What Is Interaction Management?
Interaction management refers to a group of online services that you can use to create better online relationships between your organization and your customers. It can also improve your relationships with your own employees, vendors, and partners.
These services can include convenient ways to chat online, share files, send customers to online resources, get customer feedback, and more.
What Does Customer Interaction Mean?
Customer interaction includes any communication between your organization and a customer. Interactions can include many different activities and goals and still be classified as customer interaction.
For example, besides fielding questions or troubleshooting problems, customer interaction can include:
- Setting up a more convenient way of taking payments from customers
- Gathering data that will improve your business
- Capturing a lead from a customer inquiry
Any interaction with a customer can contribute to bottom-line business results. Important interactions can help your business run more smoothly, in addition to making your business look good enough to garner positive online reviews.
How Can Customer Interaction Be Improved?
Because customer interaction management takes place online, you can do it better using an online software suite. You can enjoy a single dashboard that can take data from a dozen different web platforms, including social media, and feed them all onto a single display where you can see your information from multiple channels at a glance.
With such a dashboard, you’ll know you’re not missing out on a lead—a customer who has inquired about an important product or service. That interaction and others are all captured in one place. And that means you can earn more revenue.
Good software also means you’re interacting with customers on the platforms and through the channels that they normally use and understand. But you don’t actually have to use those platforms directly, because all the interactions and data are accessible through your one dashboard that is convenient to you and your employees.
Why Is It Important to Interact With Customers?
If you interact with customers in convenient and responsive ways, they may start to identify with your business and feel closer to your business, thinking of it as “theirs.” It’ll be easier for them to keep coming back to you because they’ll get used to interacting with you in a certain way.
Another benefit of a good online customer interaction system is that you can support and help your customers for a low price tag. You can:
- Connect customers with subject matter experts and helpful peers
- Get customers into incentive or loyalty programs
- Build a community of people who collaborate with each other
- Help customers find recommendations from people they trust
In general, your customers can use your managed interactions to stay in touch with your organization longer and to buy more from you.
What Is Meant By Customer-Managed Interactions?
Customer-managed interactions are another approach to interaction management. These use tools and systems to make the customer feel more in charge of the relationship with the organization. If you want to adopt this approach, you can:
- Put customers’ preferences and feelings at the top of your list of priorities
- Let customers show you and tell you how they want to communicate with you, what they want to buy, and what payment methods they prefer
- Be more accommodating of customers’ preferences
- Keep all of the data about each customer available and open to each customer as he or she shops, explores your website, and interacts with your various departments
What Are the Keys to a Positive Customer Interaction?
Your reps can use these general ideas to have better customer interactions:
- Meet Customers Where They Are: Set up your customer interaction management system so that your reps can get back to customers on the channels that the customers used to reach out to you.
- Talk Like Customers: Be professional, but try to avoid scripted, unnatural language as often as possible—reps can even use GIFs, hashtags, and emojis in chat programs.
- Delight Customers: Try to surprise customers with discounts, kind words on social media, and thank you notes. Resolve a problem immediately or give a clear timeline of when it will be solved. Follow up with them to make sure it’s resolved and to supply educational resources.
How to Handle Negative Interactions
There are always going to be dissatisfied, angry customers. Here’s how your reps should think and act with them:
- Respond Calmly, Professionally, and Kindly: Problems are a normal cost of doing business. Treat everyone respectfully and calmly, the way you’d want to be treated.
- Bring in Additional Help: Show an unhappy customer that you’re giving him or her all the help you possibly can. As examples, you can bring another rep into the chat to confirm a solution, or share a screen or video to show the solution.
- Understand Their Pain: When someone is really agitated, figure out what he or she is thinking. Ask how you can make her feel comfortable, what makes him skeptical, or how you can calm her fears.
What is interaction management? It’s a current solution to the age-old adage that the customer is always right. Through software, communication technology, and systems, you can make your customers feel special, getting them what they need in smart, automated, and convenient ways.