6 Simple Methods for Making Every Single Customer Interaction Count

Forster Perelsztejn

November 15, 2021

There are many ways to get information about your business out there. Social media, news outlets, word-of-mouth, public relations campaigns. These are all crucial aspects of maintaining a healthy presence in the market. But how do you measure success?

How do you know if your efforts are working or not?

It's simple: customer interactions.

It doesn't matter who you send out on social media, what PR campaign you launch successfully, or how much good buzz flows around about your company. If no one is interacting with your brand in any way whatsoever, nothing else matters.

Every interaction is an opportunity to make customers love (or hate) your brand.

Who better to know how customers really feel about your product or service than those who talk directly to them?

But it can be difficult keeping track of all these interactions over time. Especially if you have an expansive client base. That's why it's important to always be thinking about how you can improve the way your staff interacts with customers every day.

But first, let's see why these interactions matter so much.

Why customer interactions matter

Customer interactions aren't just some kind of surveying method. They have a real-life impact on how you conduct your business.

These are some of the ways they can impact your day-to-day work.

It could be the moment that turns a customer into an advocate or detractor

"Everything is customer service," says Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos. "It doesn't matter who you are - a waiter, a cashier at Starbucks, or the gate agent at JetBlue."

Every time someone picks up the phone to ring up an order, swipes a purchase through a card reader, returns an item to the stock room after it was mistakenly purchased, hands over purchased goods at the counter, or simply answers a call from a client, they're interacting with customers.

All these interactions will reflect on your brand. And they could determine whether a customer is going to sing your praise or rant about you on social media.

They form relationships

Every interaction with a customer is an opportunity to form a relationship.

It could be as simple as being friendly over the counter at your cash register. Or allowing the customer enough time to ask any questions they might have.

It's about making sure that everyone who speaks to you understands what you're doing and why you're doing it. All while keeping their best interests in mind too.

They allow for feedback

Every interaction with a customer is about gathering information.

You might not know every single thing you need to know until your customers start talking. But the more they interact with you and your brand, the more likely it is that their feedback can help you shape and improve what you're doing.

This is not to say that every piece of feedback needs to be acted on. But if the same thing keeps coming back, then you know you need to act.

It gives customers control of your brand

Customers want to have an impact. They want to feel like they have a say in how you operate. They want their satisfaction (or lack thereof) to be taken into account.

If they don't get that, then no one wins at the end of the day.

If all anyone can do is either complain about something or simply turn around and leave without saying anything, then there's no point in having the interaction in the first place.

It's important to maintain open lines of communication. It ensures  that everyone can be heard. So that it can lead towards building a solution that benefits everyone involved.

This way, you're giving your customers control over your actions and decisions. Which builds customer trust and satisfaction.

These show how valuable customer interactions can be.

It would be foolish not to leverage them for the benefit of your company!

How to take advantage of these interactions

1. Master the art of listening

Listening is one of the most crucial elements of customer interactions.

In fact, some studies have shown that customers want to be heard more than anything else. More than they actually want a solution to their problem!

Make sure you're focused on your customer when you're interacting with them. Doing so will allow you to  better understand and respond appropriately to what they need. And it'll tell you how exactly they feel about your product or service in general.

It's easy to tell when somebody really cares about another person - just look at their eyes! Your voice tone and body language play a big part in whether you come across as understanding and compassionate toward your customer or not.

2. Be empathetic and show compassion

Customer interactions are all about the customer. That's why it's crucial that you always show them empathy, kindness, or encouragement. Remember that your customers are people too, and treat them as such.

Showing compassion for your customers is key in building trust in your business.

It's easy to tell when somebody really cares about another person - just look at their eyes! Your voice tone and body language play a big part in whether you come across as understanding and compassionate toward your customer or not.

3. Remain patient throughout the interaction

Not every customer will be nice to you. Some will even get  aggressive or vulgar during their interactions with your company.

And, of course, it can be hard to see if they're being difficult or if they have an issue that actually deserves attention.

But if things start getting tense during an interaction, remain calm and do everything you can do to help. Do that regardless of how the customer is acting.

If you're unable to do that, or if the customer is being abusive or even threatening, then it's best to end the conversation. and direct your customer towards someone who might be better equipped to handle them.

4. Ask open-ended questions

Closed-ended questions are those that can only be answered with a yes or a no. These tend to shut down conversations in an instant. A good rule of thumb when it comes to asking customers questions is that less is always more!

Stick to open-ended questions and you'll get much more information. And you will eventually understand what they need from you and your company!

Avoid using leading or manipulative language while talking to customers. You want to know what they really think.

5. Know when it's time to end the conversation

Sometimes you won't be able to provide customers with what they're looking for. Even if you do everything in your power to help them!

In these situations, it's important that you don't make promises or guarantees that you can't keep. Because that will lead customers to feel undervalued, cheated, or deceived in some way. All these are bad for business!

Knowing when a conversation is starting to go in circles is key. There's nothing wrong with politely ending conversations if they aren't going anywhere.

Here's an example: "I'm sorry, but that's not something I can help you with. It sounds like this is a serious concern for you, so I'd encourage you to call us back if the problem persists."

6. Write down everything

Even simple interactions can yield important insights over time.

The next time your phone rings, listen carefully to what your customer is saying and be sure to take notes!

Staff meetings are another great opportunity for sharing customer feedback and take action. Remember: no matter how good of an employee you are, every company out there needs more than one pair of ears listening intently at times!

Without taking notes, you'll inevitably forget something. And what might not seem important to you could be crucial to somebody else.

Conclusion

The landscape of business evolves fast. It can be hard to know where to focus your team's energy.

But one thing will always be certain. To excel as a company, you have to be fully invested in every single interaction with a customer!

This means being empathetic, kind, patient, and open-minded toward each one of them. That means actively listening, being empathetic, and asking open questions.

That being said, knowing when a conversation isn't going anywhere is important as well. It will still make sure customers feel heard by your staff even when they can't be helped.

If you need help managing customer interactions, let us know. We can work with you on that!


About the author

Picture of the author: Forster Perelsztejn

Forster Perelsztejn is the head of marketing and customer acquisition at Rooftop. He has spent most of his career working in SaaS and creating content for a variety of authoritative publications. When he’s not working, you can find him playing music, taking photos, and taking care of his pets.

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