How Businesses Can Exploit Customer Service to Pump Lead Generation
Let's glue customer service and lead generation together. Hot leads are coming!
Written by Olesia Melnichenko
How well do you generate leads? What hacks and tricks do you use for that? I bet you were about to tell something like “I allure them with my picture-perfect website” or “C’mon! This is a breeze! I just send them newsletters once in a while and call it a day“.
While all of the above is nice to have, you might take a closer look at your customer service crew. I mean, isn’t it at the forefront of your business? It’s support agents who step up again and again and interact with leads to seal the deal. So, why not give them enough credit?
My point is that customer service and lead generation are literally made for each other. And if you don’t realize it yet, I am here to put you in the picture. How can your business utilize customer service for luring leads? Let’s get cracking!
What is lead gen and how can it be connected to customer service?
Lead generation is the process of attracting people who might be potentially interested in products or services and making them communicate with your business. The emphasis is on communication. If done wrong, you can forget about success in lead gen.
Where is customer service in this equation? It gains the lead! And the pun is totally intended. The way support agents speak to clients or how they invite them to a sale – everything predetermines the overall progress.
7 ways customer service can drive your lead gen
At the beginning of each paragraph, you will find the so-called “lead generation precepts” that are closely connected to each thought described in those paragraphs. They will help you get a bird-eye-view of the topic. Shall we begin?
1. Set up a live chat
Lead gen precept №1: Communication is the glue that holds a potential lead and a business together. Without it, the whole concept would disappear.
Everyone knows an online chat is an excellent way to assist customers, answer their requests, and simply walk them through their journey. However, there is yet another option – to use live chat as a lead generation weapon.
But before we jump any further, here’s one strategic remark to consider: including a Contact us CTA button or link on your website won’t save the day. It all comes down to showing initiative. And as lead gen is the process of attracting potential clients and “recruiting” them, how would you manifest yourself?👇
One of the perfect options is via proactive chat messages. Set them up on landing pages, product pages, and at the checkout stage – in a nutshell, anywhere you think you can get the most clients’ attention.
This is only the tip of it. With a live chat, you can also hook leads with pre-, post-chat, and offline forms (gathering contact data), integrate a self-service knowledge base (Patience! We’ll discuss it later on), and even store customer info.
2. Consider chatbot reinforcement
Lead gen precept №2: Chatbot’s major lead generation contribution is automation.
Together with live chat, you can throw a chatbot under the bus, too. Why not? It’s intelligent and, what’s more importantly, can invite people to communicate. Oh, and a well-designed chatbot kills the wait time (+10 points to Gryffindor! 😁).
Sure thing, there is a dime a dozen of chatbots on the market. If you take a simple path (like a rule-based chatbot), it can:
- Welcome multiple customers simultaneously;
- Automate conversions;
- Nurture prospects;
- Retarget website visitors who are engaged in your brand;
- Take over when customer service managers are snowed under;
- Gather contact details (which is of paramount importance for lead gen);
- Provide clientele with sought-after info in a jiffy.
If you want something more sophisticated (like an AI-fueled bot), it can easily anticipate clients’ behavior on your website, recognize their voice (in certain cases), and mimic human-to-human communication.
For customer service, it’s also vital to be available 24/7. Guess who hits the mark for that matter? A chatbot designed specifically for lead generation. However, keep in mind that these machines can’t replace a human touch 100%.
📣 HelpCrunch can untangle your lead generation and customer service inconsistency hands down. Not only does it offer a live chat, a code-free chatbot, and a multilingual knowledge base, but also has a shared inbox so that your team won’t rack their brains over hordes of requests. Take HelpCrunch for a 2-week free trial to enjoy all the goodies.
3. Manage your social media interactions
Lead gen precept №3: Socials amplify your efforts by helping you raise brand awareness and drive website traffic.
Don’t underestimate socials. This is where most of your clientele is, and the numbers prove it true. For instance, 80% of consumers engage with brands now via social media, whereas ⅓ of customer complaints are taken care of there, too.
To top it off, 88% of clients claim they are less likely to purchase from a company that leaves comments on social media unanswered. Isn’t it a sign to grasp the nettle already?
If you want your efforts to be a success, combine them with your customer service on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. To give you a head start, I have a vivid example for you to follow.
MAC Cosmetics knows the ropes of customer care on Instagram. Their account is not only an epitome of beautifully laid-out content but also the reference point for A+ customer service and lead generation tricks.
What struck me the most is that they don’t keep mum when a client says they want to try out samples of new arrivals (even though they are “not available without purchase online”) – the team invites them to speak to a human Artist on the company’s website for personalized assistance instead. From where I am standing, this lead couldn’t be more pleased (I would!):
There is an ocean of such examples. But the bottom line stays unchanged: if you don’t put your socials on the back burner, it can bring obvious results on a dime:
- Improved brand image;
- Better insights into the overall social media performance (how many comments sound frustrated, which of them are rather technical, and which need to be handled with an extra link to the help center).
4. Use customer service to upsell and cross-sell
Lead generation precept №4: Upselling and cross-selling help establish the brand’s value, making it possible to show off all its benefits and additional properties.
First, let’s break down what up- and cross-selling are. The former is offering an upgraded version of a product. The latter, however, is encouraging a customer to purchase extra, complementary stuff. Now, how could you generate leads with these techniques? Oh, it’s like falling off a log!
An ordinary sales pitch will have little clout. Besides, customers are fed up to the neck with it. Instead, you can follow these recommendations:
- Follow up with satisfied customers: when speaking to a user, try to anticipate their mood and goals. If everything is OK, go all in with your pitch (but don’t be too pushy).
- Communicate the value: one of the most important things in customer service is showing the product value to a client. After a customer catches it, your up- or cross-selling ambitions will run smoother.
- Sync your offers with the clients’ demands: generally, sales and support managers are well-versed in what customers really want, what led them to a company, and what pain points they would like to solve. That’s why nudging them into getting a complementary or upgraded product would be a snap.
5. Organize an info-packed knowledge base
Lead generation precept №5: Customers won’t convert to a brand that suggests no steady informational resource, explanatory materials, and guides. People like to actually get to know the product or service they are about to consume.
No secret, a knowledge base can both ease the burden of a customer service team and encourage self-service for clients. However, there is one condition – it should be seamlessly structured and filled with quality content.
And it’s not just me: 91% of clients say they would use a knowledge base if it’s tailored to their needs. So this is the key ingredient to making a lead convert to an existing customer.
Here is an example of a knowledge base that could lure potential clients. What Wistia makes special is how they present and structure data: there are Top Categories section, two search boxes, and the ability to Submit a ticket (if a user failed to find the info):
6. Send customer service emails as part of your lead gen scheme
Lead gen precept №6: If you don’t have an opt-in form on your website yet, go get it! Email lead generation will help you nurture and transform users into paying customers.
Attracting new leads via email might seem a bit challenging. However, not in our realm! Any doubts? With 53% of marketers claiming this channel proved to be the most effective in early lead gen stages, your guesses should be gone by now.
Once a user leaves their email address, time to seize every opportunity. By the way, there are lots of them:
- Onboarding instructions (right after subscription)
- Product launch announcements
- Technical problems heads-up
Here is how Coursera warned its users about the platform’s scheduled maintenance:
If you think that it won’t do any good, think again. In this very scenario, a lead sees that the company takes responsibility for its actions and is frank about them. Can you imagine the leads’ thoughts if they wouldn’t receive such an email? That’s the gist of it.
7. Ask for referrals
Lead gen precept №7: Referrals are lifesavers when it comes to building a network of hot leads. They help you get an already loyal clientele.
After you have successfully assisted a customer and followed up with them, time to hint at spreading the word about your business. Why not? It’s not an embarrassing thing to ask for.
As a matter of fact, referrals are perfect for word of mouth and, as a result, for collecting new leads. And a customer service agent could do that with ease. Here is how:
- Start a referral program and offer it after each interaction. This is probably the fastest way to grab new prospects (the Oscar goes to Starbucks on this one!);
- Ask a customer to write a review on a dedicated platform and share it on your testimonials page (this is what we at HelpCrunch usually do!);
- Practice a free (or a freemium) subscription and grant it after those bridges with a client are built;
- Contact your past customers and ask them to drop a few words about your business, too.
Lead generation and customer service CAN and DO go hand in hand. They complement each other: without any of them, a buyer’s journey won’t be complete, and a business can be left in ruins.
But only an unprepared person could take such an unpleasant route (which you most certainly are not!). Consider all the ways we’ve discussed here today, practice them with HelpCrunch, and pump your lead gen 🚀