Using Free Conference Calls to Benefit from the Rise of Two-Way Business Communications
On their homepage, leading Customer Relationship Management (CRM) providers Salesforce claim that on average, when their clients use the Cloud to maintain interactive client relationships with their customers, they experience a:
+27% increase in sales revenues +32% increase in lead conversion
+56% faster deployment, +34% increase in customer satisfaction.
Customer satisfaction is what drives success in modern business, and you can use freeconference calls to increase customer satisfaction through direct two-way business communication and gathering customer feedback. Direct communication is everything now, but it wasn't always this way. To better understand why interactive client relationships are so important, let's take a quick look at how the Internet revolutionized customer relationships.
Interactive customer relationships come of age
In the 1950 post-war consumer boom, "customers were to be billed and not heard", and marketing was based on the four Ps: Product, Price, Place and Promotion.
Back in the day, the Product was Coke. The Price was "affordable". The Place was "in every corner store". Promotion meant; "print Coke on every bottle, cooler, truck side and billboard in North America". Note the frisky addition of the words "ice cold", and the rather bossy imperative "DRINK" above the product name. Yes sir!
Marketing was one-way traffic, and the only customer feedback loop was sales. For Coke, their "Customer Relationship Management Technology" was the Coke cooler. Here's how it worked:
Store: "The cooler's gettin' empty, Hank, can you order some more Coke?"
Factory: "Orders are up a little this month, let's make a few extra truckloads."
It all looks so primitive now, as integrated product families launch globally on corporate Facebook pages with videos from breaking indie musicians.
How did we get here from there?
The change began in the 1980's, with the rise of service-based businesses, which rely on strong customer relationships. "Relationship Marketing" began to focus on:
understanding customer segments
delivering ongoing quality service
nurturing brand loyalty through maintaining customer satisfaction
It all started with listening.
Listening led to problem solving, which led businesses and customers into a two-way business communication street. Fledgling 80's marketing technology featured "snail mail" sent by groups of fans writing to television networks to beg for their favorite show not to be cancelled, and companies inviting "focus groups" to give them customer feedback on products.
Relationship marketing finally came of age with the advent of the computer and the Internet, exploding into a limitless, directionless, instantaneous information highway. Interactive client relationships evolved another step with the smart phone, which allows customers to post reviews of restaurants before dessert even arrives.
Businesses need to maintain positive two-way business communication with their clients more and more each passing day.
Free Conference calls pre-date Coke coolers, but they are still one of the best ways to build customer satisfaction. Let's look at modern CRM, and see how teleconferencing still has something over it's modern internet marketing strategies: the truly personal touch.
Successful modern customer relationship management (CRM)
Amazon.com built their success through digital interactive client relationships.
Here's how they work:
You don't just buy something from Amazon; you sign up, become a member, and Log In to "Your Amazon". Welcome home, honey!
You build a customer profile, update your preferences, and set your settings. You are the boss. Amazon is listening to you!
You write product reviews. You are an expert, and your opinion is valued. Customer feedback is automatic.
Meanwhile, your every move is logged and tracked. To facilitate internal knowledge sharing, Amazon has very few internal information silos. Every Amazon employee you deal with knows your entire history; they "know" you. In industry talk, this is called "One Face".
Amazon's CRM software becomes your personal butler, suggesting purchases based on your history, because they "know you", and keeping track of your every whim and desire, with a shopping cart, and a wish list.
Notice how much of this you are doing. Notice also how they try and make it feel as personal as possible, even if you never actually speak to a human being. The whole system is wonderfully automated, because it is cheaper for huge companies to manage their interactive customer relationships with software than with people. But not all of us have millions of customers.
While any business can benefit from using automated CRM software, unless you are as big as Amazon, you should add direct personal communication to build the your interactive client relationships.
Why free conference calls are such good two-way business communication
The absolute best way to get a sense of your customer's needs and feelings regarding your product or service is direct personal communication. But some days, we can't all get to the beach and meet...
The reason free conference calls are so effective:
Free Conference calls are so much easier to set up than physical meetings; we actually get around to having them.
Free Conference calls cut through all the email clutter and get attended.
Once a free conference call starts, people turn off their notifications and distractions and focus on the task at hand.
The clear audio signal of a free conference call gives you the tiny human clues you need to truly listen to your customers. TIP: avoid "Skype echo" and use your own phone, it sounds best.
The interactive nature of free conference calls means you are collaborating with your customers. Customer feedback loop is instantaneous, and can be instantly upgraded to customer solutions.
If you can't get to the beach, pick up the phone!
Customer satisfaction is what drives any business. The key to customer satisfaction is good two-way business communication. Free Conference calls are an excellent tool to build interactive client relationships.
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