5 Ways To Improve Customer Communication
Great communication is key to a successful business to land new customers, build repeat customers and get amazing reviews. See our 5 tips for improving your communication with customers.
Communication between your business and your customer defines a great or a not-so-great outcome. With so much on the line, strengthening your customer communication should always be at the top of mind.
Recent data from GatherUp analyzed over 175,000 online reviews from businesses in home services, professional services, financial services, and the auto industry to focus on communication. We filtered the following terms related to communication: help, communicate, answer, question, talk, call, message, request, and more.
We looked at this data to answer two questions:
- With negative experiences (<1.5 stars), how often was communication referenced?
- For positive reviews (4.5+ stars), how often was communication referenced?
Communication impacts positive and negative experiences. It makes or breaks customer sentiment for your business.
With over one-third of highly negative reviews mentioning communication (36.65%), poor or failed communications is an aspect of losing a customer. Their impact is even bigger when you consider they won’t be a repeat customer and won’t refer others. Worse, they’re so upset, they’ve made efforts to tell others not to use your business.
In 20.13% of highly positive reviews, communication is part of that great experience.
With review data showing the importance of great communication, let’s look at five common sense ways you can improve your communication with customers.
1- Welcome questions
It might take a bit of focus to realize where you fall on these questions, but they’re important. How do you position your communication with customers or prospects? Is it sales focus only? Do you make it clear you want to help?
Take a look at your website as if you were visiting for the first time. What are your calls-to-action (CTA)? Do they help visitors researching and learning if your business matches their need? If so, your CTAs will be offering to help answer questions or connect visitors with experts on your team? Alternatively, is every CTA focused on buy now or order? While those help drive business for customers comfortable with your company, it’s not the first step a newly interested prospect will take before making a decision.
To ensure your business puts out a welcome mat, demonstrate you’re available for help, advice, and guidance as much as you are for closing a sale. Creating a brand and reputation that you are a great advisor, willing to answer questions, leads to more business and referrals.
How can text messaging help
Texting is a preferred channel for asking questions because it’s easy, fast, and asynchronous. Allowing prospects and customers to ask questions right from your website via text or direct texts is a big win.
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2- Be proactive with customer communication
As the business, you should be leading communication. Many of the best customer experiences are because the business did such a great job leading the experience and making it easy to achieve the desired outcome or even better.
Helpful tips to be proactive with you communication are:
- Reach out first. Don’t wait for your customer to ask for help. Learn their needs.
- Guide them. Always outline the next step in your process, even when small, to ensure they progress.
- Invite questions. Ask what else you can help with before you close any interaction.
How text messaging can help
Text messaging is a great channel to increase customer touch points without overwhelming your customer. Texting makes it easy to add touch points to your process for reminders, follow-ups, and check-ins. Using features like scheduled messages and shortcuts with saved replies make this efficient for your business.
The example text above shows how to be proactively guiding to the next step while being open for questions. Even something as simple as making the customer aware they will get a reminder text is a win.
Customers don’t like surprises, but they love exact expectations being set and fulfilled.
3- Bolster 2-way communication channels
89% of consumers want to engage with brands and businesses through 2-way messaging. Consumers have also shown that text messaging is their preferred way to communicate when compared to voice calls or emails.
Adding text is a great way to improve communication, but you can leverage more messaging tools as well. Facebook Messenger is a popular messaging choice as 82% of Facebook users engage with Messenger regularly.
Via search and maps, Google’s Business Messages help prospects and customers ask questions or get help via messages by displaying a chat button in your Google Business Profile or on your website’s site links.
Adding one, two, or all three of these messaging tools to your communication offering can improve your customer communication. It gives your customer choices to use channels they already prefer.
How messaging can help
Since the focus of this tip was messaging, we’ve stated the obvious pf being where your customer is at. An aspect to point out though is how a good business text messaging app can streamline your efficiency, management, and tracking of your efforts.
Features like saved replies, auto-replies, scheduled messages, and the ability to transfer conversations among team members are just some of the wins.
4- Follow-up like a pro
Solid customer communication includes a constant connection with customers even after a conversation moment has come to an end. Here are a few examples of follow-up communication:
- Follow-up on pre-sales questions and interest. What can you answer or help with to make the next step happen?
- Find out if everything was satisfactory after the sale or completed service. Are there any questions? Is anything else needed? Be genuine in your communication wanting to ensure it was a success.
- Respond to negative feedback and ask for details on what went wrong. Figure out what you can do to change the situation for the better.
- Thank your customer for a positive online review.
- Ask for referrals.
- Inform them about a new product, service or feature you know they would be interested in. When done right this shows you’re connected to your customers needs.
- Acknowledge anniversaries or milestones of your customers. “Congrats on owning your boat for a year.”
Creating a follow-up process is not only great communication, it can make your business stand out from the competition.
How text messaging can help
Simple follow-ups and check-ins are easy with quick text messages. It allows you to ensure things are on track and opens the door for your prospect or customer to communicate quickly and efficiently with you. Trading voicemails on small touch points like this would be frustrating to many customers, but a short text can be perfect.
5- Make customer feedback easy
In order to improve at anything, you’ll want to measure your current progress. Asking your customers and prospects for feedback is a great way to measure, learn, and improve your business. After every sale or completed service you should have a process for collecting customer feedback.
The best companies make this feedback easy at any point in the process as sometimes the end might be too late to rectify something that has gone wrong. Make it easy for your customers to give feedback so you can help make it right.
Asking for a Google review or other 3rd-party review is great for your marketing, but 1st-party reviews (direct review to you) is the best way to get quantity and quality feedback. I’ve long felt the best feedback process captures both 1st and 3rd-party reviews so the business can learn about the customer experience and gain marketing benefits.
How text messaging can help
If you’ve already been using business text messaging in your process and in the areas we covered above, you have a 5-star customer experience. Being a great communicator leads to great feedback and reviews.
If you did miss the mark at any point, your customer has an easy channel in SMS to give you feedback so you correct the situation. Asking for feedback along the way demonstrates your care about their experience and are willing to listen if something isn’t right.
It also allows you to get great feedback to know what stands out to your customers and what members of your team are making a big impact. Listening to your customers better than your competitors is a big advantage.
Go Improve Your Customer Communication
Any one or more of these 5 tips can be quickly implemented to improve your customer communication. Great communication benefits your business all around from the customer experience, repeat customers, to referrals, to online reviews and more.