Communication is needed for all relationships, rather personal or professional. More importantly, effective communication is vital for building strong, long-lasting relationships. And this is something that most businesses fail to realize, which is why they find it hard to retain consistent customers. If you operate a business, your main concern most be on gaining customer loyalty, instead of taking as much money from them as you can. Because in the end, a loyal following of customers leads to your business earning great money on a consistent basis. This is because loyalty produces repeat customers, word-of-mouth marketing, and consistent referrals.
But just as great communication can lead to great outcomes, bad communication can produce negative consequences. These consequences as a business include: dissatisfied customers, frustration on both ends, and a decrease in sales. You must also remember that we live in an age were social media plays a big role in people’s lives. So an unhappy customer can post a negative critique of your business on social media, that gets shared hundreds or thousands of times. This can make it extremely hard for you to gain new customers, since the widely accepted perception is that you do not take care of your customers. And a bad reputation can be extremely hard to repair.
No matter how you communicate with your customers, you need to ensure that you do a great job at practicing effective communication. The ability to do so can prove to be extremely profitable for your business. Continue to read this post to learn 6 ways to improve your communication with your customers.
1. Be aware of what your first impression communicates
In today’s times, customers have no problem ceasing to purchase from a business that provides bad customer service. In fact, in 2017, 54% of customers did just that. In 2016, it was 49%. You must understand that customers have plenty of other providers to choose from if your business cannot provide quality customer service. Therefore, you must make it a priority to ensure that your customer service is consistently excellent. You have no choice but to step up your customer service performance, in order to retain repeat, loyal customers. Remember, it is cheaper to keep an existing customer, instead of having to constantly attract new customers.
First impressions are very important when customers first come into contact with your business. From in-person walk-ins, to phone calls, you want to ensure that customers are provided with impeccable customer service.Therefore, be sure that you are handling your customer’s request quickly and efficiently, while displaying a smile.
Decrease waiting times
Customers hate waiting, no matter if it is in line, over the phone, or via email. When they have to wait, it leads to them being frustrated, which causes them to leave negative reviews about your lack of speed. In fact, businesses that operate at a snail pace is on of the top three frustrations vented by customers.
This is why you must have automated systems in place that help speed up your ability to help waiting customers. With automation, you are able to send customers to representatives who are available to handle their needs.This ensures that their needs are addressed and handled as quickly as possible.
2. Do not use scripted responses
When you use scripted responses with your customers, they can tell that your business is not focused on providing personal experiences. This demonstrates that each customer’s individual needs are ignored, in favor of a generic approach, that is not necessarily helpful. Doing this will only increase their frustration, making it harder for you to find them a solution they find adequate. So now you are dealing with an experience that could have been avoided, if you chose to be truly helpful in the first place. Therefore, you want to ensure that your customer support team is having real conversations with your customers.
These are some tips for your support team to keep in mind when speaking to customers:
- Do not become aggressive. Rather, acknowledge the customer’s problem and communicate you are there to help them find a solution. .
- Show understanding of your customers. Even when the customer is being irate, it is important to show sympathy for their issues. Let them know that finding the right solution can take some time, which they should not have an issue with. All they are seeking in that moment is that you are aware of why their frustration exist in the first place.
- Replace negative words with positive words. When you give customers negative feedback, they usually respond with a negative reaction. In order to eliminate such an experience, provide them with positive language, even if you are delivering less than favorable news.
- Avoid using jargon. Do not use language that makes it difficult for the customer to understand what you are telling them. Instead, talk to them clearly and friendly, to help avoid any unnecessary confusion.
Provide your teams with the necessary tools
Your customer service teams need the right tools, in order to be efficient and effective at responding to customer’s needs. This helps to ensure that the resolution process goes smoothly, in order to avoid issues that could have been easily avoided. When this is done, it eliminates frustration that can develop on both sides..
This helps tremendously, when you are dealing with an angry customer who only wants to be reassured their problem can be fixed.They want to be sure that their issues are seen as being important. Therefore, you want to ensure your team is equipped with the necessary tools that can pull up a customer’s information quickly. This helps speed up the process of getting them to a solution as soon as possible, since there is not a need to gather redundant information about them over the phone.
Having all records of previous communication in front of your team makes the communication process so much easier. It helps to diffuse tensions and move forward with creating a resolution. Customers often get frustrated with support, because of their lack of accurate information.
3. Effective customer service focuses on quality communication
Just because your team should be focused on providing quicker resolutions, it does not mean that they should forget about putting quality over quantity. This happens when you create an environment that encourages your support team move to the next waiting customer in a specific amount of time.
A quick resolution does not mean that you rush to end your conversation with the customer as quickly as possible. It means that your team is focused on resolving the customer’s problems in an efficient amount of time.
Therefore, your customer support team needs to be focused on engaging with the customers on a meaningful level, instead of trying rush through as many as possible. You want your team to be trained to be friendly and helpful, so that they provide the customer with a positive experience.
A positive experience provides a rewarding outcome for both your support team and customers. You need for this to occur, if your desire is to ensure your business remains the desired provider for your customers.
4. Conclude conversations on a positive note
It is very important that you understand how you conclude with your customers is just as important as the first impression. Therefore, you want to ensure that your support team is never in a rush to hurry the customer off the phone. Doing so, can lead to a previously positive experience turning negative fairly quickly. This hurried approach can lead to the customer becoming disgusted with your process, causing them to discontinue doing business with your company.
Therefore, you want to be sure that your customer service representatives know that it is important to create a positive experience from the beginning to the end.Let them know that a few extra minutes will not reflect poorly upon them. The goal is to ensure the customer has thoroughly been serviced, so that they leave the conversation feeling happy.
Here are a few ways to conclude a conversation:
- Can I help you with any other needs today?
- Thank you for allowing me to help you today. If you have any other need, do not hesitate to contact us to help you find the appropriate solution.
- After closing the chat window, I will email you a full transcript of this chat. Contact us with any other questions, feedback you want to share.
5. Leverage Content to Engage Customers
If you want to effectively engage both customers and prospects, you need to invest in content marketing. Content marketing is essential, no matter if you have a B2B or B2C business. Both types of customers are using social media to engage with providers that currently are, or can potentially serve their particular needs. Beyond social media posts, you want to include case studies, videos, ebooks/white papers, videos, illustrations, and infographics in your content marketing approach.
Customers want content that is useful, informative, and relevant. This is why you need a strong content marketing strategy in place, in order to effectively engage your customers. Therefore, you want to provide updated content on a consistent basis, to keep your customers fully engaged
6. Focus your attention on social media
Social media can be both a blessing and curse, depending on how you utilize the platform. The ability for a piece of content to go viral at any given moment means that it is out of your control once this happens.Unfortunately, a negative piece of content is often given viral status more often than positive content.
No matter if you cannot fully control social media, it is a vital part of how you communicate with your customers. Customers use content to be educated, learn what is going on, and to share with other people they know. Most importantly, customers use social media to ask questions about your business and to engage with your business.
Therefore, treat communicating with your customers via social media as you would on the phone or through email. This means that you might have to deal with less than savory comments being written about your business by an angry customer. This comes with the territory of being a business in today’s social media age.
Even if the comments you see are bad, do not ignore them. Respond to them appropriately. The goal when doing this is to administer some type of damage control. You want to respond quickly before things get beyond your control. If you delay to do so, the customer will only become more frustrated, and invite other in to discuss their anger with your business.
You want to avoid being defensive and starting a confrontation when responding to the angry customer. Apologize for any inconvenience they experienced, and move towards finding a positive resolution. You want to calm them down and reassure them that all issues can be handled offline.
Are you prepared to effectively communicate with your customers?
You must be prepared to effectively communicate with your customers, if you want to ensure that they remain loyal to your business. This involves looking at your customers as more than money. See them as human beings, who have real feelings that matter. When you do this, you can build a long-lasting relationship with your customers, that helps your business grow and become profitable.