You don’t have to be one of the business people who lose opportunity to attract more customers and revenue by limiting their operating time to 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM which only lasts during the daytime. The limitation to this day time, 8hours operating time is because the cost of running a shift by servicing the office at night with an equal number of staff if need be might be cost-intensive.
Remember we are in a digital era where customers don’t sleep, when they want a solution it can be urgent and important and the earlier they speak to someone, the more relief they get that their solution is on the way and that they can beat the deadline. Knowing that most offices are closed after 5:00 PM and on weekends makes customers want to explore other options of reaching out to the service providers. With a business whose focus is centered on customer satisfaction and an amazing experience. There are options to keep your office running after working hours.
1. Take advantage of social media pages
To run a business effectively, an online presence helps the most and involves presence on social media channels by creating pages.
Facebook pages, for example, can be automated to reply messages the moment a user sends an enquiry, it is made to generate a predetermined customized message. Facebook also lets the person know the possible time range within which to expect a feedback, and this is made possible based on the time it took the business to reply a message, that provides the summary of the possible time of reply to the customer. This keeps the expectation of the customer that they would be replied and when the reply eventually comes, it proves the assertion that they are dealing with an organization that is customer-centric regardless of whether they are at work or not, in fact, the message can be crafted in such a way to contain a number that can be used for an emergency contact.
Typically replies in a few minutes
Hi, Thanks for messaging us.
We’ll get back to you soon first name, last name (of the sender)
An auto-responder is a system that organizations use to respond to a user that sends a message via email whether they are out of the office, on leave, on a special assignment or outside the country of operation, with a message informing the person of the possibility of when they are likely to read and reply their message or an option of reaching another individual in the organization that could help process their enquiry. The line below is an example of the use of an automated message using an auto-responder
Thank you for your message.
I will be out of the office until Monday, August 20, 2018.
If this is an emergency, please contact first name, last name on
email@example.com, otherwise, I will
reply you on my return.
First name, last name
3. A 24-hour office phone
I once read in an online forum where a customer needed a product for use, first thing on a Monday morning and tried to establish contact with supplier that they researched online, they found the office lines and called and it kept ringing without anyone picking at the other end, they kept on researching and found another supplier who they called an got an immediate response and delivery of the raw materials to start the production at the agreed time. What is the point of having an office phone that lies in the office without anyone to engage callers, I think today’s definition of an office, defies the limitation to place and gives us a meaning that refers to the person and processes which can be operated from any place and at whatever time of the day. I am of the opinion that every phone that an office uses, should be a mobile phone with a person that handles it and returns enquiries at any time of the day, even if it means the company would provide the handler the opportunity of benefiting from the usage of the phone from the provision of airtime and data services, it is worth all the effort to keep the business running all day. Although the telephone etiquette still applies.
4. Online Support Services
With the goal of maximizing the online platforms of an organization, all platforms must be considered. Websites should be integrated with an online support system that can be installed on a PC (Personal Computer) and on a mobile phone, which can be accessed with internet services at any time of the day. These chat boxes are also automated to reply messages and the user gets a notification when there is an enquiry to be answered.
5. Integration of Chatbots
Chatbots function with an integration of artificial intelligence to answer questions based on the similarity, pattern or keywords consistently used by customers. This integration works as a temporarily alternative to provide basic information before a human eventually connects with the customer when the chatbot has exhausted its ability with no respite to the demands of the customer. A full technologically integrated team is needed to execute this across platforms.
A sustainable business is built around the speed of attending to customer’s need within a reasonable timeframe, the communication that helps to flatten the gap, concise information needed to make an offer and meeting with the expected date or time of delivery of the customer. When all these are in cohesion, a business can definitely become a household name.
(Written by Emmanuel Otori , Chief Executive Officer at Abuja Data School. Otori has over 9 years of experience working with 100 start-ups and SMEs across Nigeria. He has worked on the Growth and Employment (GEM) Project of the World Bank, GiZ, Consulted for businesses at the Abuja Enterprise Agency, Novustack, Splitspot and NITDA.)
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