For any business to survive, the focus should be on happy and satisfied clients. Of course this is just one of the many pre requisites of a successful business and it does not undermine the importance of having a great product or service. However, if there aren’t any clients it does not help how great your service/product is.
As the famous quote by Frank Lloyd Wright goes, “If it sells, it’s art.” And if it does not, it’s pretty much useless. There can be a lot of reasons why transparency and communication with clients may help a business achieve the goals of being super successful. According to an article on Forbes about communication with clients, there are three very important points mentioned which make perfect sense. I want to cover some more similar aspects of transparency and communication that help you understand your clients better and increase overall client satisfaction.
Without further ado, here are those 10 effective tips listed and explained in easy to understand manner.
1. Listen to your customers
A lot of customer complaints are just about the fact that no one “listens” to them. Customers believe their problems are not understood well because the problems were never paid attention to. It’s a big relief for a customer to know that someone is actually listening to them and trying their best to resolve issues for them. Such customers might be more forgiving even if the issue is not resolved at the end. The fact that they were heard attentively and the problem was very well understood gives them an assurance that the person on the other hand will do his/her best to solve it for them and that the company actually cares about them.
2. Maintain a two way communication channel
Good communication is a two way channel. Whenever there is one sided conversation the communication loses its value and impact. As much as it is important to listen to customer and try and understand them, you should also let them know that there is some action being taken and the people at your end are working hard to make their experience better. An example of transparent communication is depicted in the chart below.
3. Inform customers of changes (good or bad) and win their trust
If businesses take on themselves to keep the customer informed of the good (and bad) changes, they’d win their customers’ trust easily and foster great relationships with them. Your customers would feel cheated if they heard bad news concerning your product or service from a third party. Once you convey such news directly to them, it eliminates any doubts they might harbor about you.
4. Keep the promises you make to them
Another great example of transparency and communication would be to make sure that whatever is promised to the customers is actually delivered. Nothing makes a customer lose faith in a company faster than false promises made to sell them a service/product. Not keeping your promises can actually end up harming your business because unhappy customers tend to be more vocal in their complaints than satisfied ones.
5. Thank them for their loyalty
Clients love being appreciated, but thanking them is one of the most underrated practices. Frequent rewards to clients make sure that they stay with the company and feel appreciated for being loyal to a particular brand or service. You could use any form of communication, including email, letters, or even a phone call to let your customers know that your company values them.
6. Monitor social media
There is no escaping social media these days. Customers can either make a brand or destroy it on social media and the impact is worldwide. No company can chose to ignore this medium of communication and has to be actively monitoring comments and engagement on social media to make sure that transparency is maintained.
As one of the most well-known brands of the world, American Express does a great job at making sure customers’ problems are resolved as soon as possible. Twitter is one medium they use to great effect. There are umpteen social media platforms that people use to connect and communicate with companies, and it is of paramount importance that businesses maintain a good check on these avenues to have clear communication channels open.
7. Avoid jargon and technical terms
You cannot expect your customer to be aware of the technical terms in your industry or business. Moreover, use of acronyms in official communication should be limited in order to make sure that you are on the same page with your clients and that they have a clear understanding of the message you’re trying to convey.
8. Anticipate customer objections/questions
“The more you sweat in peace, the less you bleed in war.”
– Chinese Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek (1887-1975)
The anticipation of possible customer objections or questions will make better equip you to handle most scenarios you might encounter while communicating with your clients. It also shows your business’s preparation and overall interest in communication strategies.
9. Surprise them with updates from the field
Client communication can be made effective and meaningful in a lot of ways and one of them is adopting a proactive approach towards sharing continuous updates with them, whether related to the industry or otherwise. A client will always remain happy if the communication channel is open and is usually initiated from the other end.
Sending updates to your client on an area or field in which they’re active is a value addition. It serves to show that your company goes over and above your scope of duty and service agreements to make them happier.
10. Measure and Improve continuously
Measure how satisfied your clients are with your level of communication using methods such as surveys and polls. These are not very time consuming and easy to understand. You might feel you’re doing an excellent work of maintaining communication with your clients, but unless there you have a direct input on that from the clients themselves, there might be a nasty surprise in store.
There is also the possibility that your communication strategy is below par not because of lack of communication but because of excessive communication that the client is not able to keep up with. There has to be a fine balance which suits your clients more than your business. It has to be tailor made to each client rather than treating all of them in the same manner. This can only be achieved through feedback and suggestions coming in from their end.
I have tried to highlight the best practices in communication here; however, there can always be more ways of creating a perfect strategy that suits your clients in particular. Your communication strategy should evolve over a period of time and continuously monitored to enhance overall customer satisfaction.