The world is more connected than it has ever been, but that has led to a deterioration in the quality of our communications in many ways. Without effective communication, relationships will not be established or nurtured, which can lead to unhappy customers and a poor reputation for the brand. Unfortunately, many businesses fall short when communicating with customers in an efficient but human way. If you are a business owner and are concerned about the quality of customer communications in your organization or are simply interested in ways to improve, this article includes some tips that may help.
Give customers multiple communication options
While most customer communications still happen via telephone calls, only offering your customers one contact method is a mistake. Sometimes customers do not have the time or inclination for a call and would rather interact via social media, a website chatbot, text message, or email. Many businesses send texts in bulk to their customers introducing special offers or new products, and with the right technology, you can establish a 2-way conversation to increase customer engagement with your brand.
Make an excellent first impression
First impressions count a lot when building a relationship, so the first contact between your customers and your staff must be positive. When a customer has a negative experience, they are very unlikely to return and may damage your reputation by sharing their feelings about your company with others. Therefore, make sure that your staff answer the phone politely, efficiently, and professionally. In some cases, an automated answering attendant who can welcome the customer and direct their call to the correct department can help to streamline and polish the customer’s first interaction with your brand.
Minimize hold times
Having mentioned automated answering services or attendants, it is important to balance automation with a human touch. Studies have found that more than 75% of customers using automated attendants and menus feel that it takes too long to speak to a human, they dislike being passed around different departments, and many hang up out of frustration rather than wait on hold. Customers should not be on hold for more than two minutes before being put through to the correct person. If your customers are having to navigate several menus and are waiting for more than a few minutes, they may feel that you do not care about their experience and are unlikely to have a positive impression of your customer service.
Treat customers as individuals
Another source of potential frustration for customers is when they feel they are not being treated as an individual. For example, the staff member responding to their queries is reading from a script and struggles to deviate from pre-written statements. It is often more effective to speak to customers in a natural and positive tone. There are ways to phrase statements that do not have negative connotations, e.g., rather than saying that a product is out of stock, you could say that the product they want will arrive in the warehouse by a particular date, and you will send it out to them as soon as possible. Customer relationship management (CRM) software can also be useful as you can keep a record of customer interactions, buying history, and any other relevant information that could help you provide a more personal service.
Allow customers to self-serve through automated engagement
Quite often, customers will have simple queries and questions, from location requests to opening hours and how-to requests. The problem that occurs is that many businesses don’t offer their customers the ability to deal with these queries automatically. However, they can avoid users waiting, missing out on sale opportunities, and take the pressure off of the contact centers they have by opting for an automated solution.
See https://boomerangmessaging.com/solutions/business-fulfilment/customer-support-management/ for more information.