Communicating is so important in business, and if your customers cannot reach you easily, it has a big impact on their experience with your company. You need open lines of communication from the outset, so they can ask any questions that they may have about your products, and after they have made a purchase, you need to be ready to deal with any issues that they might have.
A lot of businesses fall short when it comes to customer communication and there are a few things that people tend to get very wrong. If you want to improve communication with your customers, these are the biggest mistakes that you need to avoid.
Not Providing Enough Options
Everybody likes to communicate with businesses in a different way and it’s important that you give people plenty of options. Some people are happy to call up and speak with you over the phone, but customers that have a busy lifestyle may prefer to deal with their issues on social media or through live chat. If you only provide a phone number or an email address, this can be very frustrating for a lot of people, so you need to give them as many options as possible. Invest in live chat services and make sure that you are quick to respond to emails and social media messages.
Even though it’s important that you provide a lot of different communication channels, you need to avoid switching channels halfway through a complaint. For example, if somebody sends you an email about an issue, don’t respond with a phone number for them to call. The chances are, they emailed you because they don’t have time to speak with you on the phone, so giving them a phone number will just frustrate them. Switching channels also makes it harder for your customer service team to keep up with the progress of the request, which means that customers may end up explaining the same problem over and over and that is incredibly frustrating. Whenever a customer contacts you, make sure to resolve their query on the same channel, unless it is simply not possible, then you can explain the situation to them and direct them to another channel.
Not Knowing Your Customers
Understanding who your customers are is so important if you want to communicate with them effectively. Different people respond to different communication styles, so you need to know who your customers are and how best to deal with their queries. Build up a customer profile based on the data that you collect about customers so you can get an idea of what kind of person you are likely to be communicating with. This will give you more insight into whether they want a quick resolution above all else, or whether they want you to explain everything that you are doing. If you don’t know your customers, there is no way that you can communicate with them effectively.
Not Catering To Different Languages
This is more of a practical mistake that businesses make, and it’s a big one. We live in a multicultural society and you cannot assume that all of your customers speak English as their first language. This can cause difficulties when you have people that are not very good English speakers calling up your customer service lines, and it’s hard to resolve their issues in a timely manner. It’s important that you use a bilingual answering service with agents that can effectively communicate with these customers in their native language. They can determine what the problem is and then pass the information on to you so you can resolve the problem. These customers will be incredibly grateful that you have invested in a service to make things easier for them, and breaking down that language barrier improves communication in a big way.
Being Over Familiar
This is a very common mistake and businesses and it comes from a place of good intentions. Businesses know that people don’t want to deal with robots, so they assume that taking a more casual, friendly tone will help to improve communication. However, people often take this too far and they are over familiar with customers, which a lot of people don’t like. Even though you collect a lot of information about your customers, that doesn’t mean that you know everything about them. But people often make the mistake of being over friendly and making a lot of assumptions about what the customer wants. What you should be doing instead is asking questions and really listening to the answers, so the customer can tell you what they want, instead of assuming that you already know.
Making Mistakes With Privacy
Consumers are very concerned about data privacy these days and there have been a lot of high profile cases involving social media companies and their misuse of data. When you are speaking with a customer on the phone, it’s absolutely vital that you abide by data protection regulations. If you break regulations, you will be subject to fines, and you will also lose the trust of that customer. Training is very important here because your customer service representatives need to understand what the correct data privacy processes are and make sure that they follow them to the letter.
Talking About Yourself Too Much
Even though you might be excited about product updates or changes to your business, your customers probably don’t care that much because it has nothing to do with them. A lot of businesses make this mistake when communicating with customers over social media or via email. They put out updates about the business that simply aren’t relevant to the customer, and when customers are constantly bombarded with emails and messages, it gets annoying. When you are using your email list, you should only send out emails that are relevant to the customer and if you can’t make the content relevant to them, just leave it.
If you make these mistakes when you are communicating with your customers, they are far less likely to deal with you again in the future.