Earlier this year, after COVID seemed to change everything, I wrote about communication lessons learned during these unusual times. While we may see the light at the end of the COVID tunnel, things will be getting worse before they get better.
While the “we’re here for you” emails are luckily long passed, it is a good time to make your business easier for customers to communicate with.
Much has been written about the new normal or the next normal. The reality is we are in the now normal, and it will evolve into the next now normal. As our winter of COVID passes into spring, and as 2021 moves into 2022, normal will continue to be a moving target.
Last week a client told me about the digital transformation initiative his company has set in motion. To help with this effort I documented the variety of sales and marketing technologies and processes I use for myself and clients. I realized that many are low cost, easy to use, and can be quickly implemented. Here are three digital communications tactics you can use right away to make your company easier to work with and your sales personnel more efficient.
Automate Meeting Scheduling
The seemingly simple task of scheduling a meeting with a customer or prospect can involve a series of emails back and forth to find a time that works for both parties. While a quick phone call would quickly resolve this, it isn’t always an option.
Problem: Getting a meeting scheduled quickly and easily.
Solution: Use an online scheduling service that syncs with your calendar.
Calendly is a scheduling service that allows customers, prospects, and partners to easily schedule a meeting. You can set up the time you want to be available each day, and Calendly automatically syncs with your Google, Outlook, and Outlook 360 calendars, showing only times you’re available and immediately adding new meetings to your calendar.
Calendly can also add notes to CRM or marketing automation platforms, keeping a record of the meeting and automatically send email reminders or a pre-meeting questionnaire.
Make Video Calls To Improve Conversations
Face-to-face meetings are rare during the now normal. In-person meetings have been replaced by working from home and limited travel.
Problem: Face to face meetings aren’t happening much in the now normal.
Solution: Use video conferencing solutions such as Zoom, Google Meet, or Microsoft Teams.
While video conferencing software has been used for years, 2020 turned out to be the year that everyone is now meeting on video. While more cumbersome than a phone call, video conferencing allows virtual face-to-face meetings, with the added bonus of showing samples and sharing computer screens to view documents and presentations.
You can also connect video conferencing solutions to your calendar scheduling service, allowing a video meeting to be added when a meeting is scheduled.
Chatbots Answer Questions Fast
Chatbots are those little widgets in the lower right of some websites. Visitors to your website can interact with chatbots to immediately get their questions answered. Chatbots are useful for helping with:
- Getting presales questions answered
- Customer service
- Lead generation
Questions coming in on chatbots answers can be answered with a live person during business hours, built-in logic or artificial intelligence 24/7, or a combination of both. For live interaction, customer support or inside sales personnel are notified when a question comes in. Multiple people can be set up to help questions get answered immediately, or chatbot sessions can be transferred to subject matter experts.
Chatbots are still not commonly used by commercial printers, but many companies find that they lower sales and support costs and get more leads from their website. They are commonplace in many industries, and will likely become ubiquitous in years to come.
Many CRM and marketing automation platforms have integrated chatbots that come with the platform. Stand-alone chatbot services that integrate with CRM systems can also be added to your website with many costing less than $100/month for multiple support users.
These unusual times have sped up the adoption of new work environments and digital communication technologies. Implementing these tools makes it easy for your customers to work with you. Reach out to me if you have any questions. I’d be happy to make recommendations that would best fit your business.