relationship with their customers.

 

Texting improves customer satisfaction

On average, a one-star increase on Yelp! leads to a 5 to 9 percent increase in a business’s revenue. At the same time, a single negative review can cost a business about 30 customers.

Businesses need to rethink how they collect customer feedback and measure satisfaction to make it more immediate and convenient for customers. Doing so will have two major benefits. First, it enables businesses to get real-time and more accurate feedback. Second, it gives businesses a chance to fix a problem before it gets posted on a review website.

However, getting honest and timely feedback from customers is a challenge. Traditional customer survey methods of comment cards require too much effort and email surveys can get lost in the inbox. Text surveys have significantly higher response rates because they are much more immedicate and convenient for both businesses and their customers.

Sending a short text message survey enables businesses to receive feedback from customers in the moment, right after a purchase or service experience. This will help businesses get a better understanding of customers experience in real-time.

If a customer responds negatively to the survey, customer service agents can try to resolve the problem right away by responding to the text, instead of calling or sending an email later, as it might be too late to recover. The ability to respond and resolve issues quickly shows customers that you care about them and can potentially turn a negative online review into a positive one.

 

Summary

Customers want immediate satisfaction, which is why businesses need to adapt to the preferences of today’s mobile-centric consumers and resolve issues through the fastest and simplest way possible. Texting enables customer service teams to provide a better experience to build trust and lifetime loyalty.

 

Learn how we can help improve your customer service experience with texting by SIGNING UP FOR A DEMO or GET A FREE TRIAL.

customer experience, customer service, text messaging

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