How You Can Improve Communication With Your Customers
Communication is king. It’s true with every relationship that you’ll have, including the relationship between you and your customers. Poor communication can frustrate your clients and customers. It can reach the point that, even when they otherwise value your product or service, they may choose to do business with another company instead.
On the other hand, good communication can help you to successfully deliver products or services that your customers will appreciate. They will take note of this, and will trust your company more. In today’s world, trust is hard to come by and easy to lose.
Customer satisfaction and loyalty will ensure that your customers come back for more. Not only that, but your customers may recommend you to other people, either through word of mouth or via social media. Here are some ways to keep a healthy line of communication between your company and customers.
People value honesty and accuracy, and it’s important to make sure that your company has a reputation for such. The more that your customers know about the processes of your business, including regular updates and any pertinent information, the more they will be comfortable.
While it may tempting to sweep any errors under the rug, this is a trap that can ruin any progress that you’ve made so far. Most customers accept that delays and other issues may crop up, especially when they know exactly what’s going on and how you plan to deal with them. Communicate as soon as possible and work quickly to correct the mistake, letting your client know what’s happening. If this is an issue that can be repeated, then take steps to prevent that.
Another way to keep your customers or clients on your side is to ensure that any changes in your products or services are communicated as soon as possible. This is especially important if the change will affect your client in some way.
Be Easy to Reach and Quick to Respond
If your customers can’t easily reach your company, communication becomes more difficult from the beginning. Give them a variety of options of communication, as different customers prefer different approaches.
The most common methods of communication include:
- Telephone communication, where the customer can ring your business and contact you via a receptionist or customer service agent.
- Email, where you and your customers can correspond via email.
- Instant messaging, either through your website or another chat service.
- Video conferencing, which allows you to hold meetings with customers or clients from a distance.
- In-person meetings, which can either refer to a customer entering your shop to make a direct complaint or comment, or to an arranged meeting between you and a customer or client.
- Social media, which is primarily used by companies to advertise and let potential customers know about any changes or news to do with their business.
Ideally, you should facilitate most, if not all, of these platforms. Admittedly, a smaller business might not be constantly available. This is especially true if you’re the only one running your business, as there will be times when you need to be away from your work and your customers. Even if there are a few who work with your business, there will be limits.
However, this is another aspect where you can be transparent. If you know you won’t be contactable, then let your customers know in advance so that they can make any needed adjustments.
In any case, your customers should be able to easily contact your company and communicate with them whenever they need to raise a concern or ask a question. There are a few ways to ensure that your company is always contactable, even outside of work hours.
Email and social media can be sent and received at any hour, although you should aim to respond as soon as you can. When it comes to emails, your clients may appreciate an automated email informing them that the message has been received and that your team can work on it. The automated reply informs the customer that they haven’t sent the email to the wrong address if nothing else.
Social media, on the other hand, is a far less formal way of communicating with your customers. In most cases, customers use social media to publicly mention your company, both to commend it or to complain about it. They will either direct the comment directly to your company or in passing. In either case, you are intended to see the comment. If it’s a complaint, the best thing to do is to directly contact the customer in private so that you can deal with the issue.
Many customers, however, prefer to use the telephone to communicate with your company. This can raise issues, as every conversation takes up one member of staff. While you can automate telephone calls to some extent, customers prefer speaking to humans. A telephone answering service can be extremely helpful, taking on some of these calls for you.
Good communication goes both ways. You should communicate with your customers clearly and understandably, while also being open for them to raise any concerns and questions with your company. This is an aspect of good customer service.
Customer service is involved in every step of dealing with your customers. It should come into play before, during, and after the service or product is delivered. A well-trained customer service team can turn a complaint into a positive experience for all parties involved.
Problems will crop up, most customers will remember how your company deals with them, rather than the problem itself. The principles of good communication are vital for smooth customer relations, helping you to retain customers even through rockier situations.
As well as directly dealing with customer concerns, good customer service can help you to avoid these problems. By using surveys and paying attention to what your customers, clients, and employees have to say, you can constantly improve your product or service. This will help you to keep your customers on your side.