5 Things to Remember When Communicating With Customers
Effective communication with customers has never been more important, especially as we head into economic uncertainty. Remember these five tips when you're talking to your customers.
Communicating effectively with customers is essential for the success of any organization. And in today's connected world, consumers expect seamless and consistent experiences across all channels, from email and SMS text to social media and live chat. Omnichannel communications enable businesses to meet these expectations by providing a unified and integrated experience for their customers. This not only enhances the customer journey but also helps to build brand loyalty and trust.
Reaching the customer on the right channel with just the right message at just the right time is key to improving customer satisfaction. My company's recent survey found that more than two-thirds (68%) of leaders of small and medium-sized businesses surveyed said access to an omnichannel platform was vital to their business' success in the next 12 months.
Using an omnichannel platform allows a brand to capture all interactions with a customer and transition an exchange started on one platform to another. For example, a customer might reach out to a company's support team on Twitter with a question about their account. The support team can respond to the customer's tweet and provide them with the information they need immediately. If the customer needs further assistance, the support team can ask for the customer's email address or phone number and continue the conversation through one of those channels. This allows the customer to choose the communication method that is most convenient for them, and it also allows the support team to provide a consistent, seamless experience across all channels.
For businesses, using an omnichannel platform that captures all communications with a customer, regardless of the platform used, can provide a single source of truth that makes it easy to access the information they need and receive timely and personalized responses to their queries — and customer satisfaction is a leading factor in customer engagement. By using a variety of channels, businesses can reach out to customers in the way they prefer and encourage them to engage with the brand.
Once you have the right technologies in place, however, how can you ensure that your content is resonating with customers? Here are five guidelines to keep in mind when creating content.
1. Use clear and concise language
As a rule, when communicating with anyone — whether a colleague, client, prospect or customer — it's important to use clear and concise language. Avoid using jargon or technical terms that might be confusing or difficult to understand. Instead, use simple, straightforward language that can be easily understood by everyone. In other words, don't call it "a meaningful statistical downturn," call it what it is: a recession.
2. Listen actively
Again, this is an essential skill for any communication, but for customer-facing brands, it is of utmost importance. Active listeners pay attention to what the other person is saying, asking questions to clarify their points and providing feedback to demonstrate that they are listening.
For brands, active listening can facilitate customer engagement and can potentially stave off a poor experience. Airlines and other travel brands are noted for their ability to address customer issues via social media. The use of social platforms, text and communication apps like SMS text and WhatsApp have become so prevalent in the industry that some have discontinued traditional phone support.
3. Communicate frequently
Regular communication is key to ensuring that your customers are engaged and up to speed on the latest products, services or special offers. Especially during busy or hectic periods — such as the run-up to the holidays for retailers or the summer travel season for the hospitality industry — it's important to communicate freely to prevent misunderstandings, keep everyone informed and maintain customer satisfaction.
4. Use the right channels
As we stated earlier, choosing the right communication channels is also important for effective customer communications. In today's digital world, there are many options to choose from — email, instant messaging, video conferencing, social media, SMS text — so it's important to leverage the channels preferred by your customers and that are the most appropriate for the situation and information you are relaying.
5. Be open and transparent
Transparency is also crucial for effective customer communication. When communicating with customers — especially when sharing potentially negative news — it's important to be open and transparent about what you are doing, why you are doing it and what the expected outcomes are. This can help build trust and foster loyalty.
Keeping the lines of communication open has never been more important for brands looking to maintain customer engagement and satisfaction. It also has never been easier. Customers and brands have a wide array of platforms on which to engage, depending on the situation and type of interaction. Regardless of the platform used, brands that communicate with customers clearly and frequently will reap the rewards through repeat business from loyal customers.
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