In order to keep selling their products and services, businesses have to cultivate a mutually-beneficial relationship with their customers over time. The journey from a lead to a loyalist can be a long one, and it involves a lot of negotiation between the prospective customers and companies eager to do business. CEO’s determine which values the company wishes to communicate with its products and services. PR departments then turn these values into marketing messages, which are then passed on the customers through different channels, such as customer service interactions, advertising, sponsored content, etc. Based on customer feedback, PR teams edit their message in hopes of getting a better response, which is measured in terms of conversions.
This back-and-fort exchange of messages for the purpose of creating more converts, is the essence of customer communication. In practical terms, customer communication can be improved in many ways. In the rest of this article, we are going to give an overview of a number of the most important ones, which businesses of any size can implement.
Customer communication is an ongoing process, and the longer you engage in it, the better the odds of reaching a mutually-beneficial consensus. This holds true for every stage of b2c interaction. At the top level, companies should regularly make announcements about the state of their business, keeping customers in the loop about what’s going on in the industry. Next, companies should ensure that their service and product information is always up-to-date, so customers can make informed purchase decisions. Finally, on the ground level, companies should make sure their customer service staff is actively engaging with customers at all times. Making regular attempts at communication is a sign that a company is willing to improve their services to suit their customer’s needs, which is a sign of good-will the latter will always respect.
Listen To Customers
Communicating with your customers involves more than just exchanging messages. Listening to what customers are trying to say is equally, if not more important than disclosing information. At first glance, listening seems to be something self-explanatory. You just have to keep your proverbial ears open, and information will just keep flowing in. However, in reality listening involves a dedicated effort to understand what the other party is saying. It is a process of interpretation, and not just a passive acceptance of input. Customers have many different ways of expressing what they find agreeable or disagreeable about company policies, products or services, and it is up company staff to figure out what they are trying to say.
Implement Customer Feedback
The function of soliciting customer feedback and listening what they have to say is not an end-goal in itself. Its purpose is to gain information which the company can then use to adjust its behavior in some way. Failing to do so will create a disconnect with customers over time, which is something businesses must avoid at all costs. Nothing will make customers start leaving in droves like a sense that their opinions are not being taken into account. This is not to say that a company should stray from its plans and policies whenever a customer has something to say about it. The key is in figuring out which suggestions are valid, and merit implementation in the future, and which are unreasonable, impractical, or downright bad for business.
Increase Online Visibility
Communication involves more than just directly exchanging messages. It also includes sending out signals into a wider communication environment, in order to propagate company-related information on the level of general discourse. Search engine optimization is one way in which this is accomplished. The process involves writing online content in such a way that it resembles common customer queries on search engines, which has the effect of increasing the online visibility of a company through organic search results. For example, companies can use local SEO agency to reach consumers more effectively in the area they do business in. SEO is more subtle than other means of customer communication, but this is precisely why it is so effective.
Leverage Social Media
With the meteoric rise in popularity of social media, businesses saw the opportunity to communicate with customers on a whole new platform. Social media communication can take many forms, including explicit ads, sponsored content, influencer marketing, and unpaid company advocates. The benefit of communication over social media is that companies can often leave the talking to entities which are not directly related to the company. This gives the company more credibility in the eyes of consumers, as they are more likely to trust the opinion of someone who they respect, than an advertising copy. Businesses should never underestimate the potential interacting wither their customers through word-of-mouth.
Optimizing customer communication is an ongoing process. Without it, companies would be making a gamble each time they release a new product or service, because they would have no idea how their customers would respond. Customers are fickle, and will quickly flock to competitors if they are communicating their sales pitch more effectively. Therefore, in order to stay ahead of the game, all businesses must make a dedicated effort to establish mutually beneficial back-and-forth communication with their target audience.
David Koller is a passionate blogger and copywriter for Media Gurus, mainly interested in SEO and Digital Marketing.