It’s 2016, and Millennials have finally outstripped other generations as the leading consumer demographic.
Generation X and Baby Boomers have been the largest for the last few decades, but now it’s time to embrace the new generation of buyers.
Millennials and Gen Z consumers aren’t interested in sales pitches or all the reasons they should buy a product or service. Instead, they support brands with phenomenal customer service, relevant content, and a knack for anticipating consumer needs.
Brands that fail on the customer service front will inevitably fall to the wayside in the next few years.
The Evolution of Consumer Needs
In the past, the best practice for businesses when it came to customer service was to be proactive. While this sounds like a good thing and perhaps it was for the last few decades proactive could easily be too aggressive for consumers. When you have a problem with a company, would you prefer to go through a lengthy customer service process, or fix the problem on your own with a few easy steps? Today’s generation of buyers consistently chooses the latter.
According to Forrester Research, self-service increases customer satisfaction and reduces business costs. Research from Forrester discovered 76 percent of consumers use web self-service to answer product questions rather than speak to someone in person. Providing easy-to-access online information to field common complaints or questions appears to be the customer service method of choice for today’s shoppers.
What Does Customer Service Have to Do With Content?
It’s clear that businesses need to adjust the way they handle customer service to keep up with changing trends, but how does this relate to content? Customer service and content are intricately related. A study by Moz shows that online reviews influence 67.7 percent of consumers when deciding whether or not to make a purchase. The experience of your past customers can greatly affect the number of new and repeat customers that support your brand.
Thanks to popular review sites like Yelp, consumers are encouraged to post about their experiences with a company and its product or service. Potential customers read these reviews and base decisions on which brands to explore based on previous customer experiences. This may not always seem fair, as every brand invariably has a handful of unhappy customers for one reason or another but it’s how today’s sales funnel works.
Even if consumers don’t post their negative experience online, they will tell their closest friends and relatives. Poor customer service can quickly lead to the demise of your entire company through word-of-mouth and negative brand awareness. You need a strategy that can improve your customer service efforts and anticipate future consumer needs. This is where content comes into play.
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Optimizing Content for Customer Service
Providing content that’s carefully tailored to meet evolving consumer needs can reduce the number of unhappy customers and, by extension, reduce the number of lost sales. Leading brands today realize that consumers place the most emphasis on their experience with a brand. The user experience has become an integral part of the modern business strategy. Engaging in the best contemporary customer service practices is the only way to top the competition.
- Optimizing content to aid in your customer service efforts is easy. Once you realize that the foundation of your efforts should be self-service, you can see which forms of content will best facilitate this goal. Here are a few ideas lead brands are using:
- How-to articles. Content that shows a customer how to do something on his or her own is all the rage in today’s marketplace. How-to articles have increased in popularity as consumers desire more and more to solve problems on their own without having to contact a company. Incorporating how-to articles can save money on customer service and increase satisfaction simultaneously.
- Troubleshooting videos. Videos are an excellent way to communicate more complex tasks, such as troubleshooting a piece of technology or an app. Putting together a simple troubleshooting video doesn’t have to take a large time or money investment and can significantly improve the customer experience.
- Directions packaged within products. If your company sells a product, consider including an in-depth instruction package that answers common questions. Include a link or QR code that takes consumers to your FAQ web page to combine this with online efforts.
- Creative idea blogs. Use a blog to promote your product or service and give consumers valuable ideas. For example, if you sell a fabric dye kit, recommend other ways people can use the kit.
- Social media. Use social media platforms as a channel of open communication with consumers. Make your brand readily available to answer questions via social media outlets, and post open forums.
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All of these methods can promote self-service, consumer independence, and superb service. Your content is your principle form of communication with patrons. Make it count by marrying it with your customer service strategy for optimum results.