Customers are the most crucial asset for any business. No matter how big or small a company is, its success and future directly depend on new and returning customers. That’s why all companies work hard to develop and improve positive customer relations, which starts with how you communicate.
With information flowing 24/7 across a multitude of channels, customer communication has never been a more important and complex topic. In this post, we’ll be exploring the most powerful tactics you should try to improve your customer communication in 2021 and beyond.
1. Be a proactive communicator
Waiting hours to get an answer from a customer service rep is never a good feeling and could cost you a customer. To prevent this from happening, be proactive with your customer service and be the one that first lends a helping hand to customers. Studies show if you reach out to a customer proactively, you increase their satisfaction, retention and loyalty towards your brand.
The easiest way to initiate a conversation with your customer is to use a proactive live chat feature. You can set up special triggers for starting a conversation and preventing a customer from leaving your website.
The more proactive you are in your communication with customers, the better your engagement and brand reputation will be.
2. Use chatbots to automate customer communication
One of the best ways to make your customer service more efficient is to automate parts of customer communication using support tools and chatbots.
Chatbots offer faster support and can engage with your customers at any day and time, even when your customer service team is not available. They can also assist your customers across the sales journey using AI and help them make the right purchasing decision. Getting support and sales assistance at any time will result in a better customer experience.
However, you don’t want to over automate your customer communication. Instead, you should have the right balance between chatbots and your customer service reps. You can use chatbots as the first contact point and then transfer longer and more complex conversations to your real customer service reps.
3. Use positive language
When a customer comes to you with a complaint, talk to them in positive language as it can help remove the stress from the negative situation. For example, instead of saying “I can’t do that for you,” your customer service representative should say “We usually don’t do that, but let me check to see if I can make an exception for you.”
Avoid words and phrases such as “Calm down” or “Yes, but…” because they’ll likely create more tension with the customer. Instead, use one of these positive phrases:
- “How may I help you?”
- “We’ll do our best.”
- “Let me consult with my team on your question.”
- “Could you please clarify that for me?”
Having a friendly attitude when talking to customers is a great start. Treat your customer professionally, but make sure they don’t feel like a stranger. Also, you should follow the usual etiquette rules to easily improve your customer communication. Be a good listener, don’t argue with your customer, don’t interrupt them, don’t talk too much, ask direct questions, and don’t ask another question before the customer has answered the first one.
4. Always follow-up with your customers
The key to great customer communication is having a constant connection with your customers even after the initial conversation ends. The easiest way to do this is to send follow-up emails to your customers. Here are a few examples of when you can follow-up with your customers:
- If a customer has a negative experience with your company, make sure you ask for details. Find out what you can do to change the situation and make it better.
- After you’ve made a sale, find out if everything is okay with the product or service. Is the customer satisfied with what you sold them? Do they have any questions? Of course, don’t overdo it or you could come off as obnoxious and overbearing.
- If a customer leaves a positive review or you found out that they have referred you to someone, thank them. It will show that you care.
- Make a note of anniversaries, holidays, and certain milestones and contact your customers to celebrate. Prepare a holiday message to clients in advance, as the last thing you want to happen is to quickly come up with something creative because you have just remembered an important occasion.
- If a customer requests a feature and you honor that request, make them aware of the update. It will show them that you value their opinion.
Always pay attention to timing, form and content when sending a follow-up email to a client. The email should bring them value, you should never send it just for the sake of it.
5. Identify issues in advance
A great way to improve your customer communication is to predict issues or questions you know your customers might experience in the future and prepare a solution or support documents beforehand. Being prepared will also reduce your customers’ confusion about your product or service.
You can create support documents such as:
- Video tutorials
- Knowledge base
- How-to guides
Knowing what your customers want and keeping important things ready will help them find help on their own. It will also help reduce those repetitive customer interactions.
If you have the time and the means, you should also consider creating support content at a steady pace on your blog, website and social media, as you never know when your customers might need it.
6. Reply on time
You and your customer service reps should give your best effort to respond to the customers as soon as possible and in under 24 hours. This will show the customer their concerns are important to you. On the other hand, keeping a disgruntled customer waiting is a great way to agitate them even further.
To reply to your customers on time, you can use email auto-responders for every email that reaches your support inbox. It will show the customer you take communication seriously.
You should also use email templates. Instead of making your customer service team come up with custom responses to the same question every time, create email templates for the most common questions. It will help keep your customer communication consistent.
7. Everyone should know your products or service inside out
Customers can ask all sorts of questions, but they are usually related to the service and products your company offers. That’s why your employees have to be well versed with the services and products you are selling.
You have to ensure that all employees, regardless of the department they are from, are trained effectively. No matter if they write content, do outbound prospecting or fix bugs, everyone should be equipped with the right level of knowledge.
8. Be honest
In case you or your customer service reps don’t know the answer to a customer’s question, be honest with them and tell them you will get them the information they are looking for. Never wing it by saying “It could be…” or “I think it is…” Communicating like this will make you look unprofessional and unprepared.
If, for some reason, getting that info or resolving an issue takes longer than usual, communicate that with the customer. Customers are often angered because expectations are not set properly.
9. Communicate to win
When your company seeks to solve painful customers’ problems with communications, you create better relationships with them. Make sure you empower your customer service reps to ask more questions, and your customers will be happy to provide you with more information in the hopes that it will help you help them.
The answers you end up providing your customers with will almost always affect more than what they say. If you provide your customers with the right answers and resolve their problems, they will turn to you next time as their go-to resource which should play a huge part in retaining that customer for longer.
In today’s age of digital communication, when you may not be able to meet your customers face to face, having an effective customer service communication strategy in place is the key to success. Properly communicating with your customers will help your business grow and thrive while also reducing the chances of having any negative impact on the overall customer experience.
Hopefully, you are ready to put these tips into action at your company. Make sure that every detail matters in your efforts to improve customer communication. Everything from how you open up the conversation, to the tool you use makes a huge difference.
Dennis Vu, CEO and Co-founder of Ringblaze
Dennis Vu is the CEO and Co-founder of Ringblaze, a virtual business phone system company that helps teams to better serve their customers, anywhere.