Customer service is an enterprise-wide phenomenon that must get ingrained in the corporate culture. Everybody, right from customer services, sales and marketing, should be customer-centric and focus their attention on delivering delightful experiences. An ideal place to begin is customer communication management.
Understanding customer communication management
So, what is customer communication management (CCM)? CCM refers to a corporation’s outbound strategy to communicate with customers. Mostly, CCM gets executed using a tool or software that localises conversations to central locations. This assists the marketing, sales and services teams to optimise customer engagement.
The crux is to manage customer interactions across varied communications and analyse feedback to enhance customer satisfaction. Note that the customer-centric mentality must apply to all interactions and not just during customer service or sales interactions. Say that you sell laptops online and customers desire same-day delivery. The onus for delivering on this rests upon members across the value chain, including sales, marketing and logistics.
Customer communication management entails tracking customer interactions and measuring satisfaction levels. The latter also involves using customer feedback to adapt the strategy and messaging for better results.
Why is customer communication crucial?
Customer communication helps customer service teams decipher what customers want. Effective customer communication is a two-way dialogue between company representatives and the customers. Hence, corporations must ensure to listen to and understand the customer feedback, complaints and questions.
Tips for customer communication management
Consider the purpose and intent of the message
Before communicating with customers, ponder over the purpose of the message. Is it to inform about deals and discount offers? Share a new product update or launch? Once these questions get answered, you can determine what strategy and approach work best.
Say that the objective is to inform customers of a new deal. In this case, sending email newsletters is deemed effective. On the other hand, if the purpose is to update customers about the store hours, placing signage or hoarding near the entrance shall serve this purpose best.
Clear and concise goals shall help you become a more effective communicator.
Determine the recipients of the message
At this stage, brands and businesses must focus on understanding the audience’s needs and how they will use the information. Although the exact nature of customer queries cannot get predicted, it is always helpful to anticipate them. Advanced anticipation enables businesses to avoid confusion and saves from time wastage. It also helps representatives be well-prepared and display that they are knowledgeable and trustworthy.
Look for opportunities to add value
Customer communication strategies should help customers get the most out of the service experiences. So, how do you provide value? The obvious answer is to listen closely to customer concerns and ensure the response gets targeted toward their specific needs. You can contact customers via email or create calendars for remitting automated messages that render helpful tips. Another option is self-service solutions such as free resources such as help centres, articles and video tutorials that help fulfil the objective of customer education.
However, advanced technologies have other avenues that can help add value. One such strategy is using visual engagement tools for real-time assistance. Real-time support with live assistance tools resides at the advanced level. Leveraging live engagement tools help brands identify errors at the first touchpoint and render the correct solution, thereby reducing the number of interactions. Here, enterprises can look at avenues such as co-browsing and video chat that help collaborate in real-time and guide customers through personalised conversations.
Being aware of the different communication methods people use
Understanding customers’ preferences for communication is crucial. It helps businesses to respond quickly and effectively. The popular communication options are phone, chat, email and social media.
A good practice is to treat all customer questions equally, no matter the chosen channel. Say that you have international customers. They might demand 24/7 access to live chat. Here, allowing people to contact support at any time helps reduce frustrations.
Better even, brands can create an omnichannel customer communications strategy.
According to research, businesses with omnichannel customer service strategies retain 89 per cent of customers on average. The ones with a weak omnichannel strategy retain up to 33 per cent of customers.
An omnichannel platform helps redefine how brands communicate with customers, both online and offline. Businesses can gain insights into the customer journey to help enhance communication across touchpoints.
Make information easy to find and understand
People today want quick and easy access when seeking answers. One way is to add a search bar on the website that enables users to conduct research without waiting for someone to respond. Another aspect is content organisation. So, brands should ensure that the informational content gets organised into specific categories such as Installation & Setup. This makes it easy to find information without rigorous digging. When customer communication becomes transparent, customers are more understanding and willing to work with your brand to resolve their queries.
Another aspect is to deploy chatbots for automated communication. Doing so serves multiple purposes. First, it helps reduce wait time. Automated customer support renders 24/7 engagement. Another is real-time support. Here, both live chat and chatbots can help deliver upon this endeavour. Automating your customer communications helps improve the brand image. However, the only caveat is over-automation. Enterprises can plan the chatbot strategy to balance the use of the bot as the first contact channel for FAQs and transfer complex conversations for human support.
At the end of the day
Customer communication management is crucial and must be done right by leveraging the power of analytics. Without proper analytics and insights, brands and businesses will lack appropriate direction. Analytical tools and software help determine the ease of information, messaging contents and overall interactions. With that said, some of the metrics that enterprises can look at are the First response time (FRT), Average resolution time (ART) and Customer Satisfaction (CSAT), among others.
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