Slow or stagnant growth, little to no revenue, customers canceling, employees not following or understanding what they need to or should do.
These are all systemic failures of a company to manage itself and facilitate itself as it grows and matures.
Often a company starts fresh, has a young perspective, captures the hearts and minds of its followers and then begins to go into a rapid growth phase.
What happens as it grows either makes or breaks the company and it’s potential to maintain that growth long term. More often than not the founders and original staff are not equipped to handle the growth and are not in the mindset for it.
At this point, it takes a strong leadership team to spot weaknesses and adjust and address those weaknesses. Everyone needs to be on board and pulling their weight or everything will crumble and animosity will build.
If these weaknesses or potential weaknesses are not addressed the people who suffer the most are the customers and as a result the employees who handle the customers on the front line and experience the anger and frustration first hand.
These weaknesses tend to be growth focused and communication facilitated and in addition to that finance related and managing those finances.
To fix communication issues we need to know how to communicate with customers in the way that helps them receive answers and feedback as quickly as possible.
There are a few ways to handle this and a few ways I’ve utilized to get teams combined into one segment to respond and get customer taken care of in a timely fashion.
The key here is to get your team communicating with each other about issues that relate to different teams or departments, be able to write notes about interaction so another representative knows what’s going on should the customer contact them again.
In today’s market, you’re going to have a few key places where customers can contact and engage with you privately or publicly.
- Messaging (Facebook messenger, Instagram direct, twitter DM etc)
- Phone call
- Social media
- Live chat (this might be introduced with a messaging app)
If you’re in a growing team and need an effective way to engage and communicate with customers in real time and you want to email and messenger applications to funnel into the same channels there are tools available for that like Intercom.
The reason intercom is so popular is because it facilitates the entire private communication channel and engagement experience for your customers and employees.
For example, in the MadLab Group, I’ve built it to funnel all communication-based apps to include email, Facebook messenger, twitter dm and intercom itself to the main intercom channel and application.
Once a message is received from any of these channels it goes into intercom for:
- An open engagement and communication channel for general inquiries
- Tech support for current clients
- Billing questions
- Specific questions relating to specific products purchased by the customer
Team members in intercom receive the message, Can tag and communicate with each other about it and assign it to the required department seamlessly and easily.
But the magic in this is teaching your team specifically how to engage and communicate with customers in a way that is going to make them happy. Because if you don’t communicate in the right way this system can do more harm than good in the long run.
The first key to engaging with customers is to provide an immediate response, validate their concern and let them know you’re thankful for them to have engaged with you about it.
The second key is to provide a timeline for the fix or the necessary response. 1 hour? 2 hours? Etc. They need to feel as though they understand the process and the time it is going to take to find a solution.
The third key is to engage with the correct staff member if it’s not you to accomplish the task. Then introduce the customer to the staff member (if necessary) who is going to be working on the solution.
You need to introduce anyone new to the conversation so the customer feels as though you have their experience in mind. No one likes to be transferred to 27 different people and not knowing what’s going on.
The fourth key is to let the customer know that the solution has been established and again let them know how thankful you are for their patience.
The fifth and last key is to ask for feedback. Maybe it’s a happy :) or sad :) experience indicator. The more feedback you receive the more you can tweak your customer experience to be even better and better.
You should always be chasing excellence and working to make your processes from last year completely obsolete.
The final key here is to write down every step of this and how it works. Would someone brand new be able to read what you wrote and pick it up quickly?
If you write it down in a way that describes the entire process you are in a position to being able to map out your systems, replace yourself or team members and have a solid employee training manual.
Communication, understanding the consumer mindset and building processes for you Team are the keys to maintaining excellence as your company grows and mature.
Don’t be stuck unable to handle the influx when you experience massive growth. Be in a position to where it’s always in a position to where you’re ready to take it on.