Communication is essential to all human activities and is critical to business success. For your SME to be successful, information must flow freely from your customers to the person most able to help them.
Effective external communication can mean the difference between happy customers who come back and customers who look for help elsewhere. In this article, we’ll look at how SME leaders and team members can master customer communication.
Table of Contents
- Understand Your Brand and Target Customers
- Tailor Your Communications to Your Customers
- Make It Easy for Customers to Contact You
- Ask for Feedback
- Invest in Staff Training and Technology
1. Understand Your Brand and Target Customers
The way your business communicates with your customers starts with your brand. There is a reason your business exists, and that reason, as well as the passion you have for your business, should be reflected in your branding.
You need to think about how that affects the message you want to communicate to your customers. When you believe in your business, and what it is trying to do, it will be a lot easier for you to encourage your customers to do the same. Nevertheless, good communication is also not just about your belief in your business but about your target audience and focusing on them when you create your message.
2. Tailor Your Communications to Your Industry and Customers
If your business is in a competitive industry, you not only may need to think outside of the box in order to stand out, but your business should also stand out for the right reasons. You want to avoid making your branding and message so obscure that no one even knows what your business stands for.
Always listen to the industry and your customers, and make sure your branding applies to the industry where it operates. This is not something to set and forget. You must also stay up to date with both industry changes and technology changes to ensure you are keeping up with the needs of your customers. This means giving your customers enough options to communicate with you.
For example, if you have business operations abroad, it’s in your best interest to have a local number to connect with your clients as if you were located in that country. For this, you can use a virtual phone system. Virtual phone systems do not have a dedicated telephone line. Incoming calls are forwarded directly to a pre-set number via fixed landlines, mobile networks, or VoIP networks. Virtual number costs vary depending on the country, but they typically start at $10 with providers like EasyRinger. There are no limits on how many numbers your account can support, making this a great way to connect with your clients.
3. Make It Easy for Customers to Contact You
In the early days of the internet, you could communicate with online customers through email and by adding your phone number to your website. Now, there are so many more options. You don’t have to use all of them, but you should prioritize those your customers use and prefer.
This could include a simple email link that sends emails directly to a product expert’s inbox. It could include a chatbot that answers customers’ questions when your agents are busy or off work. If you are active on social media, it could also include direct messaging.
There are many potential customer communication options, but let’s get back to your phone and your phone number. In the early days, website owners didn’t have click-to-call, but it is something you should use now. It will allow customers to click a link on your website and either call you directly from their mobile phone or open the default phone app on their computer. That way, they don’t have to remember your number.
Still, no matter how easy to use technology might be, you really want your customers to remember your number. Even in the past, website owners learned the value of getting a vanity phone number. Unlike standard phone numbers, which consist of random digits, you can pick your own vanity phone number. It can spell out something your business does, a part of your brand, or a set of easily remembered digits.
With a vanity number, your customers will remember your number more easily. Also, some vanity phone numbers come with a virtual phone system that makes managing your phone calls simpler. With a few clicks online, you can forward your number to the team best suited to help in a few seconds.
4. Ask for Feedback
Making it easier for customers to contact you is a good start, but sometimes you really need feedback and should ask for it. It is one of the best ways you can improve customer service, products, and the methods you use to communicate with customers.
For example, you can ask customers to fill out a survey after they communicate with your agents. This will help you see what your customers think you can improve, so you can change things for the better.
It doesn’t even have to be this formal. By having your agents ask customers for their thoughts during their current phone session, you will not only get good feedback but also show customers they are important to your business.
5. Invest in Staff Training and Technology
Customers contact your business because they have questions they need answered or issues they need solved. They expect the members of your team to provide the help they need. If not, much of your effort in making communication easy will be wasted. Your staff must be trained from day one to find applicable information quickly, keep customer data confidential, and handle challenging customers.
The right technology can also help make communication with customers easier. Chatbots can help customers while agents are busy. A virtual phone system like the one that comes with some vanity phone numbers can make it simple to forward calls to landlines, cell phones, or voicemail to ensure your customers get connected to the right place and get the help they need as soon as possible.
Communication with your customers is more than just giving them the ability to contact you. It begins by having a brand and message that speaks to their needs, so they want to contact you. After that, you want to make sure to give them every option to contact you with their questions and issues. Finally, well-trained agents and modern technology can make the whole customer communication process smoother.