Having customers that love you is great, but having customers tell the world how great you are is even better! The way to inspire your customers to become vocal advocates is to build amazing customer experiences. This starts with listening to your customers, personalizing your interactions with them, and connecting with them in the places and ways they choose. This can sometimes be overwhelming for small businesses, which is why it’s important to have the right tools in place to help.  The apps below can help you anticipate the needs of your customers, tailor your business to best serve those customers, and ultimately prove you deserve the trust they are placing in you.

Here are five customer experience igniting tools that can help you gain a competitive edge.

  1. Hootsuite is a social media management tool that allows your team to monitor and post to multiple social media accounts all at once. Being able to see and answer social media posts about your brand can foster a positive customer experience by resolving issues quickly. Hootsuite also works with CRM tools, like Salesforce and Sugar CRM, to easily push social leads into your sales processes.
  1. Five9 is a great online tool for anyone running a contact center. Simply put, it gives you the ability to monitor and manage communications coming in from multiple channels like web, social, email, chat, phone, etc. Five9 also gives you some powerful integrations with Salesforce and Oracle to enable services like click-to-call and screen popping (automatically open customer records when a call comes in).
  1. LivePerson Though extremely popular in the B2C world, live chat for support issues can benefit customer relationships for B2B as well. Getting questions and issues addressed quickly can eliminate many issues before they start. Liveperson has been around for a long time and offers tons of features, including solutions for specific industries and tie in’s for CRM tools.
  1. MS Dynamics CRM – Although in some circles Microsoft gets a bad rap, in the business world there is no denying they are a power house. When looking for a CRM tool to help shape customer experiences, MS Dynamics CRM gets my vote. In terms of product maturity, user base, feature sets and Total Cost of Ownership (TCO), there are not many that can compete. The framework MS Dynamics CRM is built on offers a ton of flexibility for businesses, and in most cases does not require a developer or even a consultant to implement. Which of course keeps costs down. When you start to dig under the covers and customize the tool, you’ll see just how powerful it can be.
  1. Twilio is a tool that allows you to send, receive and track SMS messages worldwide. Whether it’s for sales and marketing purposes, or to inform your customers of an urgent issue needing attention, Twilio is an awesome way to get the message out quickly. Even better, you know the message is delivered to a place your customers will see it, their phones and tablets. *Word of warning though, make sure your customer sign up for this service, and only send messages they think are valuable, not just you. Invading their personal space is a risky endeavor that only pays off if done right.

Regardless of the tools you end up using, keep in mind the end goal. You need to create amazing customer experiences. This means anticipating what your customers expect at every point in the customer journey. The tools you deploy need to help that process by offering valuable interactions and communications. Focus on that and you can’t go wrong!