Tuesday, 15 December 2015 20:17

Improve Your Customer Engagement Efforts in 2016

At Baillie Lumber, we place great emphasis on the value of active customer engagement. Our customers—like customers everywhere—have many options and suppliers to choose from, so in order to remain uppermost in their mind, we work hard at building relationships and constantly fine-tuning our customer service processes.

This focus on customer engagement is a key factor in our company’s longevity and in our vision for 2016 and beyond. You might say it’s a key ingredient in how we do business.

As we look ahead to 2016 these are a few thoughts we have on how we are going to enhance our customer engagement strategies in the coming year.

Always strive to exceed expectations. Public relations expert Jim Fisher defines customer engagement as “the indisputable moment of truth when your company connects in a memorable, emotionally satisfying way—or not.” This experience combines “not only delivering what your customers want, but also helping them feel connected to your business.”

hardwood lumber customer serviceCustomers feel connected when they receive individualized service—having a special hardwood lumber order filled, for example, or getting a prompt resolution to a specific problem. When their expectations aren’t met, customers feel no special tie to a business, nor are they likely to go back again. On the other hand, by exceeding expectations, you’ve delivered that memorable experience, which stays forever in the customer’s mind.

Make your customer support services easily accessible and ready to respond. Some B2B companies mistakenly attempt to provide customer support over a wide range of channels. This is easy to understand, given the multiplicity of options (email, online help center, FAQs, mobile self-service, video chat, etc.). Unfortunately, this approach can dilute the quality of that support.

Whatever customer service channel you elect to offer, equip it with all the resources necessary to make it work each and every time. Then be sure to communicate to customers that this is where to go with comments or complaints, with the assurance that a personalized response will be forthcoming. For our customers in the hardwood lumber industry we still find that a face-to-face meeting request, a prompt phone call when something needs to be discussed and a brief email when documents have to be shared still makes the most sense. (Although text messaging is on the rise!)

Think of your company as the customer’s “business partner.” Another way to enhance engagement is through serving as a knowledgeable “partner” in your customers’ growth strategies. A customer who engages with you and finds an answer to his or her nagging problem will regard you as a valuable resource for future questions (and be more responsive to your sales efforts.)

How much useful industry information do you routinely offer on your business website? Are there questions you hear about over and over again that could be easily clarified through a blog post or special web page on your site? It is because of situations such as this as to why we maintain the Trusted Resource Connection page on our website.

We’re greatly looking forward to exceeding customer expectations in 2016 and helping these customers grow their businesses. These are exciting times in the hardwood lumber industry and we hope to find new opportunities to be a resource to you in the new year.

Let us know how we can help you succeed!

Tony Cimorelli
Baillie Lumber Co.
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