Effective customer communication is crucial for the success of any business. However, a surprising number of companies don't put enough focus on optimizing their communications. The result? High customer churn, low satisfaction, and missed revenue opportunities.
In this post, we'll share 5 proven tips to enhance your customer communications. By following these strategies, you’ll see higher engagement, increased sales, and happier customers.
Why is customer communication important?
Strong customer communication isn’t just nice to have – it’s a must for business success. Effective communication leads to increased sales and revenue by removing friction in the buying process. This results in higher conversion rates and order values. When communication is clear, helpful, and timely, customers have a better experience which drives higher satisfaction scores.
Valued customers who receive quality communication are also less likely to take their business elsewhere, reducing churn. Two-way communication channels provide insights into customers' needs, wants, and pain points. This customer data can be used to improve products, services, and messaging.
Consistent, meaningful messaging also helps form an emotional connection between customers and brands, creating stronger brand affinity. It's 5-25x cheaper to retain existing customers than acquire new ones, so communication plays a key role in customer retention and reducing marketing costs.
Customers who are communicated with well become loyal brand advocates who are willing to recommend the company to others. In an increasingly commoditized marketplace, excellent communication also differentiates brands from competitors.
In summary, communication is the lifeblood of customer relationships and essential for business success. Companies that invest in optimizing their customer communications will gain substantial benefits across metrics like revenue, satisfaction, retention, and customer lifetime value.
14 proven strategies to improve your customer communications
1. Be proactive and follow-up
Most customers will only get in touch with you if they have an issue or a complaint. That means you're only really learning from people who have had a negative experience. What about those who had a good one, or a so-so one? What about those who liked the product somewhat, but have a few ideas about how it could work better for them?
In an increasingly busy workplace environment, most people won't reach out if they don't like your product. They'll simply stop using it and you'll never hear from them again.
Always be proactive with your communications. Instead of waiting for people to come to you to tell you what they think: go to them. Send follow-up emails or calls a week or so after you sold your product. Ask people how they're getting on, and if there's anything they need help with. This is a hugely effective tool. You'll learn tons more this way, and will be able to retain more customers.
2. Be active on every channel
People like to communicate in a whole host of different ways these days. For some, they love the instant ease of social media, others still like the tried and tested email. Others still prefer to use the phone.
If you want to really be there for your customers, and have as complete a communication strategy as possible, you'll need to be active on every channel. From LinkedIn to Facebook to Twitter, as well as on the phone, via email, and even via post. Don't ignore any channel, as you could be ignoring a certain type of customer.
3. Show some personality and give valuable content for free
To help communicate your brand and your goals to new audiences, show some personality.
Try posting videos to YouTube, show some key tips or offer some other value. People love this sort of content, but they'll also enjoy seeing more of you and your team. This will actually eliminate any barriers they might have had when it comes to reaching out.
If they've seen you talk, heard what you have to say and have at least some idea of what you're about, they'll be far more likely to send a message or open up a further line of communication.
4. Make sure your support staff are well-trained, friendly and efficient
All three of these things are hugely important in a modern communication environment. Any technical issue will need solving by someone who knows what they're talking about (fully trained), but someone who's also quick and friendly. These sorts of things are a must.
5. Offer 24/7 support
It's no good only fixing problems on a Tuesday afternoon. If you really want to compete as a modern, global business you need 24/7 support options.
6. Use automation
While the personal touch is great, automation can still be an efficient way to solve minor issues. There are chatbots these days that are incredibly convincing. Using automation can help speed up your processes and answer more queries quickly, but you should always make it easy for someone to speak to a real person if they need to. Don't be one of those businesses that pretend their automated chatbot is a real person (most people can spot the difference), or make it difficult for them to click through to a real person.
7. Create personalized account managers
If someone does a lot of business with you, give them a personalized account manager. Someone they can phone directly with any issues they have. This is huge for brand loyalty, and a great personal touch to make your important customers feel valued.
8. Use bespoke offers
Use the right software to collect information about your customers and what they like or don't like. This will help you create personalized offers that are just right for them, and could also help with customer loyalty.
9. Collect feedback
While reaching out to customers individually can go a long way, it isn't really sustainable on a large scale. To get real data on the overall thoughts of a larger base of your customers, make sure you offer feedback forms and with other methods to find out what your customers are thinking. Make sending feedback as simple as possible to reduce barriers to entry.
10. Make sure all communications are two-way
We've already touched on this a number of times in this article. Make sure you listen to customers as well as speak to them. Always make it easy for them to get back in touch. Ask them questions at the end of support tickets or in follow-up emails to make sure everything worked to their satisfaction.
11. Overdeliver on complaints
The only way to turn a potential negative view of your business or products is to overdeliver when something goes wrong. Don't just fix the problem, offer them a discount or reduction in their fees. Send them a free gift or other promotional item. It doesn't have to be expensive, but it can be a big factor in improving your relationships with customers.
12. Measure metrics
When you've got the right data, you’ll need to calculate certain metrics like customer retention rates, customer values and more. All of this can help you see how successful improving your customer relationships have been over time.
13. Don't claim to do things you can't
Some businesses simply try to sell their products or services with unfounded claims to try and appeal to as many people as possible. But this isn't always the best way. Communicate effectively why your products are right for someone, but also why they might not be right for others. Then you'll get customers who are far more likely to be happy with what you gave them.
14. Offer incentives
Some people simply haven't got the time to fill out a feedback form, or they just can't be bothered. Offer a discount coupon for their next purchase as an incentive. This will not only make them more likely to give you the vital info you've been looking for, but also make them more likely to make another purchase with you, it's really a win-win.
Hopefully, some of these tips are enough to get you started on supercharging your customer communications strategies. When used together, you'll be building a powerful platform for all of your customer relationships to flourish.