Great customer communication is a core part of the overall customer experience. You want it to be as good as possible because satisfied customers are the ones who keep coming back.
They are also more likely to recommend your product to others. To achieve this, you have to meet their needs, starting with how you communicate.
How do you build relationships with customers? What do you tell those who aren’t satisfied with your product? How can customers’ feedback help you learn about your brand?
This article will try to answer all these questions and equip you with actionable strategies for improving customer communication. Keep reading to find out more!
What is customer communication?
This seems like an easy answer, but many fail to understand what falls under customer communication. Simply put, it’s an ongoing dialogue between clients and businesses.
Customer communication is much more than phone conversations and email correspondence. In fact, every time a person interacts with your brand or business — it’s a type of communication. That includes users who see your ads or read your blog or PR article published in the mainstream media.
However, since there isn’t any dialogue in each of them, we will focus on those types that include correspondence.
Considering that, here are some common types of communication:
- Email conversations
- Customer support
- Sales calls
- Social media
- Live chat (or chatbots)
Why is it important to have a strong customer communication strategy?
The effectiveness of communication is not defined by communication but by the response – Milton Erickson.
When you look at the internal structure of a company, an easy-going flow of communication makes any business more effective. If your employees are all on the same page and understand each other’s requests — every project will be done faster and better.
The same could be applied to customer communication. A customer contacting your business in order to resolve an issue can be time-consuming if not done correctly.
The response time and the accuracy of information contribute to efficiency. If the problem is solved quickly, it will likely leave a positive impression on the customer.
This is quite important since people are keen on sharing their experience with a company. Customers have certain standards and expectations for companies they’re interacting with, and if your communication is subpar, they might have a negative experience.
Because of expectations, customers are more likely to share a negative experience. But, they’re also inclined to share the positive ones. The research about customer experience found that 73% of participants claim they’re likely to develop brand loyalty if they have a positive experience.
From the business’ perspective, quickly solving customers’ problems saves you a lot of time. This allows your employees more time to focus on other customers.
Now, let’s move on to the actual tips!
Best tips for improving your customer communication strategy:
#1 Provide your team with the necessary tools
As already mentioned, there are many types of communication between a business and a customer. While some users like to hear a real person’s voice, others like to communicate virtually, through social media, live chats, and emails.
So, you need to arm your team with different tools. With a proper set of gear, your team can be successful in quick problem-solving.
For example, if you have a customer call center, you must give your team software that will direct customers to the right person. Even if you don’t have a call center, a business phone system saves a lot of time and effort.
Or, if you want to include email support, plenty of software enables you to have an automated email sequence, once again boosting efficiency.
Talkdesk is one of the best problem-solving companies focused on improving customer experience. Their wide range of services and tools are used by companies all over the globe. Just check their resume, and you can see plenty of big guns investing in tools for their team.
#2 Build your strategy with an omnichannel approach
A great customer communication strategy depends on different channels. As mentioned before, users have preferences in the way they communicate with your business. So, you must interact with your audience via channels they prefer.
There are customers that will want to communicate with you through social media. Others prefer emails, while some prefer both. If you can have multiple channels, you’ll likely increase the overall customer experience.
Keep in mind, that you should focus on providing a consistent experience through all channels. In fact, 3 out of 4 customers desire a consistent experience, unrelated to how they engage with you.
So, if your target audience interacts with you on different channels, that’s great! You can know which channels are mostly used, allowing you to empower your team with the right tools to maintain successful customer communication.
If you look at the automotive company — BMW, you’ll notice they cover a lot of channels, including website live chat, social media, email, customer service call-centers, and dealerships, among others.
#3 Train your customer support team
Even when you hire the most talented support team, there is still plenty of room for error. Maybe they’re not familiar with every aspect of your business, or your approach differs from what they did at their previous jobs.
To minimize these errors, prepare a script with all the possible scenarios you can think of. Use frequently asked questions as a base of the script and give them a manual so they can learn everything about your product. Teach them how to handle a pushy customer that’s hard to calm down.
Also, make a communication guide. Your team should communicate using only positive language, and they must have a friendly attitude.
No matter how experienced and trained your team is, it’s important that you always emphasize them being proactive. A support agent that asks helpful questions or suggests additional ways they can help will most likely result in a positive experience and once again — boost efficiency.
It’s important to remember that things change quickly, so you’ll need to stay up to date with trends in executive coaching. It helps you prepare your team and answer customers’ needs successfully.
NCR, one of the leading organizations in creating digital banking software, is a great example of a company regularly training its staff, using coaches to find their weaknesses and work on them.
#4 Automate customer service
Marvelous communication strategy revolves around customers’ experience and efficiency. This doesn’t mean it should depend solely on your support or sales agents. In fact, automation can make communication even better.
Even if you have many employees working with customers, the number of calls and messages can grow overwhelmingly large. Things like unanswered calls or slow answering time can only result in a bad customer experience.
That’s why we suggest you automate some processes. This can be done in different ways, and we already mentioned a business phone system. You can have software take calls from customers, redirect them to the right person and keep them occupied for a short time before you can answer.
Other great ways to excel in customer communication are tools like chatbots or email service providers. You can have a chat on your website with predefined questions (FAQ) for users to select and also have predefined answers for your bots to reply with. With emails, you can have automated replies, such as a confirmation for an order.
Facebook for business got this covered well. A lot of their communication is automated so that they can help their customers quickly, often without the need for them to talk to someone in-person.
#5 Make valuable and relevant content
Creating content that helps your customers know how to perform a certain action, such as installing your software or requesting a service, can be beneficial. You can also make explainer videos that cover how to use your app or complete a purchase on your website.
This type of content could be in any form (text, images, videos), and it can help you be more effective and cut lost time. Additionally, it allows your customer support team to focus on the more complicated matters (and customers).
Use feedback and frequently asked questions to determine which are the pain points for your customers. Make tutorials, short descriptions, and video content to cover all possible issues your customers might encounter.
This will drastically improve your customer communication since you’ve created content that can help customers without them even reaching out to you. Also, this helps cut off customers who have minor problems that are easily solvable.
Hubspot, for instance, is a company that uses a lot of animated explainer videos for their customers, so they can educate them on all of their services and how to use them.
#6 Collect customer feedback
Customer feedback is a great way to improve communication and understand your customers. You can quickly learn if your strategy is working fine or if there is something to be fixed.
Sometimes everything runs smoothly, and your team is so invested that you don’t notice there is more room for improvement. Collecting feedback can only help you, and you should not ignore it.
You can add a pop-up after a call or a chat and ask customers to rate the interaction. This way, you will quickly know if there is space for improvement. Additionally, you’ll know which employees also need to work on their communication skills.
Facebook, once more, is a great example of a business being proactive about its feedback. They regularly send surveys, messages, and review requests to their users, which helps them improve their app.
#7 Use in-app messages
When you use email to notify customers of any update or glitches, whether it was in your app or your website, it can end up in a spam folder. We suggest that you inform your clients of updates through in-app messages.
These messages are customizable. You can choose who the recipient is and when they will receive the message. Messages can be triggered by time but also by certain actions your users take.
Waze, a navigation software, regularly uses in-app messages to inform its users of recently added services, updated maps, and new options.
#8 Follow up
Great customer communication extends after the closed sale. Taking care of your previous customers can do wonders for your business. If you want to increase retention, get more referrals and improve customer experience — follow up on your clients.
Quickly respond to the negative feedback and ask for details. Even if you solve their issue, you could check up on them, asking if they need help with something else.
Thank your customer for a positive review. You can notify them about your milestones and thank them for being a part of the process.
These follow-ups might seem irrelevant, but they send the message that you care about your customers even when you’ve already converted them.
Intercom, a famous software company that created a messaging platform, makes an effort to follow up on their customers after they’ve signed up and offers them a few directions in case they need help.
#9 Measure your results
In order to know you’re improving, you should consider measuring your results. Track which channels are getting the best results using values such as customer satisfaction metrics.
These metrics are used to rate the overall satisfaction with the service received by your customers.
Another important thing you’ll want to analyze is first response time. It’s a measurement of the average time it takes for customer support agents to respond to the company’s customer issues. This helps you know which channels are slacking the most.
But, the most important metric should be — Average resolution time. It’s a metric that counts the duration of all resolved conversations and then divides that number by the number of customer conversations that took place in a selected time period.
It’s the most crucial one since it helps you get a grip on the effectiveness of your customer communication strategy.
To have marvelous customer communication, you should start with your customer’s feedback. This could be a great first step for improvement. Collecting feedback lets you know where to look and which parts create customer dissatisfaction.
Try to expand your communication on other channels since we talked about how customers have different preferences, and you might be missing out on opportunities. Don’t forget to train your team, so they know their way around both the tools and different channels for communication.
Now, you can assert the situation and have a better understanding of which tools can help you the most. We recommend that you automate some parts of communication. Automation gives you speed in solving problems while saving you precious time.
Don’t forget to create content that’s based on the most common problems your customers run into when interacting with your business. This way, you get a satisfied customer and a problem solved in no time. Also, follow up to make sure that an issue is fixed and makes your company stand out from the crowd.
Probably the most important tip is measuring your results. If you don’t measure, how else would you know if investing in tools and staff training pays off?
Use these tips, and you’ll be on the right path for marvelous customer communication!
Written by our guest writer Dennis Vu, the CEO and Co-founder of Ringblaze.
Ringblaze is a virtual business phone system company that helps teams to better serve their customers, anywhere.