Top Ten Ways to Communicate Well with Your Customers
1. Phone Calls
Nothing beats a good old fashioned phone call to clear up any questions or problems. They are quick, personal, and effective. Customers deserve to know that you think of them as people who deserve great service. Let them know that by picking up the phone and calling. Even if you have to leave a voicemail, they will know you want to resolve their problems right away.
2. Hand-written cards
For a really personal touch, send your customers hand-written notes or cards from time to time. Obviously, you can't do this if your business is a booming size, but for those really loyal customers, a hand-written thank you card for a special order can make a big difference. But is this really important when dealing with communication? Yes, it is crucial! Hand-written anything these days holds so much value, and lets your customers know that they are dealing with real people who care about them personally. Try it!
The 21st Century is upon us, which means we have to stay current with today's favorite methods of communication. Emails can be a great tool to let customers know deadlines, prices, policy changes, and even upcoming events. Keep a good list of customer emails, and keep them in the loop regarding anything that they are involved with. If your business sells John Carter printer ink, let him know when his favorite kind is on sale. If the ink will be a little longer in arriving for pickup, let him know that, too.
4. Face-to-face greetings
When a customer enters a place of business, he or she should be acknowledged as soon as possible. Not everyone wants a manager to come rushing over asking the same old “Can I help you” question, but it is nice to know that the workers know they have a customer. If possible, the business owner should spend time greeting customers a little while each day. Face to face conversation is the absolute best way to communicate with customers.
5. Text messages
Want to be really current? Convert that business email to a text, and get customer's permission to text them. They will receive their updates immediately and know how to make decisions based on the new information. Creating an app they can install on their phone would be even better. Either way, try to utilize this new way of communicating at least once in awhile. Your younger customers will appreciate you staying current with the trends.
Do people read newsletters? The answer is varied, depending on whether the customer is really invested in the company that sends it or not. A really nice, but short, newsletter can be a great communication tool. Some companies have special keywords the customer can search for in the letter in order to win a prize. Even if the customers don't end up reading through the entire newsletter, the great news is that they are reminded each month of your business, and the fact that you are alive and well. When they are ready to use your services again, all they have to do is reach for the latest newsletter and call you up.
The biggest key in communication is listening, so give your customers a chance to talk. They may not march in to your business and let you know what they think, but they will be glad to fill out a survey. Surveys are a win-win for you and your customers. They let you ask the questions you want answers to, and they let the customers share their opinions and even give suggestions.
8. FAQ website page
Once a business has been around for awhile, the customer service people start to hear the same questions over and over. To cut down on this, go ahead and create a good frequently asked questions page to post on your website. Customers may be able to get their most basic questions asked without having to call your business. Anytime you can save your staff some extra work, you should. Be sure to include an email address or phone number at the end of the questions in case the customers still need help.
9. Open door policy
Let your customers know that you are always available to answer questions or help resolve problems. The worst feeling in the world is not being able to reach a business when you need to. Don't let that happen to your customers. Make them feel heard by having someone available as much as possible. Answer emails quickly (within 24 hours). Return phone calls the same day. At the very least, respond with a note that tells them you are working on the answers.
Loyal customers should be recognized by giving them special offers or special attention. Send your frequent customers coupons on occasion to thank them for their patronage. Promotions can be a great way to communicate with your customers, and to encourage them to bring their friends to your door, as well.