Poor customer service communication always creates a negative impact on your business no matter how established it is. Fostering such strategies improves customer communication also helps in customer acquisition and retention.
Businesses that constantly deliver poor customer service eventually go out of business. WalkerInfo report says customer experience will surpass price and product as the key brand differentiator by 2020.
Building an effective customer service communication strategy should be an integral part of the company values. These strategies help to promote your brand to future customers, build a strong relationship with existing customers, and address customer concerns.
What is customer communication? Why is important to have effective customer service communication?
Customer communication is the process of developing a strong connection with the customers and helping them with their objectives and problems. Having the right communication strategy is a great way to acquire and retain customers.
The effectiveness of communication is not defined by communication, but by the response. Milton Erickson.
Good communication skills are one of the most important traits for improving the bottom line of every business. Whether it is internal or external, you should be able to communicate flawlessly to make it effective.
If you communicate well with customers, your odds of success in business greatly increase by following ways:
- Faster support – Effective communication with customers helps to learn the customer problem accurately and enable you to deliver faster support.
- Reduces touchpoints – With an effective communication, the number of interactions required to resolve an issue can be drastically reduced.
- Increases conversions – Helping customers in real time help to close the sales faster and increase sales conversions.
- Boost customer loyalty – Having personalized conversations builds trust and loyalty with your customers.
Best practices & tips for effective customer service communication
Communication methods vary from business to business. It is important to learn the right way to connect with customers so that it has a positive impact on the business growth.
Here are 9 different ways to communicate with customers and improve customer service.
1. Use live engagement tools for real time assistance
The customer service communication strategy of your business depends upon the support tools you implement for getting connected with your customers. Real time support with live assistance tools is a high standard of supporting customers.
Live assistance tools help to identify the error in the first touchpoint and offer the right solution, thus, reducing the number of interactions made by the customer and improving customer satisfaction level. Live tools such as co-browsing and video chat help to collaborate with in real time and guide them face to face through personalized conversation.
How live customer engagement tools helps in effective communication with customers
- Face to face video chat personalizes customer service communications
- Identifies the problem faster and offer virtual technical assistance
- Collaborates with the customer’s browser in real time and help to complete complex processes.
- Acquires first hand details of the issue and reduces the number of touchpoints made by the customers
- Co-browsing helps to share customer browser for support and deliver a virtual in person service experience
2. Impact of the first customer experience goes a long way
If I were to ask you the first time you had a really great experience as a customer, it probably wouldn’t take you long to come up with the story of how the lasting impression of the experience made you happy and satisfied.
And what if the first experience makes you angry, upset, annoyed, frustrated. It might risk badly to your business. Last year United Airlines had a brand crisis, in which $1.4 billion in value was wiped out overnight when a passenger’s experience went viral on social media.
The first positive experience not only results in making your customers satisfied, but it also accelerates revenue.
How to build a strong first customer experience?
- Reduce wait time – Longer queue time is one of the main reasons why customers might leave your website. You can automate your customer support to be always on to engage customers.
- Avoid scripted conversations – Overusing of canned responses can lead to bad customer experience. So, you need to balance to make conversations meaningful and impactful.
- Real time support – You should be 24×7 available to engage your customers in real time and provide instant assistance.
3. Use chatbots for automated customer communication
Here is how chatbots can improve customer communication
- Always on support – Chatbots offer faster support and engage customers when your support team is not available.
- Boost customer communication – Bots engage with customers by providing immediate answers that boost customer satisfaction.
- Assist in buying journey – AI bots assist customers across the journey and help them in buying decisions.
- Better customer experience – When customers get real time assistance on their preferred time it boosts their experience.
Automating the ways to communicate with customers improves brand image, the caveat is that it should not be over automated. Emarketer research shows, 55% of customers prefer to live chat over a chatbot. Moreover, “46% said they would prefer interacting with a human even if a chatbot saved them 10 minutes.
So, the balance should be rightly made to handle common queries by using bots as the first contact channel and transferring the complex conversations for human support.
Hipmunk’s “Hello chatbot” is a good example of using digital technologies to engage customers on a personal level.
The chatbot uses very friendly language and has been able to convert users to book flights and deals with its high level of engagement. It can answer vague questions and delivers a valuable experience to customers.
4. Build omni channel customer communication strategy
Businesses that adopt omni channel communication strategy retain an average of 89% of customers compared with 33% for those with weak omnichannel strategies. It is very important to help customers to get connected with you easily.
Source: Focus telecom
Omni channel communication strategy helps you to redefine how you interact with your customers across both online and offline channels, and provides you deeper insights about customer journey to deliver better conversations.
The valuable insights help in engaging them across their buying journey across all touchpoints. If businesses are active over these touchpoints and offer them real time consistent support it enhances the customer experience.
So, what is the starting point to design your omni channel communication strategy?
You should focus on three core parameters to give a better experience to your customers:
- Identify the preferred customer communication channels
- Create an effective customer engagement strategy to engage across those channels
- Deliver a consistent experience throughout the customer journey
Sephora builds an omni-channel experience that connects its shoppers’ online purchases to their in-store visits. It allowed customers to use in-store tablets to access their Beauty bag account while shopping.
- They can look up item details and virtually try on products using digital software.
- If they like a product, they can add it to a wish list and purchase the entire list using the app.
- Sephora recognizes and integrates its Beauty Bag feature with its in-store communication channel.
5. Follow customer service etiquette & best practices
Customers generally switch brands because they are put off by untrained or rude support professionals. McKinsey report says 70% of the customer’s journey is dictated by how the customer feels they are being treated.
Here are some of the etiquette to follow for effective customer communication skills:
Active listening involves complete focus and full concentration to understand what is being said by the customer without interrupting or asking questions in between. Listening helps to figure out what exactly your customers want, their opinions, feedback, etc.
You can manage communication with customers by adding a personal touch. You can be friendlier by addressing your customers with name, asking how are they doing, etc. to make communication closer.
Use positive words
While communicating with customers, make sure that you make use of positive words in your conversation. Using words and phrases like definitely, certainly, absolutely, why not – sounds good, sounds personal and positive.
Customers need to know that you are understanding them. You need to put yourself in their shoes and understand their situation and communicate accordingly with them
You should not use complex terms which is difficult to understand and confuse customers. Use simple and easy terms to make your communication effective with your customers.
If you are looking more on customer service etiquette, read our blog on 12 Customer Service Etiquette Tips You Should Follow
6. Measure your customer communication metrics regularly
For a business measuring communications can be overwhelming and out of control. So, it becomes vital to develop a strategy to measure customer communications effectively.
What are the different metrics should you be looking at? And how should you be tracking different communication KPIs?
- First response time – It indicates how long your agents take to make the first response on a case. By improving your first response time you can boost customer service satisfaction of your customers.
- Average resolution time – It refers to the total time that the support agent takes to resolve an issue once it is opened. When the issue is fixed in minimum time customers will be delighted with the service experience.
- Customer satisfaction metrics – CSAT (customer satisfaction score) and NPS (net promoter score) are important metrics to measure customer satisfaction. These score help you to regularly understand whether your customers are happy or not.
How measuring these metrics help to improve customer communication?
- You are able to identify the gaps in agent or team productivity and further improve it.
- You can understand whether your team or agent size is enough to serve customers
- They help to improve the customer communication language
- You can know the the common issues and proactively communicate with customers
7. Collect and implement customer feedback
Customer feedback is vital to measure your customer service success. According to Microsoft, 52% of people around the globe believe that companies need to take action on feedback provided by their customers.
Customer feedback plays an important role for businesses to:
- Improve the effectiveness of your products and services
- Measure customer satisfaction level
- Enhance your customer communication
- Deliver a better customer experience
- Retain customers with your business
If you want to measure how effective your customer communication strategy has been, you have to collect customer feedback regularly and implement it.
Here is how customer feedback benefits for your business.
- Feedbacks from customers helps you to know what customers feel about brand
- Identify the gaps between the customers and the business and end up with a product that is sheer perfection.
- It opens up a conversation with customers and develops a long lasting relationship.
- Customers feel appreciated as their opinion regarding the product.
Tips on when to ask customer feedback:
- After the end of customer service conversation you can ask for feedback by saying – Did this help? Can I help you with anything else?’
- When the customer browsing your website you can proactively ask for feedback.
- After offering a solution to the problem raised by the customer, you can ask for feedback.
- Send quick surveys at the end of each conversation and ask to rate it.
- You can follow up with customers’ post-sales to collect feedback to measure your customer success.
Once all the feedbacks are collected, categorize them to analyze them and share with the respective teams to implement it. Consistently analyzing them will help you to know what your customers expect from your business.
8. Monitor and engage in social conversations
Customers use social media to reach out to the brands. It is one of the most preferred go to channels. 80% of consumers use social media platforms to engage with brands.
In order to improve customer communication effectively over social media, you need to:
- Understand your customers’ preferred social channels and be actively engage with them.
- You need to deliver the same support experience across those channels to create a consistent social service experience.
- Use social media for announcing product releases, company news, content updates, events, etc.
Engaging conversations on social media is important for businesses because it can provide valuable feedback, build your brand reputation, develop customer trust and acquire potential customers through referral marketing.
9. Know what your customers want
One of the important ways to help your customers is ‘self-help”. Predicting issues or queries that your customers might face in the future and preparing solutions or support documents will definitely help them.
It is an essential component to be followed to improve customer communication and reduce confusion over your product or service. You can create support documents such as:
- Knowledge base
- Video tutorials
- How to guides
Knowing what your customers want and keeping things ready will help them positively. It also helps to reduce repetitive interactions by the customer and improves customer communication. You can also create fresh and healthy content at a steady pace on your social networks, blog, and website as well.
In the age of digital communication, when you may not be able to meet your customers face to face, it becomes more critical to have an effective customer service communication strategy in place. It would help your business to grow and thrive without having any negative impact to the customer service experience.