3 Ways to Improve How You Communicate With Your ClientsPosted: 08/09/2015 12:00am
In any business, the driver of revenue and growth has been customers, and in today’s competitive landscape it is imperative to build relationships with these customers (both current and prospective) to ensure proper customer engagement. The foundation of any respectful relationship is communication which can be defined as the imparting or exchanging of information or news, or a means of connection between people or places. For the purpose of engaging your customers and keeping them engaged, both are important.
So what are these key attributes that can lead to successful communication with your customers?
1. Don’t waste their time.
Some of the feedback I’ve received is that “you can never say too much” to a customer. While its understood that too little communication can be an issue, the same goes for too much. Be wary of the volume and type of communication you are using. The most important part of any communication is the value that it holds. Ensure that what you have to say can add value to their business (or yours). It’s also important to be conscious of how often you communicate with your customers. In Digital River’s 2014 Consumer Views of Email Marketing report, 46% of 6000 consumers surveyed think they receive too many emails from marketers and they’d prefer to receive email from a company at most once per week. If you send emails or other forms of communication too frequently, the message you are trying to convey will lose its impact and customers will lose interest.
2. Participate in useful communication through all channels.
Social media is changing the way we communicate to customers. Communicating via social media channels is critical to elevating your level of customer engagement and forging stronger bonds with customers. That being said, it’s important that you use appropriate channels. Limit yourself to one or two means of communicating to ensure you can manage each channel properly. However, social media is not the only source of communication.
Secure networks, like LinkedIn or Cortex’s own Trading Partner Network provide a messaging platform for all of its customers. Not only does it allow for suppliers and buyers to interact but it allows us to provide updates on new trading partners available on the network as well as new features being released. There are also the traditional means of communication such as face-to-face, email, and printed communications. In addition, be sure that the messaging is succinct and concise for all of these outlets. Whether you’re highlighting updates to current customers or promoting a new product, be sure that communication across all channels is the same.
3. Listening is the most important piece of communicating.
Feedback from your customers is absolutely critical. Take the time to absorb what your customer is saying and respond to their particular problem or request. Not only will you be able to respond in a respectful and beneficial manner but it will also give a better indication of what your customers need. In an article written by Bright Hub Project Management, some of the common barriers to effective listening are excessive talking, prejudice, distractions, interrupting, and misunderstanding your customers. Make sure you are aware of these barriers and conscious that they are not affecting your ability to listen to your customer.
Beyond listening, immerse yourself in your customer’s situation. Your customer’s problem is your problem and you need to be empathetic to what they need, while offering solution ideas that are a fit for you both. Business needs are always evolving and by listening to customers you’ll be able to meet this need as well as build healthier customer relationships along the way.
Don’t’ be afraid to stand for something, especially if it’s consistent with your company’s brand and values. By connecting with your customers on a values-based level, you’ll be able to build stronger relationships, thus building brand loyalty. In a study outlined by the Harvard Business Review, involving more than 7000 consumers, it was found that 64% of people surveyed cited shared values as the main reason they have a relationship with a brand. If you want loyal customers, you need them to care about you as much as you care about them.