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The modern age is all about communication: online, in person, on the phone – you name it, your customers want it. The advantage of this is that businesses can really benefit from a receptive audience who expect communications, but the disadvantage is that poor communication could be a disaster for your future prospects.
Keeping your customers happy is the most important part of any business. Once you have built up your customer base, you need to keep as many people interested as possible to get repeat business and stabilize your income. But with so many different companies providing so much conflicting advice how do you know what is best for your company? And where should you start?
We all know that communication is key, but how often do we fail at communicating effectively? Think about all the rambling emails you’ve ever received or the messages that make no sense. It’s clear that for all that language sets us apart, we aren’t actually that good at using it.
Good communication is made up of 3 basic features: a clear subject, simple sentences, and good timing. So, if you plan to send an email to your customers about a sale, tell them that the email is about the sale in the opening line (as well as the subject), make all the details easy to find and tell them about it with enough notice. After all, telling your customers about a sale a week after most of the stock is gone is completely pointless.
Often, bad communication comes from rushing. Creating a marketing campaign for your company can be quite pressured, especially if you are in the run-up to a big event like Christmas. It is very easy to rush a project through and suffer as a consequence of sloppy work. Even when you are talking to a customer, you should always take time to think about the way that you are communicating and the message you are putting across.
When you are dealing with a particularly difficult customer, keeping them happy can be very difficult, especially when things look likely to get ugly. Again, taking time to listen will really improve your communication and, if you can, you should have a policy for dealing with complaints procedures to ensure that all customers are treated the same. This should also help your staff and stop them panicking because they don’t know what to say.
Customers are always looking for that extra something that makes a brand or business stand out. It might be that you are at the cutting edge of technology, or that your marketing campaign is particularly hilarious. Whatever it is, finding that something special really depends on the type of business you have.
Given that technology is now at the forefront of almost all businesses, presenting your customers with a handy app or another piece of software that allows them to interact with your business more easily will usually work wonders. Even if you aren’t a tech company, you can outsource your project idea to a specialist software company to help you develop something special for your customers.
You should focus your development on the needs of your customers, rather than what you want to get from the software you produce. For example, most banks now offer online banking, a natural step for banks who want to make it easier for their customer to access and manage their money. Companies that sell products might go for software to make the shopping experience more fun or easier to manage.
Now looking at all this, you might think that what you need is an all singing all dancing app that integrates everything and all with a smile. This is certainly an option – an expensive option – but not necessarily what you need. In the end, customers are looking for one thing: the easy thing. So keep it simple.
The vast majority of people will always choose to do the easy thing over the complex thing. It’s in our nature. So, when we are faced with one website that leads you directly to the product you want and another website that makes you jump through hoops first, you will naturally choose the first website.
Just like the elegant swan, furiously paddling under the water, your company should provide a seamless service to your customers in order to keep them happy. The experience needs to be effortless on their part – your company isn’t just a solution, it is the easiest solution.