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Customer Communication Done Right

by Nov 1, 2021Blog0 comments

I was recently interviewed on a podcast where the topic of customer communications came up. How do we do it? How do we do it right?

In this post, you’ll learn the two levels of customer communication and how to effectively communicate in a way that drives profit, sets your team up for success, and strengthens your relationship with your ideal customer.

 

The Two Levels of Communication

There are two critical levels of communication with customers: 

 

#1: Everyday Communications

Too often, we pay attention to customers’ words, but not the deeper message behind them. Anything a customer communicates with you tells you what’s important to them. So, the underlying message beneath anything they say is, “This is what’s important to me.” If they are your target audience, this message is a gold mine—if you know how to listen

If you get asked the same questions, those are the questions that need answering before deciding on a purchase. How can you answer those questions preemptively, so customers don’t have to ask first? If customers are going out of their way to say “thank you,” that indicates something of value that sets you apart. In many businesses, customers come to expect certain things. Going out of the way to say “thank you” indicates something that stood out and is appreciated. Pay attention! Is there a way to provide more of that?

There’s often a disconnect between business owners, managers, and team members regarding daily customer communications. For example, your team members are likely the ones on the front lines receiving customer questions and thanks. But if those interactions aren’t recorded and relayed to management or ownership, you miss the opportunity to capitalize on that feedback and improve the business accordingly.

If you don’t know what customers communicate on the front lines, you’ll miss key opportunities to influence your business outcomes positively. 

So, train your team to understand how vital customer communication is, and teach them to look for and capture the message beneath the words. 

 

#2: Planned Communication

The second essential type of communication with your customers is planned communication. This includes surveys, focus groups, and appreciation dinners—anything to get their feedback strategically. 

With this type of communication, follow-up is essential to:

  • Assure customers that you heard them. 
  • Share what you’re doing with their responses to improve and provide more value. 
  • Show you appreciate their time and effort.

Surveys can be tricky because people are tired of them, especially if all they get in return is a generic, “Thank you for your feedback.”

This canned response to the effort they spent being honest to help your business feels disconnected. The customer has no idea if you got it, what you’ve done with it, or if you’re even listening. 

No matter how you’re communicating with your customers, always close the loop. 

For example, when I work with clients who send out surveys, we publish the results in some way so customers can see that we are, indeed, doing something with their feedback. We thank them for their valuable input, reflect on common responses, and use the survey as an enhancement tool. 

A survey can be a great tool to connect with people and reinforce the value you’re creating. But, if not used correctly, it simply becomes another annoyance in their inbox. 

I worked with a pharmacy that had four different locations. When they got their survey responses back, one of the most common requests was a delivery service. The reason why this discovery was so important is that this pharmacy already had one! Unfortunately, survey responses revealed that they had done a lousy job of marketing their delivery service, so much so their customers had no idea it even existed! 

As a solution, the pharmacy wrapped their delivery cars so people could identify them on the road. That way, as they drove around making deliveries, they could advertise the pharmacy simultaneously. 

After receiving these results, they sent out a “thank you” to their customers for participating and explained what they were doing in response to the feedback. This was to let customers know what was being done for their benefit based on their answers and share what they could’ve been doing better. Customers appreciate this level of transparency and openness. 

Customer communication done right is a profit driver, as is your team. 

And it all comes down to relationships. If you want a two-sided relationship where you value your customers and your customers appreciate you, then, again, close the loop. That way, they’ll feel connected to you, share about your business, and see you as the first resource for their needs. You can even get this positive result out of handling communication in the form of complaints properly

So, don’t simply extract information from your customers and leave them hanging. Instead, listen to the message beneath the words and close the loop in daily and planned communication. 

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