No matter how diverse your customer base may be, the majority of them have two things in common. First, they expect you to provide information and answers to their questions immediately. Second, they will become former customers the first time you fail to do so. In today’s mobile, always-connected world, all retailers face the challenge of delivering excellent customer service in near real-time, all of the time. The combination of vanity phone numbers and sophisticated communications technologies on the back-end enables retailers to strike that balance and consistently meet customers’ high expectations.

You may think phone calls are anathema to customers who have loaded their smartphones with messaging, communications and social media apps. Phone calls conjure memories of being put on hold for interminable lengths of time or having to navigate tedious number button-pressing menus.

That’s so 2009.

More Options, No Waiting

Today’s communication and mobile technologies can automate the management of each call as it comes in, and immediately provide a customer with a number of options for how they want to proceed. They can choose to talk to a live person in your call center or schedule a more convenient time for a rep to call them back. Or if they prefer to take the time to do research on their own, they can request an SMS text message with links to relevant information on your website and e-commerce portal. Or they can be routed to a chatbot in a messaging app like Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp to ask questions and continue the “conversation.”

Whichever option they choose, they don’t have to listen to hold music, mash their phones’ keypads to navigate automated menus, or even talk if they aren’t able to (or just don’t want to). Your phone number is no longer a connection to your call center; it’s the gateway to a broad range of communications platforms.

Collecting Invaluable Data

This delivers several benefits to the retailer, too. A mobile phone number is a unique identifier that the retailer can use to begin building profiles for each customer, with information such as preferred communications methods, preferences for specific products or services, the feedback they provide, demographic information, etc. This data is invaluable to the marketing, sales and customer service departments.

When Vanity is a Good Quality

Of course, if your phone number is a difficult-to-remember collection of random numbers, you won’t get your customers to call you in the first place. That’s why creating vanity phone numbers is critical to the success of any targeted marketing program in attracting new customers and building loyalty over the long term. Today, your customers keep their mobile phones within arm’s reach 24/7, so a vanity phone number is much more than a stand-alone communications channel. Think of it as your company’s “voice URL” that serves as the launching point that enables your customers to easily choose which method they want to interact with you. That’s the key to creating a better user experience that keeps customers coming back. And the more you know about a customer, the more effective (and profitable) your future engagements with them will be.

The Full Article can be found on Total Retail.

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