How to Improve Communication with Your Current Customers
As marketers, we strive to communicate with our customers in the ways that they prefer. In fact, marketing is becoming increasingly consumer-driven. For example, with the rise of social media marketing, brands can communicate directly with their customers to develop products that sell, and consumers essentially become product “co-creators.” In this age of social commerce, 74% of consumers rely on social media to inform their purchasing decisions. Marketers need advocates buzzing about their products as people increasingly receive information about brands from their social connections.
In today’s competitive landscape, it is imperative to build relationships with these customers (both current and prospective) to ensure proper customer engagement. The foundation of any respectful relationship is communication or a means of connection between people or places. For the purpose of engaging your customers and keeping them engaged, both are important. Here are some key attributes that can lead to successful communication with your customers.
Don’t Waste Their Time.
While it’s understood that too little communication can be an issue, the same goes for too much. Be cautious of the volume and type of communication you are using. The most important part of any communication is the value that it holds. Ensure that what you have to say can add value to their life and your business. It’s also important to be conscious of how often you communicate with your customers. If you send emails or other forms of communication too frequently, the message you are trying to convey will lose its impact and customers will lose interest.
Participate In Useful Communication Through All Channels.
Social media is changing the way we communicate to customers. Communicating via social media channels is critical for elevating your level of customer engagement and forming stronger bonds with customers. That being said, it’s important that you use the appropriate channels. You might find that you are reaching a larger audience by being on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram but realistically, your LinkedIn target market is most likely different than your Instagram target market. Limit yourself to one or two means of communicating to ensure you can manage each channel properly. However, social media is not the only source of communication.
Secure networks, like LinkedIn, provide a messaging platform for their users. LinkedIn uses a platform name InMail for users to send direct messages to other users. It’s also a great tool to scout prospective new employees, as LinkedIn is primarily an employee/employer network. There are also the traditional means of communication such as face-to-face, email, printed communications, and video or podcasting. In addition, be sure that the messaging is brief and concise for all of these outlets. Whether you’re highlighting updates to current customers or promoting a new product, be sure that communication across all channels is the same. Consistency is key.
Listening Is The Most Important Piece Of Communicating.
Feedback from your customers is absolutely critical. Take the time to absorb what your customer is saying and respond to their particular problem or request. Not only will you be able to respond in a respectful and beneficial manner but it will also give a better indication of what your customers need.
Beyond listening, put yourself in your customer’s situation. Your customer’s problem is your problem and you need to be empathetic to what they need, while also offering solutions that are a good fit for both of you. Business needs are always evolving and by listening to customers, you’ll be able to meet this need as well as build healthier customer relationships along the way.
While it can be daunting for companies to take a strong stance in certain scenarios, don’t’ be afraid to stand for something, especially if it’s a positive message and consistent with your company’s brand and values. While you run the risk of disengaging some of your audience, as a result, you’ll build stronger relationships with those customers that remain. If you want loyal customers, you need them to care about you as much as you care about them. This can happen in many situations but in the past, the most common one is a customer review with a personal sellers response. As a seller if a customer openly comments or complains in a negative manner, the only way to avoid it having a negative affect on your product is to respond as nicely and as quickly as possible. A study presented by Bazaarvoice, indicated that 54% of those reading online reviews before shopping in stores are 25 to 35 year olds.
In regards to all communication, it’s crucial that you determine the best venues to engage with your customers and develop a plan to deliver these messages. There are numerous means of communicating so it’s important to choose those that best suit the needs, budget, and brand story of your company. There is no one true answer on the best way to communicate because there are 100 little things that go into every circumstance. Ways of communicating are always changing and it’s important to adapt to these changing methods and technologies in order to best connect with your target market of customers.
Here are 30 tips to improve customer communication on your website!
Make your value prop crystal clear. As humans, we have short attention spans. Today we’re likely to leave a website immediately if the value proposition isn’t clear. Use a five second test on UsabilityHub to see whether or not your website headline is immediately apparent.
Give visitors a clear action button. What’s the purpose of your website? What’s the #1 action you want visitors to take? Once you have those two things crystal clear, make it focal point of your homepage with a short line of copy and a beautiful button. If you have more than one call-to-action, you’re doing it wrong.
Use colorful, custom photographs. A picture is worth a thousand words. Invest in photography to best communicate your brand to your shoppers. Invite a few friends (and one who has a high-quality camera) to a photo shoot for an afternoon. You’ll have great images to use and reuse for months.
Use live chat to convert web traffic into leads. When visitors land on your website make sure you’re there to give them instant answers. Adding live chat software like Pure Chat to your website not only adds another communication channel, but a preferred channel. According to a 2014 Website Magazine study, those consumers who “use web-based [live chat] functionality… are more likely to buy and less likely to abandon their sessions.”
Track traffic sources. The better you understand where your web visitors are coming from, the better you can craft your message to serve them. Using Google Analytics to track traffic sources is an easy choice. SmallBizTrends provides a step-by-step article on how to use Google Analytics for your website.
Get quick insights. Use a tool like Qualaroo to get feedback about what’s working and what’s not on your website. You’ll learn not just that certain aspects aren’t working but also dig into why.
Streamline your contact forms. Gone are the days of eight-field contact forms. By now we should all know that increasing form fields on your website will decrease conversion. Use a tool like Typeform to make the contact form process simple and delightful for your website visitors.
Follow up with email marketing. If you fail to follow up after someone reaches out from your website, it’s a poor customer experience. Tools like Mailchimp make it easy to create subscriber forms and send email to your web subscribers.
Make it easy and delightful to call. Although many website visitors will prefer faster forms of communication like live chat, it’s still a good idea to have a phone number clearly visible on your website. For those who do choose to call, enhance the experience and use data to make the call personal. TalkDesk provides integrations with CRMs to give you a full view of contact history with each caller and tailor the conversation to them.
Make it easy to engage on social media. No matter which communication channels you provide on your website, some people will feel most comfortable engaging on social. Give website visitors easy access to all of your social channels and monitor them frequently with Tweetdeck or Respondly for support.
Use positive instead of negative statements. Remember the saying, ‘You’ll catch more flies with honey than vinegar?’ Readers on your website want to be encouraged and shown the benefit of what you provide instead of focusing on negativity.
Write blog posts to add additional value. Whatever problem your product or service is solving, your blog should do the same. Providing additional value (in the form of content) for the same purpose helps educate your audience and gives them even more reasons to make a purchase.
Ensure everything is beautiful on mobile web. Over 38% of web traffic now comes from mobile devices. This shift has caused Google to penalize mobile websites that aren’t up to snuff. Don’t miss out on organic traffic and ensure your website is mobile friendly.
Create an infographic. While you’re busy creating better visual communication assets, why not create an infographic? It’s a great way to communicate your brand, solve a real problem for you website visitor, and present it in a truly delightful way. Who doesn’t prefer an infographic to a long block of text? Canva has a free online infographic creator that’s easy to use for non-designers.
Create a newsletter with great content. A newsletter is a great way for website visitors to stay in touch even after they leave your website. Turn a one-time, curiosity-driven website visit into a long-lasting and valuable relationship adding him or her to your newsletter list.
Write with personality. People trust brands they know. If the voice of your website copy is bland, boring or cold you’re missing out on that magic connection. Use your personality to build that connection and draw people into what you’re all about.
Let your customers do the talking. Shoppers trust reviews and recommendations from their peers. Use a review system to share the feedback and results from your customers. A study found that 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. If you’ve run out of steam talking about yourself, just add customer testimonials to your site (but make sure to include names and companies).
Improve internal communication. Responding to incoming web chat requests or support tickets from website visitors requires compassion and precision. If your internal communication is broken, it may impact your ability to quickly resolve customer questions. Strengthen internal communication with tools like Slack, so everyone is on the same page and can effectively communicate externally.
Ask for feedback. Consider asking your customers (and even prospects!) for feedback on your website. You can do this when you’re on the phone or chatting with them. If you’ve built up a newsletter list you can also send out surveys asking subscribers for details about what would be most valuable.
Improve the organization of your site. Card sorting is a great exercise if you want to improve information architecture of your website. Engage customers and leads in a card sorting exercise to rethink the organization of content and ideas.
Update page titles and meta descriptions. Have you ever been Googling something and the search result description isn’t helpful? Improving page titles and meta-descriptions on your website will ensure you’re properly communicating expectations before someone lands on your site.
Make the buying process a breeze. If you’re an ecommerce website, the last place you want to introduce friction is on your shopping cart or checkout pages. To do this, limit the number of form fields required to checkout and get rid of anything that’s not mission critical to making a purchase. Your future customers will thank you with their dollars. Improving the buying process communicates to your buyers that you value their time.
Don’t “info dump.” There is such thing as too much information on a website. Although you may think your website is the one shot you have to share everything you do, switch up your thinking. Consider your visitors first. Only add elements to your website that are absolutely necessary. Not everything you want to communicate is valuable at this stage of the buying process.
Use icons. Icons are like mini pictures. Just like a photo is worth 1,000 words, icons can explain something in a small space. Using icons can visually communicate key points about your product or service in a delightful way. Many websites offer clean, modern icon sets for free.
Proofread. As the saying goes, “Good first impressions…are good for business.” Proofreading will ensure you present your business in a polished and professional manner. No one likes stumbling across an error. It reflects poorly and may indicate your team lacks attention to detail.
Create a robust FAQ page. Building an easy- to-consume page for frequently asked questions is critical to customer communication on your website. If there are any questions you’re regularly asked by prospects or customers, add it to the page. Just make sure you keep it neat and organized!
Use trust logos. If you’ve had your product featured in prominent publications like Forbes, Entrepreneur or Inc. you should showcase these trust logos on your website.
Introduce dynamic content. If your website content is “dynamic” that means the web copy and images displayed will change depending on who is visiting. For example, if you’ve tracked a website visitor with cookies and know they are a repeat customer, you might show them a coupon for free shipping. If someone is visiting your website for the first time, you may highlight a favorite product. Hubspot has written about the benefits of dynamic content and extreme personalization in your marketing. The more tailored your messages, the better you’re communicating.
Create a helpful footer. Don’t make your website footer an afterthought, but don’t get too crazy by adding an entire sitemap to your footer either. Just include links to your key pages. Design your footer in a way that doesn’t distract from your core content, but make sure it’s clear enough for your visitors to navigate. If you do have a lot of links, don’t forget to optimize for mobile!
Repeat your message in different ways. It’s very rare you get things right the first time. Consider repeating your same core message in different ways, using different language throughout your site. Different phrasing may connect with different people.