How to communicate effectively
Human communication is key!
As a company's success depends on its customers, the quality of its customer experience becomes a priority. But in a context where communication technologies are becoming more and more common, how can you ensure positive interactions with customers? By focusing on the human aspect, of course! Especially in B2B…
The first contact
Customers nowadays make a first contact, frequently anonymous, by chat, an online purchase or email via a form on your site. These are the modern ways customers show interest in your company. Now, all you have to do now is develop a friendlier and more engaging relationship with them!
At this stage, it can result in:
Courtesy call: surprise your customers with a special touch! You can call them to express your appreciation for having contacted you. This is a golden opportunity to interact with them. Even if they don’t answer their calls, leave them a brief message. It will be a guaranteed WOW!
Automated email: In an email message, thank your customers and invite them to contact you if they have any questions or issues with their purchases. An email can also inform your customers that a call will follow in the next few hours or days.
Online survey: Following a chat session or purchase, the survey helps to collect information in order to improve the overall customer experience.
Text, email, chat, telephone, video conferencing and video calling are all tools to communicate with your customers. Each has advantages and disadvantages. Tools are chosen depending on the client, the type of relationship to be established, the follow-up to be conducted, etc. Inevitably, you will probably opt for several different ways to communicate with customers.
Even in 2019, the telephone remains one of the most popular means of communication for business. Alexandre Graham Bell would be very pleased!
The phone is efficient and accessible means to communicate in a friendly way with customers. The telephone is often used alongside face-to-face meetings and videoconferencing. In the business world, people need to hear and see the people with whom they interact. Only the telephone can create a certain "intimacy" with the other person, without becoming intrusive. It gives the opportunity to capture emotions and nuances of the voice, leaving little room for interpretation.
There is nothing like a phone call to fully understand the situation of your customers (or to make yours known), adopt the right tone, and avoid tarnishing the relationship you work so hard to build.
Telephone or email?
A blogger described 6 situations in which the use of the phone was more appropriate than the use of email (https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/when-phone-is-better-than-email):
- You know that the subject matter is very important.
- You expect to have to answer several questions.
- You have to discuss a personal matter that requires discretion.
- You have complicated explanations to give.
- You took too long to answer.
- You have to apologize.
Finally, remember that IP telephony allows you to keep track of your calls: recording conversations is possible and simple!
Emails are preferred by many people because they can prepare and structure a response. However, the drafting and revision of the text is of great importance. Spend some time rereading yourself; otherwise, you could find yourself in hot water as this anecdote demonstrates (French): http://h2h-strategies.com/oups/.
Using email makes the following easier:
- Having a written record of decisions (and especially why they were taken at the time)
- The detailed discussion of a situation
- Sharing a legal contract
- Documenting a file
- The resolution of a complicated case
- Clarification of previous communications
- Explanation of a recommendation
Text messaging also plays an important role in business communications. This instantaneous means of communication allows for effective, short and accurate messages. It is delivered directly to the recipient's mobile phone. Unfortunately, customers may find this intrusive. What’s more, it is difficult to share these messages with employees.
This other means of instant communication is by chatting. Chatting is used primarily for the online purchasing process, after-sales service and technical support.
Conference calling is one of the many features of IP telephony. It allows you to group several people or collaborators during the same call without them having to travel. What are its main advantages? You avoid endless email exchanges that unnecessarily lengthen the decision-making process and preserve the human aspect in business communications.
Everyone has their own communication tools! However, for those who are looking for a more human contact, the telephone remains your best bet. Experiment contacting customers with the telephone. For example, call a customer you haven't spoken to in a long time. The result may surprise you!