10 Best Practices in Customer Communication
Effective communication practices are just as important for your business as investing in the right software. In dealing with customers they are actually essential, whether you contact the clients in person, via phone call or through online channels. Here are 10 best practices in customer communication that will help you increase the possibility of a sale.
1. Aim at the right target
Have you ever been offered a bank loan that you didn’t need? Chances are, rather than thinking ‘perhaps I should consider borrowing 20 000’ you spent the rest of the conversation impatiently waiting for the consultant to hang up.Audience targeting is a must. Advertisers used to reach the biggest number of consumers possible in hopes of attracting the right audience in the process. Luckily, now we have the blessing that is online marketing. Online marketing allows you to measure several factors that can help you track the people interested in your product and reach out to them. Some digital marketing tools offer contextual targeting and socio-demographic data. Moreover, there are also plenty of digital business solutions that make addressing the right audience easy. LiveCall,for instance, combines targeting with communication.LiveCall does not just equip you with a user-friendly device for inbound calls. The tool offers range of features that help targeting your campaign, such as visitor filtering. Ensure your business visibility online and make your customers come to you when they are interested.
2. Keep your promise to be available.
It’s common knowledge that customers want to talk to a real person who will tackle their issue quickly. Listening to on hold music for minutes is so frustrating, some callers may decide to give up in the process. To make matters worse, those who last are often redirected to voicemail. As a result, once the customer finally gets to speak to a consultant, the conversation is rarely a pleasant experience for any of the parties. Instead of answering the customer’s questions, the consultant needs to apologize for the long response time and little vital information is delivered, if any. Is your goal to guarantee high quality customer service? In that case, inform your customers when they can reach you exactly and keep your promise to be available.
3. Do not assume all customers want the same thing
Old style call center approach says all conversations should be based on scripts. While a little cheat sheet to guide the conversation is always a good idea, strictly following the script is not. When you quote the text word for word, you might come across as impersonal and fake. This is not a great improvement over the voicemail instructions. Consider organizing communication workshops in your company. The effort to form a real connection with customers will definitely prove worthwhile in the future.
4. Speak your customer’s language
Great many of your customers are not specialists in your field. And while it is completely normal for them not to know the details, one side of the conversation must be an expert. More often than not, call center employees and consultants are college students with no specialist knowledge on any subject. Their ‘training’ is limited to reading a summary that can probably be easily found on your website. Respect your customer’s time and your employees’ nerves and use more customized approach to communication. Instead of instructing random consultants to offer random products to everyone from your contact base, try a different approach. Hire people you can train to become experts and make the customers call them. Consider locating communication widgets in different tabs of your website and redirect particular issues to specialists. Quick and professional service will increase the possibility of sale.
5. Know the ropes
As we mentioned in point 4, your customers need to feel that they are talking to a specialist. Some questions might prove too detailed for consultants, but they should never remain unanswered. Make sure that you are updated on latest trends, competition offer and, above all, your own product features. If a consultant informs you about a question they were not able to answer, prepare an adequate explanation and come back to the client yourself.
6. Avoid close-ended responses
In many cultures and social circles conversation is considered an art. Nobody expects you to court your customer over a cup of tea, but some basic rules that drive all successful conversations should be followed. One of them is the rule of quantity. Try to avoid close-ended responses to customer questions, such as: ‘Yes’, ‘No’, ‘Sure’, ‘Perhaps’. These words not only don’t fuel the conversation, they can quickly kill it. When asked ‘Do you offer visitor filtering’, instead of answering ‘Sure’ use: ‘Yes, and all the information we find is going to be available through your website’. Sounds much better, doesn’t it?
7. Keep calm
Whatever happens, don’t lose your nerve. You have probably heard an old truth about customer service – the work would be much easier if it weren’t for the customers. In your customer communication experience you are going to meet nice, polite people as well as difficult ones. Regardless of who you are talking to, keep calm. Distance yourself from the person on the line. If you are about to break, inform the caller that you will be back soon and take a deep breath before continuing.
8. Address the customer’s issue
While it is important to build a good relationship with your customer never forget that they reach to you for information, not a small talk. Politeness is more than welcome but you should not go overboard. There are all kinds of customers. While some may be eager to tell you about their holidays in Mallorca, others will mistake your politeness for nosiness and unprofessional behavior. They all, however, will be satisfied with a polite greeting, reliable knowledge and a promise to answer all their questions. Stick to the facts.
9. Sum up the key points
When you answer a customer call, use the science. So called serial position effect, introduced by Herman Ebbinghaus, describes a tendency to remember only the beginning and the very end of information given while almost completely neglecting the material in between. Instead of trying to impress the customer with your in-depth knowledge of the product, begin with answering their question. If the issue is complex, focus on the essence and try to repeat the key facts at the end of the call. During exceptionally long calls you might also note down the most important information and sum it up before saying goodbye to the customer.
10. Leave them wanting more
As we already established conversation should be informative, but not too long. Customers are not looking for lectures on the subject. Informative response is what they ask for and you should deliver. Still, it wouldn’t be marketing if you weren’t trying to sell, right? Instruct your consultants to mention and briefly describe one or two additional features of the product. If the quality mentioned is particularly appealing to the client, they will want to come back sooner than you think.
Successful customer communication can significantly improve your relationship with the clients. It can also bring many opportunities for long-lasting business relationships. Whether you decide to implement the above rules in your business or not, remember about one important thing: don’t just talk to your customers, communicate with them.