Plus 11 More Bonus Tips & Tools
As business owners and entrepreneurs, we constantly walk a high-wire between getting the word out and annoying our customers with too much communication. Of course, we want to do the first without ever doing the second. The truth is, we’re all inundated with sales messages each day, and cutting through the communication noise can feel challenging. Fortunately, there is an art—and a science—to effective customer communication. And, while it could be daunting, managing communication on the front end is well worth the effort.
Why Make Good Customer Relationships & Communication Important
“If you just communicate, you can get by. But if you communicate skillfully, you can work miracles.”
– Jim Rohn
According to Salesforce, 54% of customers think companies and their agents need to fundamentally transform how they engage and build relationships. And according to the same research, two-thirds of customers expect personal messages and communication tailored to their last interaction with your brand. Customers want you to understand both them and their needs–and even anticipate their needs.
Cookie-cutter communication and information doesn’t cut it anymore. And keeping customers in the know isn’t optional. In today’s marketing world, customer experience is the key to business longevity. When you take the time to build community, serve customers through product knowledge, and offer proactive, personal communication you will reduce support issues, build loyalty, and increase repeat business.
But similar to Goldilocks and the Three Bears, you could communicate with customers too little, too much, or just enough. So, how can you judge how much communication is just right? Here are six reasons to reach out to your customers.
6 Reasons to Plan Effective Customer Communication
If you’re wondering whether to hit “send” on that email or you’re looking for the right reasons to keep in touch with your customers, consider these six touchpoints on the customer journey.
- Event. As the saying from Field of Dreams goes—”If you build it, he will come.” If you’re planning an event, let your customers know. It’s OK to use multiple forms of technology to get the information out (e.g., phone, text, web announcement, email, postcard, Twitter, Facebook, etc.). Of course, not everyone pays attention to every form of digital communication; we all have our preferences. That’s why it’s important to reach people where they are spending their time and in the way they prefer to communicate.
- Update. Get the word out fast. If you’ve added, changed, or improved upon your services, your customer base will want to know that you’re working hard for them. Earn your customers’ business by communicating and creating a dialogue.
- Reward. Incentives, incentives, incentives! Let’s face it—in this economy, we’re all looking for a good deal. So, give your customers what they’re looking for. Coupons, offers, and free deals are the best way to reel in a bigger customer base and create a word-of-mouth campaign.
- Follow-up. Whether it’s good, bad, ugly, or something in between, always get in touch with your customers. Thank them for their loyalty and apologize (Yes, I said it!) when something goes wrong. A simple “I’m sorry” goes a long way to support your customers’ needs rather than sweeping them under the rug.
- Cancellation. Your customers’ time is just as valuable as yours, so let your customers know if something falls through. They may be disappointed, but at least they’ll remember you for extending some respect instead of disregarding them altogether.
- Conversation. Invite your customers to chat on your website, blog, or social media. Ask for opinions on upcoming products and services. Or throw a relevant topic up for discussion out for customer feedback. Your customers will gladly give their opinion, insights, and feedback on company changes. Get them involved in conversations!
Follow these six rules of effective engagement for communication, and your customers will appreciate your support and loyalty.
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Need a New Communication Strategy/Plan/Tools? Here are 10 Things to Consider
Whether your company management needs to build a communication strategy from scratch, revise your existing plan, or invest in new tools or software, there’s a lot to consider. To start, here are some tips for developing a client communication strategy.
3 Tips for Developing a Modern Customer Communication Strategy
Marketing to existing and potential customers today isn’t what it was a decade ago–or even just a few years ago. The same is true for both customer service communication and customer experience. So, as you’re developing a company communication strategy, here are three things to consider before you get started.
- Go where your customers (and prospects) are. If your customers aren’t using Facebook, it’s best not to invest much time in that channel. Would your customers prefer to communicate via phone, email, live chat, social media, and in-person communication? Ask them! Using the right communication channel is the best way to get your message in front of both customers and prospects.
- Establish a brand voice. Once you know where to communicate, you need to figure out how. Developing an effective Brand Style Guide is one of the best ways to improve the context and quality of your content and increase brand awareness. A Brand Style Guide document covers preferred forms of communication, preferred terminology to use, specific language to avoid, and much more.
- Be consistent. Speaking of brand voice and content, consistent communication is key. According to content research from Optinmonster, 57% of marketing companies say they’ve gained customers through blogging on their website. So, if you’re not communicating with your customers through blog articles, it’s worth considering.
3 Tips for Building a Communication Plan
After you build an effective strategy, next comes a communication plan. If your company is in the planning phase of your communication, keep this information in mind:
- Ask your customers what they need. Customer insight is one of the most valuable growth tools. When you’re struggling to gain new business, ask your current customers how you’re company is doing. It’s more expensive to obtain a new customer than to keep the ones you already have, so stay in touch and give them what they need! Find out what your customers need and get their take on ways you can improve your service.
- Look at the competition. As a business owner today, you are competing with your clients’ last best experience. That’s why it’s essential to be aware of your competition and to adjust your customer communication and brand message accordingly. You can also stay up to date on industry trends with Gartner.
- Establish metrics for success. The only way to improve your results is to test and measure your communication performance data. As you’re developing a new communication plan, make sure you have metrics and tools in place to help you keep a pulse on how things are going. If blogs are part of your communication plan, for example, you may want to track page views, time on site, or search engine rankings (SERPs). If an email newsletter is part of your plan, then pay attention to open rates, click-throughs, and lead generation.
Wondering which technology tools can help make this all possible? We’ve put together an overview of must-have communication tools.
4 Software & Communication Tools That Are a Must-Have in 2021
From artificial intelligence (AI), such as cookies, to collaborative project management and everything in between, which communication management tools are worth your company’s investment? Here are four digital communication tools we consider must-haves for every business in 2021:
- CRM – A Customer Relationship Manager, also known as a CRM or customer communication management software, is a great way to keep all of your communication organized in one place. Remember the stat we shared earlier about personalized, proactive communication? Having a well-organized CRM is the first piece of the puzzle. Keep track of customer milestones and make notes about every communication and interaction to serve them better and find opportunities to both delight and awe. You may choose tools like HubSpot, Salesforce, or Monday.com.
- Chatbots – Don’t be afraid of adding AI to your website! Adding chatbots to your website is an easy, cost-effective way to keep good lines of communication open. By automating basic interactions and communications, you’ll make more time to focus on high-level strategy and business growth. And your customers will appreciate getting quick responses to their questions too.
- Customer Journey Maps – If you aren’t creating a Customer Journey Map already, now is the time to start using them. A Customer Journey Map will provide details about your customer experience, how they find your business, and how they interact with your business along the way. By detailing these customer touchpoints, you’ll be able to improve your customer experience. (P.S. At Precise Creative, we’re obsessed with our customers. And we can help you map and improve your customer journey, plus provide customer personas and inspiration boards too.)
- Email Automation – If you’re still relying on Outlook to communicate with your customers, it may be time for a communication tools upgrade. According to Constant Contact, 72% of customers prefer email as their primary channel for business communication. With so many good, cost-effective email automation tools available, knowing which one to pick could be the hardest part. Keap and MailChimp are two additional great options that integrate with your CRM and offer robust reporting. An email automation tool helps you polish your email communication, gauge what’s working well and what’s not, and build templates so you can easily stay in touch with your customers.
Make Client Communication Your Competitive Differentiator
Ready for a bonus communication tool? If this all sounds overwhelming, we suggest hiring a professional writer and/or marketing team for every company.
At Precise Creative, we help businesses build their brands through high-quality marketing, content, communications, and thoughtful customer journeys. Are you ready to take the first step?
Make Client Communication Your Competitive Differentiator.
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