This era of the internet and social media has opened horizons for online communications, allowing business owners to communicate instantly with customers. Have you ever thought about your customers' preferences in regards to how you communicate with them?
Communicating with your customers is without a doubt one of the most important parts of a successful business story. If you do it effectively, you can establish a positive brand reputation, professional credibility and gain future work opportunities.
According to tawk.to research, customers want to communicate with businesses, with 38% saying they’d like new product updates, 37% want personalized promotions, 29% want to be asked to receive alerts on their phone and 27% want businesses to offer help before problems arise.
The cornerstone of online communication is a lead - an email address or a contact. You can collect them easily:
1. Ask for a contact when a customer visits one of your business locations
2. Add a lead generation form to your website
3. Keep the contacts after reservations have been made and ask for permission to add them to your database
In order to get the contact information, try to offer something of value in return, e.g. a membership in your loyalty program or a disposable discount on a service or an order.
How do people want to reach your business? Do they prefer texting you on Messenger? Perhaps they prefer calling or sending emails? You should fit THEIR needs.
It is essential that you get to know your customers so that you can use effective communication that leads to good deals and thus, a prosperous business. Customers have differing needs and expectations for various interactions. If you have read and completed Chapter 2, you should have already defined your customer. If not, go there and complete this important step.
Once you have your buyer personas ready, you should have a good idea of what communication style you should use- what language you will use, what channels, the frequency of your communication, as well as the level of seriousness used in your business tone.
Defining and implementing a consistent communication style will help your business be more recognizable and memorable.
To achieve the best results, build strong relationships with your customers. So, how can you make your communication more effective?
Waiting customers become frustrated and tend to look for answers, goods or services elsewhere. Make your best effort to respond within 24 hours, proving to the customer that their concerns are important to you.
One key to successful communication is setting expectations for your response time. Set up automated systems or let your customers know your availability and estimated time for response. You can of course use a live chat app on your website that allows you to speak to more than one customer at a time.
If you use emails to communicate, send an automated response letting your customers know you received their message(s) and when to expect a response. Be sure to keep your word.
Nobody wants to feel forgotten. Create thorough to-do lists and keep your conversations up to date.
What might seem obvious to you might not be obvious to others. Make sure that all communications are clear and accurate. Explain details effectively, patiently and avoid condescension.
Have you found that some questions are asked frequently? That is a signal for you - that somewhere there is a blind spot. Fix it. You can also come up with an FAQ page (in Q+A format) on your website that will help you save time and will help customers understand more clearly what you can offer.
Including them in your business communication is a great way to engage customers and encourage them to continue their communication as well. This will lead to a stronger relationship, and that means more sales for you.
End you messages with something like:
“Can I help you with anything else?”
“Does this sound like something you’d be interested in?”
“Is it all clear for you now?”
“You might enjoy browsing through our [menu, list of services or offers], available at [link to your webpage]”
Every business owner deals with negative reviews and mad customers, and it’s very important to prepare yourself with patience and strong, professional communication skills. Treat them well even if they are not right. The worst thing you can do during a chat with a customer is to treat the discussion as a battlefield. In customer service, there is only one goal: to solve your customer’s problem. Maintain a positive customer service attitude and assure your customers that you will resolve the problem.
Your potential and existing customers want to know about changes. Notify them about promotions, changes in policies, delivery time, opening hours, product updates or holiday closure of your business via...
A website is the best channel you can use to talk to your customers. Make the announcement there on the homepage and don’t forget to update all relevant pages on your website.
If you only have social media, announce changes or updates there. Make sure it is visible, you can always use paid ads, so that you make sure the message reaches plenty of people. You can also get some social media tips for local businesses in this article.
Mobile messaging might give you a hand with getting an important message out (speaking of quick customer service). People use messengers a lot and together with the conversational nature of messaging, this makes them highly effective channels for customer support. Check messaging apps.
Do you have a database of your clients' or subscribers’ emails? Update them by sending a quick newsletter/notification.
Speaking of emails, let's dig a bit deeper. Do you know how to write them? What tools to use to send your regular newsletters? How to collect email addresses?
There are plenty of free tools for your email marketing. Check the list and pick the one that suits you best. Thanks to the given tools and features, you can personalize and automate your messages in order to easily build customer relationships. Create flexible, editable templates or guidelines for different communications circumstances and always apply your branding. You might need templates for:
Your emails should be brief, but contain clear information about the benefits your customers will get.
Finally, make sure that it’s easy for your customers to reach out to you. The harder the path is for them to get in touch with you, the more likely they will end up buying from your rivals. Your contact forms should be easy to fill out and your messages should not turn into novels. Keep it clear and concise.
Bear in mind that the customer's experience is mostly influenced by the physical touchpoints with your business. The grumpy tone of your salesperson won't be forgiven just because you have funny emails and visually appealing posts. The vibe and value the customer gets is the most important thing.
How to get customers to your business is the topic of our next chapter. We will talk about paid ads for local businesses and online marketing goals. 👌