Working with clients on their critical communication needs means we get insight into how different types of companies transmit information and which methods prove most effective for them. Here are some general observations that apply to anyone trying to create a better customer experience.
- Pretend you’re the customer.
Obvious, right? But really consider it from their end. The thing about billing is that we all deal with it, so what are the ways to make the experience less annoying and more fluid? What are some offers or messaging that would have an impact and not just take up space?
A point that comes up again and again is the issue of clarity. We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: poorly designed bills and invoices will help slow down your revenue stream. If they can’t understand the bill, they certainly won’t pay it on time. Once we achieve clarity, we can work on messaging that reinforces your brand and drives new business.
- Don’t be so quick to declare that paper is dead.
The funeral for paper has been scheduled and cancelled dozens of times. It’s true that as many companies have made the promise to be eco-friendlier and offer payment options more in line with the modern world, the need for electronic billing services has become more prominent. But that need isn’t universal. Many people still rely on paper when it comes to bills, whether for security reasons or plain ol’ habit (yes, even millennials). Listening to that need and being flexible is critical.
- Think about the industry.
One thing we pride ourselves on is not being a one-size-fits-all model when it comes to communication services, particularly since we work with clients across a broad spectrum of industries. Thinking about the needs of specific industries, and how their customers interact with them, is central to our work.
We offer technology that improves the customer communication experience. A key component to that improvement, however, is to use technology in a way that empowers your staff and makes their workload more manageable. (Happy employees = happy clients.) An example of a product that offers that mutual benefit is OSG’s CSR eView℠.
CSR eView is a web-based application that allows your customer service representatives to access customers’ invoices or bills quickly in real time to address their concerns and questions. If you’ve ever made a call feeling frustrated or confused by a billing statement, then you realize the value of having an application that would allow your reps to see documents the way customers see them. This makes communication more fluid, of course, but it also reduces the amount of time a CSR spends on the phone altogether.
We also archive PDF images of the invoices or statements for CSR eView users, and maintain a log that records the date, time and activity. This technology will empower your team to:
- Find answers more quickly in high resolution
- Give more accurate answers
- Provide the best customer service possible
Contact us to start improving your team’s workflow today.
Here at OSG, we’ve just completed our annual customer survey. Though we love hearing the praise (shout out to Account Management for scoring more than nine out of 10), the constructive feedback is what keeps the trains moving. Maybe there’s a way to make a process run more smoothly. Maybe a client is interested in a new service of ours. Maybe there’s one simple change that would make the company’s overall experience with us that much better. Because that’s what we’re delivering—an experience, not a product.
Every single year, we read each comment, cull the best suggestions, and incorporate changes into our business where it makes sense. It’s crucial to live up to the kind of partnership we promise. The questions vary in scope and topic (customer service, products, management), but they boil down to this essential query: How are we doing?
We value this input so much, in fact, that we offer customer survey inserts as an option for our clients to send to their customers. It makes sense to use an invoice package as an opportunity to ask the questions that often go unasked amid the day-to-day tasks that keep us all bogged down.
Not everyone is going to speak up without prompting. Open a new line of communication. You might find insight that improves specific relationships and moves you closer to the bigger picture goals of your company.
Do you have a referral program in place for your current customers to refer friends and colleagues to your business? Studies have shown that referrals are extremely important to the success of a business. Take a look at these statistics and then see if maybe you want to set aside some time to create one or revitalize the one you have in place.
- According to The New York Times, 65% of new business comes from referrals.
- Nielsen reports that people are four times more likely to buy when referred by a friend and that 92 percent of people trust a referral from a friend.
- A customer who is referred by another customer has a 16% higher lifetime value, according to a study by the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business.
If you think about it, it makes perfect sense. Satisfied customers make the best advocates for your company. And since they know both your company and their friends/colleagues, they can actually target the right people for the right product/service. So not only can they act as your brand ambassadors, they can do the initial audience segmenting for you too. They’ve had a good experience with your company and products. Now encourage them to tell their friends, family and colleagues about your company and the great service you provide. Not only will they bring in new customers, increasing your revenue stream, you will also make your current customers happy when you reward them for their efforts. That’s important too. They’re helping you out so you should do something for them. It doesn’t have to be cash back but consider a discount or credit to an invoice or statement.
Think you’re too small a company to be able to implement such a plan? The OSG Creative Studio is available to help you every step of the way. Contact them directly or talk to your Account Manager.
Think about implementing a Referral Program. You and your customers will be glad you did.
Do you have a company newsletter? It’s a great way to stay in touch with your customers and build brand loyalty.
Think in this day of Tweets and Posts that newsletters are no longer relevant? In a recent report issued by Quartz Insights, 60 percent of over 1,300 global executives, indicated that they read an email newsletter as one of their daily news sources. They also indicated that they get their news twice as often from email than from video.
The study went on to report that if they read work-related content that they felt was valuable, 88 percent said they would share it via email.
So, what are you waiting for? Not only is a company newsletter a great way to stay in touch with your customers on a regular basis, research shows that the content will be read and, if deemed valuable, shared.
What should the goals of your newsletter be?
- Educate Your Target Audience. As a valuable source of information for your customers, your company newsletter can update them on the latest happenings within your company, answer frequently asked questions, include store hours and contact information or further explain a service plan.
- Establish Recognition. Establishing your brand is powerful. The regular delivery of your newsletter will help your customers develop a strong sense of your brand. Your newsletter is a simple and effective marketing tool that is perfect for spreading information directly to your audience. Use it to announce a new product, promotional discounts or just send season’s greetings.
- Increase Web Traffic. Your newsletter is the perfect vehicle to drive traffic to your website. With the proper use of content and links within your newsletter, customers can quickly and easily access your website which helps further establish your brand. A company newsletter is also a subtle reminder to those customers who may have lost touch with your business.
- Communicate More Effectively. Developing reliable and timely communication with your customers is important for your business to thrive. Although you have plenty of marketing tools at your disposal, only a newsletter gives you the adequate space you need to speak directly to all of your customers. This compelling form of communication will become something your customers will look forward to receiving.
Does your company produce a newsletter? Is it print, electronic or both?
This coming Tuesday is Election Day. Every four years we have the opportunity to exercise the right our Founding Fathers gave us to vote for who we want to lead us. It’s our opportunity to give input and have our say.
But you don’t have to wait four years to ask your customers how they think you’re doing or if there’s anything that needs fixing.
When is the last time you checked in with your customers? Did a customer recently get in touch with you about a particular issue? You can use opportunities like these to open the lines of dialogue and answer any questions they may have, clean up any confusion, address issues, tell them about a new product or service and perhaps “take the temperature” of a quiet customer.
Our OSG Creative Studio has a series of appealing campaigns to help you communicate in a positive and engaging way with your customers on a variety of service-related issues. We have developed survey inserts to see how happy your customers are, as well as communications expressing appreciation for their business and acknowledgements of Customer Service inquiries.
Let your customers know their opinion matters all year long and not just on Election Day.
Did you know that this Saturday, September 24, is National Punctuation Day? According to The National Punctuation Day website, the day is “a celebration of the lowly comma, correctly used quotes, and other proper uses of periods, semicolons, and the ever-mysterious ellipsis.”
Do you have plans for Saturday? For starters, you might want to brush up on some grammar basics. Few things look worse in business correspondence, marketing materials or a website than poor grammar. Not sure if that comma belongs? Run it through Grammar Check or show it to someone else before hitting send. Have a little more time on your hands? Read the classic book, The Elements of Style by William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White. Or review your company style guide or check out some of the other resources on the National Punctuation Day website.
In a world of Tweets and social media posts where it’s rare to see a whole word spelled out, punctuation is even less visible unless it’s to create an emoji :). Saturday is a great time to start to reclaim the English language starting with proper punctuation. You’ll look and sound better. And you’ll be in great shape when National Grammar Day comes around on March 4.