Customer interaction is crucial to a business as it involves the everyday encounters and communication of the company to its existing customers as well as the new ones. The overall interaction of customers to the business is also a contributing factor to their general experience in doing business with the organization. Its significance in the business paved way for many organizations to conceptualize standard means and procedures in conducting good customer interaction. Large businesses catering to a huge market have designed methods, protocols and ways in working with their customers either by phone, email, or face-to-face contact.
On the other hand, customer interaction can also be informal, depending on the nature and scale of the business. Despite its formality, a business relationship also exists between the company and the customers. The primary difference is that the relationship built through formal interaction is more established and grounded on integrity, while that of the informal way is more on a personalized approach.
This article will mainly discuss three aspects relating to informal customer interaction: personal contacts in a business relationship, peddling as a means of service offer, and the use of informal customer feedback (ICF).
Personal Contacts in a Business Relationship
Ideally, a business relationship between an organization and its customers must be strictly business and formal in approach. Social connections or bonds such as that of personal relations are distinguished from a business connection. But social relations often become the bridge for starting a business relationship. A good example for this would be initiating “small talks” or friendly conversations in between business dealings. Many organizations believe that is a way of building rapport and making customers feel comfortable towards the company.
In some circumstances, development of personal relations becomes a result of a business exchange. It is observed that as customers establish a deeper connection with the company, both parties develop mutual trust and deepen the relations on a social level. At the onset of the customer interaction, individuals strictly perform their corresponding roles being company employees towards the customers. In the long run, the role relations may develop into personal relations.
Peddling as an Informal Service Offer
In certain small-scale businesses and other informal business sectors, one method of engaging in customer interaction is in the form of “peddling.” Peddling as a form of informal service involves retail service and informal means of marketing a company’s products and services through street shows performed mainly by peddlers. In formal ways of pre-sale customer interaction, a product is promoted with proper packaging, advertising, and promotional programs while peddling as an informal pre-sale customer interaction utilizes creative ways of presenting a product or service.
Peddling can be distinguished as an informal service based on:
The interface between the customer and the company or service provider is the street peddles which is considered as the point of contact between both parties.
The nature of customer interaction in peddling is both informal and short-term considering the unsteady nature of the service.
Nature of Demand and Supply
The demand of the product is normally enforced and created by the peddler, sometimes in unexpected circumstances.
In peddling, products and goods can vary yet dependent on factors like time, location, and the supplier.
Informal Customer Feedback (ICF)
Customer feedback is another means to engage in a customer interaction and can be performed in a not-so-formal approach. This is done by asking questions to solicit comments in an informal, non-threatening approach through casual conversations or during company occasions. But a company representative must structure in advance the specific information needed to easily implement it. Following the phases of customer interaction, soliciting feedback normally occurs after the customers make the purchase or take advantage of the services.
An observable advantage of informal customer feedback is a quick and instant gathering of comments, suggestions, and any other customer concerns. Because it is informal in nature, any employee or company representative can conduct this form of customer interaction if this person has the opportune moment to engage in an informal conversation with the customer. It is important to note that all verbally expressed comments must be documented for evaluation to make sure that the company makes the necessary changes.