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9 Tips To Help Streamline Customer Communications

Communicating with customers is important but it can be difficult. Use these tips to help streamline and improve your customer communications.

GoSite Team

Customer expectations are higher than ever. The rise of instantaneous communications technology like social media and instant messaging has resulted in a generation of customers that want to get answers to their questions right away.

What's more, those answers better be good -- if your customer service is lacking, you can bet they'll take their business elsewhere.

Luckily, there's a systematic and straightforward way to ensure your customer communications are efficient, professional, and effective. It starts with the right process and the right technology - and that's exactly what we'll cover in this article.

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Why Is Effective Communication With Customers Important?

Put simply: if a customer thinks you don't care about their questions or concerns, they won't stick around for long.

Why Is Effective Communication With Customers Important
Source: Tidio

14% of the time a customer leaves, it's because of a poor product or service. That's already quite the figure - and one you can readily improve upon.

But it's not the lowest hanging fruit (by far). Almost five times that amount (68%!) leave a company not because of a poor product or service, but because of a perceived lack of care.

In other words, most of your customers just want to know that they matter. Bad customer service experiences are the most difficult to overcome.

Simply by streamlining your customer communication processes and putting in the effort to make customers feel valued and appreciated, you can improve customer retention five times more than an equivalent amount of effort put into improving your product or service.

Plus, streamlining customer communication helps out in a few other notable ways, too. How? Let’s take a look.

Improves Customer Interaction and Relationships

When customers know they will be heard, their loyalty increases. They know that if an issue arises, it'll be quickly and easily addressed, and that dependability is what drives them to become brand advocates and indirect promoters.

Streamlining your customer communications helps create meaningful, loyalty-based relationships with customers. It fosters trust and makes them feel valued - both of which are essential for continued success in the long run.

Increases Customer Satisfaction

When customers know they can reach out and get a response quickly and easily, their satisfaction increases.

Increases Customer Satisfaction
Source: Marketing Charts and HubSpot

The vast majority of customer satisfaction (more than 70%) stems directly from fast response times and consistency. Streamlining your customer communication helps ensure customers are always heard, and that their questions or concerns are addressed promptly.

Reduces Response Times

Many customers expect responses within minutes. If you don't have a streamlined process in place, it can be hard to keep up with the demand.

By streamlining your customer communication, you ensure that inquiries are handled quickly and effectively. Additionally, your communications process becomes scale-invariant -- that's a fancy way to say your communication demands will no longer grow exponentially with your client base.

9 Tips That Will Improve Your Small Business Customer Communication

1. See Your Customer Journey For Yourself

The best way to start streamlining your customer communication processes is by experiencing them for yourself.

This means going through each point of contact with a customer and mapping out their journey from initial contact to resolution or purchase. The goal is to identify any pain points that could be improved upon and make note of where customers are consistently dropping off in the process.

Technically, this process is referred to as “customer journey mapping” and it's a great way to figure out where your business is falling short in terms of customer communications. Every touch point in the customer journey must be accounted for, and you may find that some of those touch points are not as efficient or effective as they should be.

2. Adopt Chat Features And Chatbot Strategies

Technology can provide an incredible amount of leverage to the average business owner. The problem? Most businesses aren't taking full advantage of it.

One great way to do so is through the adoption of chat features and chatbot strategies. Chat features can provide customers with quick and easy access to customer service reps, while chatbots can take on more complex inquiries and even route them to the right department or individual.

Adopt Chat Features And Chatbot Strategies

Not only does this make for a faster experience for customers, but it also frees up your customer service team's time by taking some of their workload off their shoulders.

Most importantly: your chat strategies don't even need to be that refined! Even sending an instant message to customers after they've contacted you, clarifying that you've received their message and are working to get back to them soon, is enough to make them feel heard. Of course, that's just the beginning.

3. Ask for Customer Feedback

Inviting customers to provide feedback after an interaction is a great way to make sure that customer communications are on track.

It helps you understand what areas of your business need improvement, as well as how certain customer service reps may be performing. Asking for feedback also makes customers feel valued, and they'll appreciate the chance to voice their opinion.

There are two main ways to ask for feedback: through surveys sent after an interaction, or by requesting reviews on online profiles (Google My Business, Yelp, and so on).

In general, surveys are great! They allow businesses to collect standardized feedback and quantify it into actionable insights. But oftentimes, the only one that sees that feedback is you.

Online reviews, on the other hand, let you double dip: not only do you get great feedback from superstar customers that care, you also get to showcase that feedback to other prospective customers, improving your online performance!

4. Use Social Media To Increase Response Rates

Social media presents an opportunity for businesses to engage with customers in real-time. But it also presents a challenge: when every prospective customer can see reviews from other customers (including your worst ones!), you have to make sure your customer service is up to snuff.

Use Social Media To Increase Response Rates
Source: REVE Chat

Therefore, it's important to use social media as a way to showcase the best of your company, while also providing a unified front for customer communications.

In a perfect world, this would be an automated response system that acknowledges incoming messages and requests help from the appropriate representative in your team.

5. Automate Your Customer Service Experience

The more you can automate the customer service experience, the better. Automation can help streamline mundane tasks like data entry and customer onboarding, freeing up your team to focus on other important work or providing extra attention to those customers who really need it.

It doesn't have to be complicated either - even something as simple as setting up automated emails for new customers is a great way to get started. These emails can include helpful information about your product or service, as well as a link to your customer support portal or other resources.

If you want to go a little further, templated messages and canned responses can also be sent out automatically to speed up the process. You can save yourself (and your customer reps!) a ton of time by having these pre-prepared instead of typing them out manually each time.

6. Provide and Maintain a Good Knowledge Base

A knowledge base is an incredibly useful tool for any business. It's essentially a library of information that customers can refer to in order to find answers on their own -- letting them solve problems without taking expensive time away from you or your customer representatives.

The key here, however, is making sure your knowledge base is easy-to-use and up to date. If it isn't, customers will quickly become frustrated and look elsewhere for the solutions they need.

Provide and Maintain a Good Knowledge Base
Example: GoSite’s customer Knowledge Base

The simplest knowledge base is a frequently-asked-questions (FAQ) page on your website.

7. Equip With the Right Customer Service Tools

The right customer service tools can make all the difference when it comes to streamlining customer communications.

If you're a small business, look for an affordable yet comprehensive suite of customer service solutions that includes things like automated reviews, live chat capabilities, and more (like GoSite). Ideally, your service of choice would cover both customer service and marketing needs - making it the perfect all-in-one solution.

8. Promote Proactive Communication

There are two main types of communication: proactive and reactive.

Reactive communication is what you're probably most used to, as it's the type of customer service where customers must reach out to your business first. Customer asks a question -> business responds with a simple, templated message.

Promote Proactive Communication
Source: KRFort WiCM

Proactive communication, on the other hand, is when businesses reach out to customers first, as well as when they use collaborative listening techniques that both address and appreciate the customer’s concerns.

It keeps customers engaged and interested in your business, as well as makes them feel like you genuinely care about them. You're no longer merely reacting to their inquiries as a passive component—you're actively reaching out to them, listening, and offering your help!

9. Dedicate a Team of Customer Service Reps

After a certain size, service inquiries become too much for a business owner or manager to handle on their own. Your time will be better spent doing other tasks - like managing your team, developing marketing strategies, and so on.

How do you solve this? Build a customer service team.

Having dedicated customer service reps can make a huge difference in terms of response times and the quality of answers you provide. It significantly improves every metric we've talked about - customer satisfaction, retention, and more - and is a must for any business that is serious about streamlining customer communications.

Conclusion: Customers Are the Core of Your Business

In closing, it's important to remember that your customers are the core of your business. They don't just buy from you - they form relationships with you and trust in your abilities to help them.

That's why streamlining customer communication is so critical: it helps build those relationships, improves customer satisfaction, and ultimately increases retention rates. It's also one of the highest-ROI actions you can take for your business, significantly reducing losses (at almost five times the rate of product or service improvements), and allowing you to focus more on the success of your customers.

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