The rise of AI has seen some businesses throw old-school customer service right out the window. This is a huge mistake. Sure, large companies aren’t going to go out of business because they’ve switched to an AI chatbot rather than a human one, but small businesses can never lose that personal touch—it’s one of the reasons why people shop small. Losing that for the sake of efficiency is just going to make your company colder. Your customer relationships are everything, which is why you need to ramp up your PR and customer relationship building with a people-first approach to communications:
Understanding people-first communications
When a customer emails, they want a response back from someone real who can actually do something to help them. When a potential business lead calls, they want to be able to talk to the person in charge. A people-first approach to communications is, essentially, leaving those key areas of relationship-building to real humans, not AI chatbots.
How can you improve your communications?
Of course, you cannot be online at all times. That’s where a mix of approaches comes in handy. You can have an automated response to let customers know when your office hours are, if you’re away on vacation, and so on. A simple automated email that notifies a customer that you received their email and will get back to it ASAP can do wonders to help manage expectations, especially if you then follow up with a real, genuine-written response.
You can also use external and outsourced services. For example, if you are usually out in the field or are very busy for whatever reason, then you may want to consider investing in a call answering service. These services act as a pay-as-you-go receptionist in that a professional will answer your diverted calls, take messages, and relay those messages to you in a format you prefer when you are unavailable to take the calls yourself. This is a great way to stay on top of things when you’re just not near the phone but don’t yet have the budget for a full-time receptionist.
Social media and the people-first approach
Being active, authentic, and fun on your social media is so important. Try to find a unique way to showcase your brand identity in a way that goes beyond voice. Not only will this help you stand out, but it can also help you win over customers who really enjoy seeing and rooting for a brand.
When tackling concepts like social media, remember that it is not a television platform. It is a live engagement platform, which means you will be able to communicate directly with customers asking questions under your posts, sparking debates, and so on. Create a code of conduct for talking with people online, and don’t forget to create content in direct response to your customers so that you can really start building up a rapport and dialogue with your customers that feels natural.