Customer communication is an art. Getting it right takes time and effort, and it's tricky to ensure you're actually being helpful to your customers. It's easier than you might think to annoy them or send them communications that aren't of any value to them. Communicating in the wrong way, whether it's promotional communications or customer service, can quickly turn them away. However, there are plenty of things that businesses can do if they want to please their customers. Your customers can even look forward to hearing from you if you get it right, rather than finding communications from you an annoyance.
If you want to make sure your customers actually enjoy your communications with them, use this guide to improve your approach.
Whether sending emails or text messages, making phone calls or sending direct mail, it's important to think about when and why you're communicating with your customers. They can feel that it's completely unnecessary for you to get in touch on some occasions, and they don't want to feel like you're bothering them. Not everyone will have the same idea of when it is and isn't appropriate to get in touch with customers, especially when they don't reach out first, but there are some things you might want to consider.
- Did the customer get in touch first? This is a time when it's obviously important to respond to them as soon as you can.
- Do you have something to offer them that will deliver value? Your communications will be received better if you do.
- Are you communicating in the way they've requested? If they've expressed a preference for email, they probably won't welcome a phone call unless it's necessary.
- Do you need to give them important information? Sometimes the most important communications are announcements, news, or emergency updates.
One thing that's always important to keep in mind is whether you are providing value to your customers. There are many ways to provide value, whether it's by keeping customers updated on what's happening with your company or giving them special offers that will help them to save money. If your communications regularly provide them with extra value, your customers are more likely to appreciate and enjoy them. That could mean sending them a promo code in your emails or giving them links to your latest blog posts. It could mean calling up to offer them a discount or make sure they've booked their next appointment.
There are ways to build value into all of your communications with your customers. It's important to think about things from your customer's perspective and what they would find most valuable. Of course, occasionally, you might need to bother them with information that's important but not necessarily particularly exciting or even welcome. However, you can still ensure you get across how it's valuable for your customers. It's also helpful to get their feedback about what they gain the most value from and how you can help them more.
It's crucial to ensure you're always compliant with the law and that you follow guidelines for communicating with customers in an ethical way. If you don't, not only could it turn your customers away from you, but you could face fines or worse. There are many things to consider to ensure you get it right, including laws and general recommendations.
One of the things you need to be very careful about is sending any kind of automated or mass messaging. Both the law and industry bodies want to make sure that businesses are not spamming consumers and invading their privacy, which means there are various regulations and guidelines that you should follow. For example, if you use a toll-free text number for marketing campaigns or other communications, there are some important guidelines to follow. Businesses should look into toll-free verification, which involves verifying brands and campaigns to reduce spam messaging. While it's not a legal requirement, it does make your business more trustworthy and your communications more legitimate.
There are various other regulations to consider, which may apply to communications such as email, text messages, phone calls, and more. When you are communicating with customers, it's essential to be aware of such regulations and the right of your customers to opt out of communications that they don't want. For example, the CAN-SPAM regulations are essential to understand when communicating via email.
Communicating with customers should offer them convenience, not cause more inconvenience. If you communicate with your customers in the wrong way, it could be an annoyance for them. For example, perhaps you insist on communicating by phone. While there are occasions when this is necessary, it can sometimes be an unnecessary barrier. Many people find phone calls an intrusion or extra effort when they would prefer to communicate in other ways. Similarly, only communicating via emailcould also be inconvenient for many people, especially those who may not be very online. The best thing to do is often to offer multiple communication channels so that people can talk to you and receive communications in ways that work for them.
Another way to make things more convenient for your customers is to be flexible with when they can get in touch with you, or when you can contact them. More and more businesses are providing 24/7 customer service, although they may be using different methods to do it. One option is to use chatbots to fill in the gaps when your customer service reps aren't working. They can answer common questions and ensure the customer gets to speak to a human later if necessary. Another option is self-service information hubs online, which allow people to find the information they need whenever they need it.
If you want to make your communications a more pleasant experience for all of your customers, you need to think about accessibility. If you don't take an accessible approach, it means things will be harder for some of your customers. There are various things you need to consider, such as how to make emails readable for everyone, including those with sight loss or who may be using screen readers. Another thing to think about is the communication options you offer to people who are deaf or hard of hearing. If they can only get in touch by phone, you would ideally work with a service offering sign interpretation or text-to-speech services.
There are many resources that can help you to ensure you include all of your customers. Following the best practices recommended by disability groups can help you to get it right and ensure all of your customers receive a great experience.
Toneis something to consider carefully when communicating with customers. If it's too formal, you can often sound boring. But there are also times when the casual and friendly approach isn't really right for your brand or the services or products you offer. You should ensure you're talking to your customers in a way that works for them, whether that means sounding like their friend or ensuring your brand has an air of authority. You should know your customers and what they're expecting from you. Some might not like it if you are overly familiar, while others will be put off if you sound too formal or distant. Being knowledgeable about your product or service is a must if you want to provide value to your customersin each of your communications. In fact, it pays to be knowledgeable about not just your own products but the subject surrounding them too. For example, if you sell garden hoses, your customers will enjoy receiving advice not just about your own products but also about other topics related to gardening and landscaping. The more you know about the things that matter to your customers, the more you can deliver real value to them in all of your communications. It's always important to listen to customer feedback on a range of topics. When it comes to customer communications, it's even more crucial that you are willing to listen and take action. Give your customers ways to provide you with feedback, whether it's sending out surveys or having a dedicated email for feedback and suggestions. While it's a good idea to ask for feedback, it's also necessary to respond to it. You might not take action on every suggestion, but you should have a good idea of the general thoughts and feelings of your customers and what they might like to change.
Let your customers know that you hear them by responding to their feedback. This includes replying to reviews, whether good or bad, and letting them know how you are making improvements or solving problems.
If you want your customers to enjoy receiving communications from you, think about what they want from you. You can deliver what they're looking for, providing a good experience and plenty of value.