Consistently improving customer communications is one of the best business practices across all verticals. In fact, 90% of people use customer communication and service as a factor when they are deciding whether or not to purchase from a company.
However, with the increasing number of communication channels and high customer expectations, handling all your customer communications is challenging. Below you can find everything you need to make this communication efficient so you can delight your customers.
Understanding customer communications
Customer communication refers to various ways of exchanging information between your company and your customers. Whether you communicate with your customers online via your website, email, exclusively in person, or you use multiple communication platforms, it all falls under the category of customer communications.
Communication with customers doesn’t only refer to the communication channels you use. It also includes the methods you use to communicate with your customers and how you manage this communication across all channels.
What’s the difference between online and in-store communication?
Communication is one of the primary means of socialization, and while both online and in-store communication comes naturally to your representatives and customers, there are a few differences.
First, in-store communication lets your service agents feel and see the customer. They can easily figure out what’s going on by picking subtle cues in the tone of voice, facial expressions, and body posture. Most importantly, in-store communication often includes one service agent and one customer.
In online communication, your representatives can’t see with whom they are communicating. They solely rely on chat messages or email copy as a primary source of information, and your service agents will often talk with several customers depending on the complexity of their inquiries.
Further, B2B – business to business – and B2C – business to customer – systems differ when it comes to customer communication in-store and online. In these business systems, different quantities of orders and data are processed, and different paperwork is involved. For example, an OMS system that caters to B2B businesses is normally one that can handle large data volumes, provide automation, generate robust reports, and generally cater to their requirements. By contrast, B2C order processing is much simpler. There are usually fewer orders to process for B2C businesses, but they also work with significantly less data and communication channels.
Benefits of efficient customer communication
The benefits of efficient customer communication go beyond simply delighting your customers. It is a pillar of every successful online store. There are many noteworthy benefits for your in-house support, service teams, and customers.
Efficient customer communication will enable your service and support agents to make the best use of their time. They will be able to see that they are genuinely making a difference in helping customers, which will result in high job satisfaction and lower absenteeism and turnover rates.
The results of excellent customer experience, on the other hand, include
- Increased customer satisfaction;
- High customer retention rates;
- Increased customer loyalty;
- Increased engagement;
- Building better customer relationships.
Ultimately, achieving customer expectations can help you improve your brand image and increase profit.
10 Strategies for effective customer communication
If all these benefits appear attractive and you decide to handle customer communications more efficiently, you’ll need to fine-tune your approach. Here are ten strategies you can use to achieve your goals.
1. Prepare a communication plan for your business
Your customer communications need a structure, and you can quickly achieve it by preparing both internal and external communication plans. The external plan should include the agents’ responsibilities, which channels are included, and how you’ll prioritize customers’ inquiries. In comparison, the internal one can improve collaboration and communication within and among different teams.
It should also outline specific practices and tactics your service and support agents can use to achieve your business goals, along with long-term strategies for improving communication skills.
2. Communicate with customers across all channels
Not all customers prefer the same communication channel. Efficient communication means that there are no obstacles that require work around and additional time. You can easily avoid it if you enable your customers to reach you across all channels.
It may appear challenging to manage multi-channel communication. However, you can easily streamline it with powerful customer service software with out-of-the-box support for all channels.
3. Develop your verbal and written communication abilities
Next, you need to work on developing verbal and written communication abilities. Knowing how to efficiently communicate the message to your customers will render your agents valuable assets. You can use numerous online resources to learn how to do it.
4. First impressions are everything
Pay close attention to the first words and sentences exchanged in communication. First impressions are essential for disarming frustrated customers and getting them on board to work together on solving a problem.
5. Focus on soft skills
Focus on soft skills such as emotional intelligence, active listening, negotiation, conflict resolution, and creative thinking can help your agents handle communication with customers more efficiently.
6. Perfect your customer service training program
If your budget allows it, you should organize regular training for your agents to keep them informed about the most recent and best practices in customer communication.
7. Keep hold and response times to a minimum
Efficiency is all about doing things right and fast. In customer communications, it applies to hold and response times. Make sure that you keep these times to a minimum. It improves productivity and helps avoid frustrating customers with long queues.
8. Be consistent with your brand vocabulary
Your communication with customers should reflect the brand image you are trying to build. Be mindful of the wording when addressing customers. Your agents should use your brand vocabulary across all channels when handling customers.
9. Provide your customers with a personalized experience
Personalization is one of the best practices in the world of business. Addressing every customer as an individual with unique needs, wants, and preferences will help you build meaningful relationships with them and ensure repeat business.
10. Understand your customers by analyzing their behavior
Before you can achieve efficient communication across all channels, you need to truly understand your customers. Fortunately, you can use plenty of tools to collect customer data and analyze their behavior for patterns, behavior triggers, and other valuable, actionable insights.
- Add a customer contact form on your site
Consider making it easy for customers to contact you directly from your official website. You can use simple plugins such as Contact Form 7 to add a contact form to your site, even if you have no experience in web design and coding.
- Build stronger team communication within your organization
You can’t expect to make your communication with customers more efficient if your team communication is lagging. Make efficient communication one of the primary goals in your organization. Organize regular meetings and leverage them to set an example for efficient communication with your teams.
- Identify areas that need improvement
You should improve customer communications and make them more efficient as an ongoing project. Try to identify areas that need to be addressed and come up with relevant process improvement strategies. Work with your service and support agents to get their unique perspectives and identify the best solutions to implement.
Handling your customer communications more efficiently will help you improve customer retention rates, customer satisfaction, and improve brand image. With these ten strategies, you can improve different aspects of communication with customers.
Since your official website is often the first experience your customers have with your brand, you should always look for the best ways to improve your site and ensure great first impressions with your brand.