Top Tips for Improving Customer Communication Online
Although it might seem obvious, somewhere behind every online sale and statistic is a real human being.
In the digital, virtual, and measurable age with cold hard figures, it can be worryingly easy to forget about the factor that matters most in business, the customer.
To ensure that you create a brand image that people genuinely connect with, adopting a customer-centric approach to your marketing (and perhaps your operations in general) might be the best way forward.
Caring for the customer dramatically hinges on your company’s ability to communicate in the online world.
Not just do you require to make sure that you are there for the customers should they need it. Still, it would be best if you strived to simultaneously develop a consistent brand voice, one that people recognize and hopefully start to find comfortably familiar.
If you need some extra help in this area, there is no need to start panicking. You can utilize plenty of techniques and platforms to ensure your customer is treated like an individual and not just another number on a database.
1. Live Chat for Your Website
If a customer finds your website and your products or services manage to pique their interest, being able to reach out to them to answer any questions in real-time could be the difference between making a sale or losing a customer.
One of the best ways to do this is to implement a live chat feature on your website. In doing this, customers can reach out to you via a familiar, easy-to-use chat function to ask you what they need.
JivoChat offers businesses many great communication solutions in the form of live chat functions, so they are worth checking out for deeper insight into some of the best options available.
Managing a business can be a frantic affair, so if you do not have time to answer queries yourself, there is no need to worry; you can enlist the help of some great chatbots who can take some of the pressure off. They can help support you until you can get to the customer or even be set up with predetermined parameters that take care of the customer all by themselves.
2. Update Your Details
As businesses grow and develop, they might change their address, phone numbers, CEOs, or even countries.
Your online details must be updated to reflect any changes to ensure that your customer knows who they are dealing with exactly. Failing to do so can be damaging in many ways, like losing out on customers because they cannot find out how to contact you or harming your brand’s integrity and trustworthiness by presenting misinformation to the audience.
Your website is the digital storefront through which many customers will interact with your brand for the first time, so making sure they know what your company stands for is a must to win over their loyalty.
An about us page is highly beneficial in this regard. If you feel comfortable enough to do so, adding pictures of yourself and some of your staff members can show the customers the human face at the other end of the computer screen. This can help communication, mainly since the customers will put the words into a portrait.
It is the more deserving application in mind that communication only works properly when your customer has a chance to reply, so making sure that you keep the channels open and offer them a platform to conduct a two-way conversation is critical.
3. Practice Your Virtual Conversational Skills
Immediate messaging is the preferred form of communication for many; some people find it easier to talk via an IM platform. Whether this is down to nervousness, shyness, or just plain convenience, practicing your virtual conversation skills is necessary.
This can pertain to a wealth of areas, one of the more important of which is your ability to deal with disgruntled, unhappy, and sometimes possibly downright rude customers.
Your customer service skills, approachability, and your propensity to stay calm do not necessarily need to suffer just because you have taken your efforts online. Maintaining clear and reply with class, dignity, thoughtfulness, and understanding is even more critical when online communications. Once you have sent a message in writing, there is no turning back.
4. Make Yourself Available Across All Channels
Social media can be an excellent way for people to contact your company, provided you are signed up to a few platforms, of course.
Ensuring that your company has a presence on as many relevant social media platforms as possible can make your company more available to the customer.
The more available and easily accessible you are to the customer, the greater the likelihood you will increase your communication levels across the board.
Suppose you do not yet have the resources to monitor your brand across a large number of social media channels. In that case, there is no need to worry, as keeping your brand active and ready to communicate is more important than stretching yourself too thinly.
However, there are some handy platforms to help you manage your social media, so they are well worth checking out if you feel overwhelmed or need a helping hand.
Another alternative is only to utilize platforms that apply directly to your target demographic. For example, if you happen to be selling a product to people over the age of 65, Facebook might be the best way to start building your presence.
Generally, improving your communication across various channels can be ideal for covering a wide range of ground and making yourself more available to the customer.
5. Replying to Posts
Social media can help your brand voice thrive in the eyes of the public, but it can also significantly damage it if misused when replying to customers online.
Replying to customers’ tweets and posts is essential in many instances, but be warned that the whole world can see your reply.
Like Wendy’s, some brands thrive on their humorous replies and are well known for delivering sass and taking potshots at the competition. Other brands, like Nike, are known for their sincerity and emotional marketing strategy.
Finding the right voice for you is, in many ways, creating yourself the vehicle through which you communicate with your customers, as it will likely inform your choices.
6. Stick to Your Promises
Managing multiple channels is difficult but by no means impossible. If you decide to branch out or find that your company is beginning to expand rapidly, a good way to reassure your customers you will get back to them is by making promises.
Sticking to these promises is essential to your brand image and customer satisfaction levels. For example, say if you received an email from a customer who needed a question answering a product. Still, you were currently unavailable; setting up an automatic reply that promises to reach out within 48 hours can buy you some time.
Moreover, if you can meet your deadlines, you can build more trust between you and the customer base you are striving to communicate with. Ideally, replying promptly is best, but this is not always possible.
In this regard, transparency is vital. There is no harm in letting the customer know this if you are running behind, provided the message is good. It is often very little you can do about being extremely busy, so thanking the customers for waiting instead of apologizing for the queue might be a good example of this.
7. Offer Free Consultations with a Booking Service
If your customers need to speak to you about an important subject, they might not always wish to communicate on an instant messaging platform or by sending an email that they cannot be sure will reach you.
Offering them a consultation option via an online booking service on your website could be an ideal alternative for anyone wishing to take a more direct approach.
The reason opting for a booking service could work because it essentially ensures that everyone gets a chance to actively engage and communicate with your business, as long as they grabbed a place in the virtual queue.
However, to make sure you promote communication wherever possible, a booking system should be used in conjunction with an instant messaging service, as this can help you cover all bases.
If you can afford the time, workforce, or finances, hiring a full-time member of staff who specializes in customer-centric roles would be perfect for taking on this responsibility.
For smaller companies or anyone in general who needs to keep a careful eye on their finances, a more cost-effective alternative to this could be investing in the help of an AI receptionist.
If offering the personal touch is what your business thrives on, you could always put your phone number on your website if you felt brave and wanted to put your speaking skills to the test.
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