Are you aware of just how important customer communication is to your business?
Estimates suggest that poor communication costs businesses nearly $4 billion dollars each year. If you don’t want to be one of the businesses making up that number, you need to develop a customer communications strategy as soon as possible.
What Is Customer Communication?
From Facebook ads to email newsletters to blog posts shared on social media, customer communication is how your business gets its message out. Every channel calls for its own unique approach and, at the same time, all messaging needs to be aligned with your overall strategy.
Companies who do this well are able to:
- Build relationships with their customers
- Increase loyalty and retention
- Address customer concerns and complaints
- Improve sentiment about their business
- Present a cohesive brand message
Developing a strong customer communications strategy is no walk in the park. But there are a few things you should know that will put you on the path to success. Here are a few ways you can improve customer communications:
1. Know Your Audience
As every College Writing student knows, writers should change their approach depending on who they’re writing to. The same thing applies to businesses. If you don’t know your audience, it can be difficult to reach them effectively—your style might not resonate, or you’re sending messages on channels they don’t use.
Ask yourself these questions:
- Who are my customers and what do they have in common?
- What channels are they using?
- How do they use the internet?
- What topics do they enjoy?
Putting together a set of customer profiles can help you build a communication strategy that lets you send the right message to the right people at the right time—always.
2. Focus on Customer Experience
One of the most important principles across all your customer communications is consistency. To create a good customer experience, your messaging needs to be aligned across each and every touch point.
Nobody likes seeing a 20% discount for a product or service in an ad that is full price in the online store. They also don’t like watching your company’s upbeat video only to arrive on a homepage with a completely different vibe. Consistency lets customers know who you are and that they can trust what you tell them.
Customer experience also applies to how you engage with them directly. Your business should have clear guidelines for how to approach everything from replies to social media posts to customer service calls.
3. Collect Customer Feedback
If you really want to know how you can improve your communication with them, just listen to your customers! It’s hard to overcome our biased perception of how awesome we are, but one lively comment section can disabuse us of that notion in no time—provided that we’re actually willing to look.
Surveys, industry research, and other methods are available or you may want to consult your customers directly. In this way, you’ll get excellent insights into how they feel about your company or service and where there is room for improvement, which gives you an opportunity to turn your shortcomings into assets.
4. Automate Customer Service with Live Chat
One way to make customer communications more effective and efficient is to implement live chat on your website. Live chat features (and even chatbots in some cases) let you ask and answer quick questions, provide resources and information, and resolve complaints in real time.
This is an area where the communication guidelines you created can really shine. With a clear sense of how your support representatives should approach a given situation, they’ll be able to give customers what they need and send them on their merry way.
5. Provide Personalized Communications
With more than 70% of customers engaging exclusively with personalized marketing messages, it’s safe to say that you need to adopt the practice. In fact, 90% of customers report being annoyed by generic messages.
Marketing platforms have mountains of relevant data they can apply to achieve this. Whether it’s tailoring your messaging to your customer’s city, age, device, or another vector—even just using their first name is great!—you can count on them to have a positive response to personalization.
6. Be Transparent and Authentic
A lot of companies rely solely on stock photography to build their online presence—and customers just aren’t into that. Eighty-six percent of customers name authenticity as a factor in how they view a company. While it might take a little extra work—taking and editing photos, accepting that your goofy grin will be publicly viewable on the internet, etc.—it’s well worth it to show your customers who you are.
This can be achieved verbally, too. Owning up to mistakes, sharing your customer feedback results, and providing a glimpse into how your business operates or plans can help you create a community that earns customer loyalty.
7. Use All Available Channels
Businesses used to have limited options when it came to customer communications. Either you were calling them on the phone, mailing something to their house, or trying to get on the radio. Now the opportunities are endless and you should take advantage of as many as you possibly can.
This can be daunting without a clear plan and some high quality digital tools to help you run your program. Luckily, there’s no shortage of strong CRM products on the market to help you manage your communication across your entire digital ecosystem.
8. Practice Proactive Communication
People are busy and it’s important for businesses to respect their time. If you don’t, you risk losing leads and loyal customers alike. Your customer communication program should be attentive, responsive to change, and ready to deploy at a moment’s notice.
Proactive communication with customers increases customer retention, loyalty, and satisfaction.
Be the Best at Customer Communication
Your customers are the only reason your business exists. Because of this, it’s essential that businesses invest in customer communication. By following a few recommendations, you can improve your overall customer experience, boost retention, and increase revenue.