Customer communication is fundamental to the success of any business. It ensures the products or services of the business meets the customer's needs, expectations, and standards. Effective communication can improve the client relationship and potentially add more leads to the business.
So then which is the best method of customer communication: face to face, phone call, zoom, email?
It’s easy to think that the most direct method of communication of face to face, in-person interactions; where the customer is present in a store, surrounded by sights, smells, packaging, crowds and helpful salespeople delivers more sales than a website or catalog. However the success of, and the continued growth of the ecommerce boom, caused as the COVID-19 pandemic took hold - forcing customers to the safety of online shopping, demonstrates this to be untrue. Not in-person, online and virtual means of communication are proving to manage to communicate to customers just as effectively and profitably, if not more.
With customer communication, the real issue at hand isn't the method but the content. The purpose of customer communication is to establish a relationship, intimacy and connection with the customer; to better cater to their needs, leading to greater customer satisfaction and potentially adding more leads to the business.
According to a global commissioned survey conducted of 12,000 global adult consumers, businesses with an effective customer communication embodied the fundamental elements of the following:
Transparency in customer communication refers to being honest and open. Customers want to buy from brands that stand for something, brands that align with their personal beliefs. A purchase now represents your values, a demonstration of shared beliefs between customer and brand. They appreciate learning more about the production process. Understanding how your business operates helps customers feel more comfortable paying for your products or services and helps facilitate trust of the business brand.
Transparency also means being honest about how you can meet customer needs and being upfront with any pricing changes, policy changes or business developments that could affect the customer. This is where the element of Empathy - the act of understanding another person's perspective, comes into play.
Empathy is a skill that helps clients and businesses understand one another. It takes dedication to listen to customers, trying to imagine and understand what feelings they might experience in the face of change or sudden need. Empathetic communication allows businesses to connect with clients on a more personal level which increases profitability, and generates a positive reputation for your brand.
Empathetic communication sets up a structure of feedback which allows businesses to practice self-awareness. When businesses practice self-awareness, reflecting back and analyzing their own products, services and brand image they are able to identify areas for improvement. It helps businesses recognize its strength and to admit mistakes and work on them. Acknowledging errors and taking proactive steps to fix them, it fosters businesses to make sounder decisions. Businesses that practice self-awareness are less likely to lie, cheat, and steal; they are more likely to be confident, constructive and more-profitable overall.
Although there is no universal best method of customer communication as every business and customer differ, regardless of the method; the fundamental elements of transparency, empathy, and self awareness determine the efficacy of customer communication which result in client retention and success for any business.