If you have a business that aims to be customer-centric, communication is an essential responsibility. Fortunately, you have more channels than in the past through which your business can interact with customers.
The key is to identify a selection of channels that are apt to work best for your brand and your customers. Choosing the correct ones could mean the difference between being heard and being ignored.
Try These Three Options
We’re operating in an age of channel proliferation. Businesses can tap into dozens of channels now — many of which didn’t exist a decade or so ago — so we’re highlighting three that your firm might do well to explore. See what you think.
Bet that one caught you by surprise. Many companies have assumed the value of email as a customer support channel dissipated long ago, but you should resist the temptation to overlook it today.
Email is often underused and neglected, which is a mistake. It’s a tried-and-true channel that can still deliver healthy results. The key is to avoid sending generic emails that add little value.
Instead, you should leverage the information you’re able to collect about your customers to send more effective emails.
“Use the huge amount of data you can now capture about your customers to send smarter emails, not more emails,” email marketer Chris Hexton suggests. “Make each email count and you’ll be a long way ahead of the competition.”
Social media is one of the most powerful customer communication channels today. It’s also one of the most underutilized, despite all the noise that is made about it, which means it remains a massive opportunity for brands that have yet to develop a proper strategy.
“One of the most significant upsides of staying in touch with clients over social media is that you’re meeting consumers where they’re already spending their time,” social media expert Bruce Milne explains.
“Use social media networks to regularly share content, updates and your own tips with clients, thus establishing yourself as a credible expert in your field and a top-of-mind choice when your type of services are required.”
Since the goal is to share content and eventually be regarded as a thought leader in your niche, LinkedIn is one of the best platforms for this purpose. You can study what some of the top companies are doing — such as Park West Gallery — to get an idea of what works. The goal is to publish and share relevant content on a regular basis.
Another key platform is Twitter, which can be skillfully leveraged for customer support. Any company that is in a service industry should be using Twitter. You can see how companies like Delta Air Lines make use of it by studying their profiles.
Customers prefer communication that is quick and convenient. That is why many have become fond of SMS when they interact with a business. More to the point, 81 percent of consumers find it frustrating to be tied to their computer or phone while waiting for customer service.
This makes SMS — which saves time and doesn’t require customers to be tied down — ideal. With SMS, customers can interact with the company on their own time.
They also get a transcript of the conversation that can be referenced in the future. From the business side of things, SMS enjoys higher-than-average open rates and is considerably more reliable than email or other written forms of communication.
Adopt a Multi-Channel Approach
No two customers are the same, even if they both fit your target customer profile. People have unique preferences and don’t all respond uniformly to a given method of communication.
If you’re aiming to expand your brand, facilitate better communication, and increase trust with your customers, then a multi-channel approach that involves some combination of email, social media, and SMS should get you where you want to go.