Communication is at the heart of all our meaningful connections. When it comes to business, often some of the most meaningful connections you can make (aside from with your team!) are with your customers. How you communicate dictates how receptive your customers are to what you communicate. Good customer communication can improve your customer’s experience, engagement, loyalty, and ultimately, your bottom line.
Regardless of your business size or industry, customer communication matters. Here are a few actionable ways our clients have improved their customer communication while navigating uncertain times during COVID:
Be proactive, not reactive.
Due to the unprecedented nature of COVID, many of us were not able to anticipate the changes it would bring and how it would affect our customers. Despite this, many of our clients identified a need to communicate proactively in order to keep their customers and employees safe.
In the event of internal cases, clients have established COVID communication lines to call customers and respond to their concerns in real-time. Our first clients to adopt this practice are great examples of leaders who stay ahead of the curve.
Choose quality over quantity.
As the majority of us have shifted to remote working, you may have also noticed an uptick in communication. While it’s crucial to keep customers in the loop, the barrage of notifications can be overwhelming and distracting.
Be realistic and intentional when it comes to customer communication. By providing credible, concise, and necessary information you’re able to keep customers updated and show that you care while still being respectful of their time.
Provide additional, accessible support.
Customers are navigating business unusual too, and they’re looking for more answers. What are your hours of operation? Are you still open? How long can I expect my order to take? Without the ease and reliability of in-person interactions, many of our clients have made themselves more accessible to communicate with customers and answer questions.
Although you can’t physically ‘meet customers where they are’ right now, you can do so virtually by providing 24/7 customer service through different channels like live chat, email, telephone, and help desks. Make sure you inform customers about new channels, and that they are clear, visible, and accessible from your website.
Keep communication personal and authentic.
While customers may expect you to have all the answers, it’s still important to show you’re human too. Be transparent and honest if you don’t in fact have all the answers or you’ve made a mistake. When possible, personalize communications with your customers and address their needs on an individual basis.
Sometimes ‘going off-script’ is more genuine, and ultimately more relatable when building common ground for understanding.
Set your team up for success.
Remember: happy employees make for happy customers. You can start by making sure your internal communications are fine-tuned and well-supported across all departments. Encourage teams to share customer preferences, trends, and changes with one another and your leadership team. In turn, this will allow you to tailor your communication strategy through the eyes of your customer.
Most importantly, continue to ask your employees on the customer service frontlines how you can better support them. As COVID-related work absences began to rise, many of our clients looked to strengthen internal communication and better support employees.
One way they did this was by introducing designated absentee lines for employees that called in sick. Comprehensive symptom screenings ensure the safety of everyone while also giving managers more time to coordinate staffing. Another way they improved customer communication was by providing reception overflow coverage for those days when it feels like everyone is calling at once.
Ultimately, these clients showed that the easiest place to start improving customer communication is by caring for your team and your customers — especially during times when they can use extra peace of mind.
For more free tips, tricks, and tools to help your business thrive, visit our resource library!