4 ways to improve communication with customers

Larry Alton
Indepedent Business Consultant
Freelance
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Communication is at the heart of engaging and delighting customers. The problem is that, even with all of the new advancements in communication technology, very few businesses are taking this all-important responsibility seriously. This results in poor relationships and a bad brand image.

How to better engage customers

When you study history, it becomes pretty apparent that communication is at the heart of every major incident. Good communication leads to victory, whereas poor communication precedes defeat. It’s just the way of the world. If you want to be successful at something, good communication must be present.

Why, then, do so few companies prioritize better communication with customers? These days, everyone wants to talk about internal communication. And while it matters, internal communication is essentially irrelevant without a commitment to engaging customers.

Here are some tips for being better at the latter:

1. Hire Empathetic Employees

Processes are only good if you have people to carry them out. That’s why you need to focus on hiring empathetic employees who can engage customers in meaningful ways.

“Hire a sales person who knows how to read people and identify their unique trigger points,” suggests Sandrine Ennis, CEO of TalentStream. “This is the person who will beat the competition with their human approach. They will create a pitch that shows they understand the other person, is empathetic to his or her needs, and has a solution to solve their pain points. With an empathetic sales person on your team, you connect with your customers on a deeper level.”

2. Leverage the Right Communication Mediums

It could be argued that how you communicate with customers is just as important as what you communicate to them. In today’s landscape, your business has dozens of tools available at its disposal. The key is to focus on the right mediums – ones that are quick and unobtrusive.

Email is one such medium that comes to mind. It can be used to streamline communication and save time. Take property and resort management, for example. Companies in this niche frequently use email to send recipients, booking confirmations, guest surveys, and other information without inconveniencing customers. It makes the process of communication easier on everyone.

3. Use Analogies to Explain Technical Concepts

One problem businesses frequently encounter in technical industries is the inability to properly convey information to customers. There’s almost always a knowledge gap between the company and the customers, which makes it difficult to develop content that’s user friendly.

One suggestion for improving communication on this front is to use analogies to explain what technical concepts mean. This simple act can help your target market understand what’s really happening on a granular level.

4. Become a Good Listener

“Research firm TARP has found that for every person who complains, there are 26 who do not. That means if 10 customers complain, another 260 may have quietly dumped you, never to call again. To know what customers are thinking, ask them,” says Ben McConnell, co-author of Creating Customer Evangelists.

But asking is only half of the equation. You have to ask and then listen. It’s this latter part that many businesses struggle with. In order to communicate with customers, you have to listen as much as you talk. That can seem difficult at first, but it simply requires that you develop the right feedback loops and learn how to process information without taking over the conversation.

Make Customer Communication a Priority

In 2017, you’ll find it difficult – if not impossible – to be successful without strategizing around customer communications. Customers have become conditioned to expect interaction and service. Provide both and you’ll be delighted with the results.

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