The Sunday Mail
Cresencia Marjorie Chiremba
“If you make a sale, you can make a living. If you make an investment of time and good service in a customer, you can make a fortune” – Jim Rohn
Almost every day, we communicate and engage with different organisations for various reasons.
These engagements occur at all levels of the customer journey; that is, from pre-purchase to post-purchase stages.
Nonetheless, before we engage an organisation, we have certain expectations that may be based on our own experience or knowledge.
For some organisations, our expectations are high, and in the event that they fail to meet those expectations, most of us are quick to switch to competitors for better service.
This may sound a little bit harsh, but it is the truth.
As customers, we want to do business with companies that listen to our concerns, give us assistance when we need it, and, most importantly, we are charmed by organisations that go the extra mile when serving us.
These customer interactions form part of the customer experience with the organisation.
This is because customer experience is an ongoing process that does not end when one closes a sale.
In fact, successful companies are always on the go, trying to improve on their customer experience through innovative interactions that can make customers enjoy interacting with their brands.
Customers are likely to engage with a company through customer service, marketing and sales.
However, at each of these levels their needs, goals and expectations from the brands are different.
It is therefore up to the company to take these interactions at each level as opportunities for their brands to acquire, convert and delight its customers.
I recently contacted Charhons on their Facebook page about their Casino Chocolates.
I used to love these chocolates back in the day when I was still of school-going age, and we used to get them as Valentine’s Day presents.
So, I reached out to them to enquire about where I could find this product since I have not seen it on the shelves for quite a while now.
I was impressed by the time they took to respond to my enquiry.
It was prompt and the response was not automated.
There was a real human at the other side.
This interaction got me excited because most companies in Zimbabwe are not very responsive when you contact them via social media, and if they do respond, in most cases, they use automated responses that may not be very helpful when a customer has specific questions.
In some instances, when they respond, they make false assurances, like promising to get back to the customer, which they never do.
These are some of the instances that customers interact with organisations:
Customer service interactions
Customers contact customer service to get help with a product or service. The enquiries include questions about the service or product or marketing promotion being run by a particular brand. Positive or negative reviews also make up for customer service interactions. A positive customer experience means the customer will write or say something good about the brand when they are asked to review it, and the opposite will apply when it’s a negative experience.
Marketing interactions are those engagements where customers engage an organisation during its marketing activities. For example, the interactions that take place between an organisation and its customers when it hosts corporate events. Sometimes, it is when a customer responds to a social media advert being flighted by the organisation. Comments on that advert by customers are a way of customer interactions in marketing. Also, even just a signage on your store that has details of certain specific products or services is considered as part of interacting. A customer can also interact with the organisation by signing up for a newsletter, where they tend to receive updates and promotions run by the company.
Customer interaction in sales is when customers contact your sales department for various reasons. For instance, when a customer calls the company and requests to speak to a sales representative, or if they visit the company’s website and engage in a live chat with a sales representative, this constitutes a customer interaction in sales. The sales interaction can also be when the sales representative gets in touch with a customer. There are times when these representatives make sales follow up calls to see if the customer is happy with the product or if they are facing any challenges with it.
Whatever stage the company interacts with its customer it is important that they keep a record so that they can review the data in order to improve their service delivery and give their customers the satisfaction that they deserve.
Also, every interaction must make the customer want to engage the organisation for further deals.
*Cresencia Marjorie Chiremba is a marketing enthusiast with a strong passion for customer service. For comments, suggestions and training, she can be reached on [email protected] or on 0712 979 461 / 0719 978 335