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Celebrate National Get to Know Your Customers Day with CRM Small-Business Tools

How well does your small business really know its regular customers? What about newcomers? Do they receive the same level of attention? It's easy to let this kind of community camaraderie slide, but with National Get to Know Your Customers Day just around the corner (July 20th) it's worth considering new ways — including CRM small-business integration, chatbots, and data collection — to reach out, strike up conversations, and learn more about the consumers who keep your business competitive.

A retailer chatting with a customer, aided by CRM small-business tools.
Use CRM small-business tools to get to know your customers.

Chatbots

New technology initiatives such as chatbots are looking to revolutionize the way consumers interact with companies — without negatively affecting the customer experience. At their most basic, chatbots are designed to simulate the responses of human agents as they relate to website problems, order issues, or product questions. Companies such as Facebook already use basic chatbot solutions to send out Messenger alerts that allow users to request more information or ask specific questions.

While chatbots aren't yet up to the task of entirely replacing human operators, data from Aspect shows two-thirds of customers "feel good" if they don't have to speak with customer service agents directly to resolve problems or answer questions. It's a counterintuitive outcome: Sometimes, knowing your customers means giving them the freedom to not reach out and talk.

Data Collection

Do you want to learn more about your customers? Delve into data. Consider the challenge for small grocery stores now faced with the Amazon purchase of Whole Foods — smaller stores must leverage data about consumer buying habits, preferences, and common shopping times to offer products and discounts that increase their overall satisfaction with brick-and-mortar shopping. However, the concept applies to small businesses in any industry. Collection and analytics tools paired with transparency about the storage and use of customer data can help tailor communications and increase the chance customers like what they hear.

Communication APIs

Of course, knowing more about your customers won't amount to much if you can't effectively reach them in the first place. By leveraging communication application programming interfaces (APIs), SMBs can more easily make contact and get noticed by key customer segments. Consider the use of text messages. The right text API can connect your business with all text-capable phone numbers and ensure your communications always originate from local sources.

Add in compliance features to ensure you're respecting local laws, and you've got the making of a great communications platform. Another communications API option is chat. Using a single API, it's now possible to interact with users across their favorite messaging platforms including Facebook Messenger, WeChat, and Viber. If you want to know more about customers, you need to talk to them on their own terms.

Live Chat

Small businesses can go more in-depth than chatbots with live chat. As noted by Engineer Live, 73 percent of customers who used a live chat system report being satisfied after using live chat, and 63 percent of those asked said they were more likely to return to company websites if live chat were offered. Better still, online chat services can save businesses up to 50 percent compared with typical phone support.

So, what's the appeal here? Why do customers prefer live chatting to more traditional support methods? Ultimately, a combination of factors drive live chat success. Customers get the benefit of near-instant responses to messaging but skip the inherent awkwardness of telephone conversations with someone they've never met.

CRM Small-Business Integration

Despite the evolution of new communications technology, phone-based customer service still claims the top spot. However, there are ways to make your call-in communication even better with cloud-based CRM small-business integration. For example, CRM integration - such as Salesforce - provides automatic call logging, call tagging and note-taking, inbound/outbound screen pops, and click-to-dial functionality, allowing service staff to focus on providing the best customer experience possible rather than worrying about the technical details of setting up calls, recording conversations, or calling up consumer histories.

Do you want to get involved and do more on National Get to Know Your Customers Day? First, promote the event on social media using #GetToKnowYourCustomersDay. Then, consider doing something for your customers — a special daily discount, personalized thank-you notes, or giveaways for the first few hundred customers that come through your doors or make purchases online.

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