You can’t force a relationship with a customer without being pushy, awkward, or intrusive. So how is it done? …
Sociologists argue that for friendships & relationships to form, there are three conditions required:
- Proximity: Are you likely to be in the spaces (real or virtual) frequently?
- Repeated, unplanned interactions: Are you likely to engage in discussions in a spontaneous non-structured manner?
- An environment that encourages people to confide in each other: Does the setting under which this happens encourage people to speak open and honestly, or is it an environment for postering & grandstanding?
When you consider these requirements, you quickly understand why discussions which happen over public forums, or which are structured with categorisation, priority flags, auto-responders, and case numbers, don’t provide a good foundation to grow a relationship with your customers.
The guys at Zoomshift have been excelling at building relationships with their customers. What follows is a guest post from Jon Hainstock, co-founder of Zoomshift, about how they do it.
Our product ZoomShift helps supervisors create, manage and share work schedules easily online. Employees can access their schedule from anywhere, trade shifts and request time off. All communication is streamlined via email and text message notifications so everyone stays in the loop.
Customer Feedback is our Lifeblood
At ZoomShift, getting feedback from customers is paramount. On the technical side, we track all our user events, and use funnels to determine where people might be getting stuck— but there is nothing better than receiving feedback directly from our customers.
In the past we used a forum/knowledge-base to handle requests, but we now use Intercom exclusively to get customer feedback.
Starting Conversations During On-boarding
We use Intercom’s in-app message to send users a simple and personal on-boarding message when they sign up. This gives our customers an immediate point of contact within the app, and encourages them to start a conversation with us. No agenda, no issue reporting interface, just a conversation.
We’ve found customers are way more likely to engage in a discussion with us when we reach out to them like this. Once the dialogue starts, and we’ve established a rapport, we’re then able to ask for specific feedback, and answer any questions they have.
Short and Sweet Customer Conversations
Often times, our customer use Intercom’s conversation pop-up in a chat-like manner. They send short specific questions and wait for an immediate response, or back-and-forth discussion. This kind of dynamic has been crucial for us for two main reasons:
- Immediately Actionable: We get a real-time notice of any issues our accounts are having with our product. Instead of abandoning, customers contact us and let us know where they’re confused, or what’s not working for them. We then use Intercom to troubleshoot issues with them, and deploy a fix if needed.
- Casual & Personal: When customers see the personal nature of our message, they feel comfortable asking questions and requesting features. This helps us figure out what things we should be adding to the development list for consideration. When customers feel at ease, they’re far more likely to be frank, honest, and open about their experience.
Our goal in using Intercom is to become a more nimble and agile company. We use our customer’s feedback during these conversations to inform our roadmap, and also to measure responses to new features. Immediate feedback enables faster decisions, which in turn, lets us ship fast and delight customers. Which is what we’re all about.
Interested in using ZoomShift? Use the “IntercomRocks” coupon code when your free 30 day trial is over to receive 10% off your first 3 months.
Why does this work?
We believe the future of business will look more like the past than the present. This means frequent casual conversations, not lengthy forum posts where users are asked to categorise their own messages and state a priority for them. Zoomshift’s friendly ice breaker message sets a tone that encourages people to talk. Frequent friendly discussions with people leads to trust, respect, and ultimately, loyalty. If you want to see what that looks like, try this video from Zoomshift…