Perhaps you take pride in your company's top-notch products. You may have spent thousands of dollars advertising your products and services, and the way you handle budgeting and finances is appreciable.
But have you considered customer communication? If not, you'll struggle to build brand image and grow your company - though it's a hard pill to swallow, it is what it is.
Tony Hseih, an American internet entrepreneur quotes, "Customer service shouldn't just be a department; it should be the entire company."
The way you communicate with your customers can make or break your business. We'll walk you through some effective tips to upgrade your customer communication.
Why Is Customer Communication Important?
Customer communication is as important as the customer itself. Your products won't sell without customers, and your company won't thrive in the competing business world.
Effective communication with customers makes them happier and more satisfied. The result? You enhance their experience, and they'll undoubtedly become your long-term loyal customers.
Data reveals that 84% of companies that improve their customer experience report a boost in their revenue.
Note that customer service is all about communication. You could be offering customer service via live chat, emails, phone calls, social media, and whatnot. But if your team isn't communicating actively, you're up to no good.
Your customer purchase decision heavily relies on the customer service support you give them.
Statistics show that almost 84% of customers consider customer service to play a critical role in deciding whether or not they'll purchase. On top of that, only 3% say it's unimportant.
So, are you targeting the 84% of customers that may contribute to your company's growth? If not, now is the right time.
Satisfied customers not only become an evergreen part of your company; they act as advocates recommending your brand to others and growing your customer base.
10 Steps to Effective Customer Communication
Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash
Dealing with customers is pretty challenging regardless of whether you communicate with them face to face, online, or via phone calls. Nonetheless, if you know how to communicate effectively, you can make the process simpler and less challenging.
Beyond that, you play a role in leveling up conversions and boosting customer loyalty.
Below, we've shared some steps to communicate with customers the "right way." Implementing these strategies will certainly have a positive impact on your business growth.
1. Nail the First Impression
They say the first impression is the last impression; the same goes for your business. When you interact with your customers the first time, it's your chance to win or lose them. Not nailing the first impression might send your business to your competitors.
But, wait, the impression is not limited to you communicating with your customers.
You could be attending their phone calls, meeting them in person, and responding to their messages, but are you actually helping them? Is your communication meaningful enough, or are you just beating around the bush?
Studies reveal that a business only has 7 seconds to make the best first impression; here's how to seize the opportunity.
Give a warm smile.
Make eye contact as you communicate.
Pay attention to your customer needs, wants, and pain-points - not your service and products.
Show them that you care by asking relevant questions.
Dress to impress - keep your attire formal and classy.
Be confident and avoid fidgeting during a conversation.
If your first interaction is online, keep these things in mind:
You should be on time and have a stable internet connection.
Listen to them and respond only after comprehending what they want.
Be in their shoes when they explain what's bothering them. Your goal should be to solve their issue and not sell your business to them.
Show them that they have your undivided, willing attention.
So, the first impression isn't only about offering them support; it's also about your appearance, body language, and welcoming attitude.
2. Use Visual Tools for Real-Time Assistance
Though digital tools were popular back in the day, the outbreak of COVID-19 accelerated the usage. Tools involving visuals and real-time assistance have gained traction recently.
Now more than ever, customers expect enhanced communication practices from companies. You can use live engagement tools to assist your customers and offer the right solution.
Visual communication will certainly be personalized. Of course, you won't be communicating with several customers at a time.
Personalization plays a critical role in business growth. Perhaps this explains why 90% of online businesses invest in personalization. It makes the customers feel valued and appreciated.
Besides, unlike messages or chats that slow down communication, real-time video calls help provide faster solutions. Your customers unquestionably seek quick solutions to their problems.
3. Engage With Customers on Social Media
Gone are the days when customer support via phone call or a chatbot on your website intrigued customers. In a digital world like today, customers seek communication through varying, trending platforms, and social media is one.
With over 3.6 billion people on different social media channels, you have a chance to engage with your customers and target ideal prospects.
Twitter, Linkedin, Facebook, and Instagram are popular social media handles. Make sure you create your company pages on these platforms and communicate with your customers via comments, chats, and stories.
Did you know 80% of customers use social media to engage with brands? So while an impeccable phone call service adds to your customer experience, not engaging with customers through social media will affect your overall brand image.
Customers are increasingly interacting with brands online, make sure you offer them services their way:
Know your customers' favorite social media channels and actively engage with them.
Be consistent in your communication regardless of which network your customer chooses to communicate through. Simply put, your messages on Facebook should align with what you spoke on Instagram previously. It's more like an efficient omnichannel strategy.
Use social media platforms for new announcements, product launches, company updates, and more.
4. Be More Human
Technology saves us most of the time, but not always.
From blogging to emailing and chatting, you might have worked your fingers to the bone to offer services to the customers, but they expect more than that.
Note that the customers at the other end are humans and they appreciate talking to real people. An automated conversation might quicken things up, but it won't satisfy your customers. So, talk to them like real people and keep your interaction less scripted. Here's a quick example:
"I haven't received my product yet; it's been three days."
Customer service member A:
"I'll get in touch with authority and let you know what's causing the delay."
Customer service member B:
"Can you please tell me when exactly you ordered the product? Which product was it, and what was the expected delivery date?"
See the difference? Member B sounds more human and can make the customer more satisfied. Even non-reputable brands can offer the former automated conversation. You need to stand out to prove your worth.
5. Automate Communication With Chatbots
Note that we're explicitly referring to online conversations here. Consider you have a clueless visitor on your website who is about to close the window. A chatbot, at this point, would certainly grab their attention.
Likewise, you could have the most efficient social media team, but they might not be available 24/7. If a customer drops a message during the non-working hours, they might get diverted to another brand upon hearing no response from you.
However, a chatbot would keep them engaged unless an actual customer service member reaches out to them. Besides, it answers some quick and straightforward queries your customers may have.
Perhaps this is why 69% of customers prefer using chatbots because they get quick answers to simple questions.
Another data reveals that most consumers are willing to engage with chatbots because they find them "very helpful."
This, in turn, satisfies customers and reduces sales decline. On top of that, it saves you costs; you do not need to hire plenty of employees for simple conversations that can be held with a chatbot.
6. Follow Up
Customer communication isn't restricted to a conversation you had over a phone call or in person. You need to follow up like a pro to increase sales, generate leads, and boost customer retention.
Note that effective communication helps you create the best first impression; it won't last long if you show inconsistency in contact.
That is, showing no concern whatsoever after a conversation might leave your customers in the dark. Besides, the sense you are not concerned.
Therefore, make sure you follow up like a whip-smart business owner. Here are a few helpful tips:
Thank your customer for positive feedback and ask them for referrals - politely.
Do not overlook negative feedback; you'll hurt your company's reputation. Ask for the details and be willing to improve the situation for the better.
Contact your customer after a week of the first sale and find out if everything is alright. Are they satisfied with the product? Do they have any questions? However, do not overdo it; otherwise, it would scare them away.
7. Use Positive Language
Positive language is the key to effective customer communication. Note that it isn't about discarding all the negatives; it's about using language that reassures and gives alternatives.
Negative language tells your customer what you cannot do; positive language tells them what you can.
You need to use language that is empathetic, supportive, and kind. Communication extends way beyond a conversation; it's the how in conversation that matters.
Here's an example demonstrating the difference between positive and negative communication:
"When will the Tie Dye Shirts be back in stock?"
"We cannot get you the Tshirts till next month. They are unavailable at this time."
"We apologize for the inconvenience. The good news is that the shirts will be available next month. I'll place the order for you and will ship you as soon as the product reaches the warehouse."
Make sure you train your employees to use the language that reassures and sounds helpful. It will help you gain customer loyalty and earn long-term customers.
8. Be Open to Negative Feedback
As a business owner, positive feedback will certainly lift your spirits, but don't let the negative feedback bring you down. See it as a learning opportunity to grow and improve.
Perhaps you cannot know where you fall short unless you learn about negative customer experiences. Feedback makes you more self-aware, and you have a chance to improve for the better.
Collect all the customer reviews and insights by adding customer feedback widgets to your site, monitoring social media mentions, and conducting surveys.
This would help you know what you gave to your customers as a company and what they expect you to provide them.
9. Measure Customer Communication Metrics
Measuring communication metrics sounds a bit too overwhelming, but it's worth it. Metrics like FRT (first response time), ART (Average resolution time), and CSAT (Customer satisfaction metrics) provide valuable insights that you won't know otherwise.
This helps you tweak your strategies accordingly.
Here's why regularly measuring customer communication metrics comes in handy:
It helps you assess your team's performance. On the surface, things might appear fine; metrics help you identify the gaps that still need improvement. Later, you hold training sessions for your employees and increase their productivity.
You get to know the linguistic skills of your team and how you can improve them for the better.
Regular monitoring helps you identify the common issues - most customers face - and how you can improve your communication to serve them better.
10. Go the Extra Mile!
Times are evolving, and the competition is getting more fierce. You need to go above and beyond to satisfy your customers and outpace your competitors.
Communication is a chance to impress your customers and make sure you do not commit errors and miss out on your chance of winning new customers. Avoid shortcuts to their queries and complaints and show empathy when listening to their concerns.
The customer could be the 20th one you are attending in a single day, but you are their first customer service representative - do not forget that.
A popular phrase we've all heard is that communication is the key. Apparently, it applies to all sectors of life, including business.
Customer communication can contribute to your company's positive or negative outcome. However, by setting your strategy right and communicating effectively, you'll rule out the possibility of the latter.
Communication isn't about talking to your customers; it's about hearing what they do not say. Once you learn how to do that, be prepared to take your business to new heights!