Maintaining effective, positive communication with business clients is a critical part of growing your company. It’s important to develop a habit of interacting with clients from the early beginning of your work throughout the rest of your career.
Great interactions improve customer loyalty, help your clients feel that you’re trustworthy, and make it easier to deal with sticky situations. Use the following tips for improving communication with your clients:
1. Use a Positive, Proactive Approach
You may have heard the advice about smiling while you’re talking on the phone. Even though they can’t see you, clients will hear a positive voice and respond to that. Understand that clients may feel upset, confused, or annoyed.
Your attentive ability to keep your cool goes a long way toward soothing those feelings. Learn not to interrupt, to attend to the details of the complaint, and to accurately explain how you can resolve the issue.
2. Commit to Maintaining Transparency
The more that you can explain the processes involved in your business, the more understanding and patient clients will be.
Responding quickly when mistakes happen and then outlining how you plan to prevent those mishaps from happening in the future is a good practice that improves your business processes and also shows your clients that you value them. Don’t try to sidestep questions about invoicing, costs, and similar topics.
3. Treat Customers as People, Not Numbers
One of the biggest areas of customer annoyance is feeling that they are being treated as a number, a statistic, or a potential sale. Some of the best ways to accomplish this include
- Following up after providing a service or delivering a product
- Offering opportunities to provide feedback, such as surveys
- Contact customers by phone a week or two after your service or sale
- Alert customers to changes in policy or upcoming promotions
The more that your clients feel you view them as a person, the more they are likely to become loyal to your company.
4. Reduce Hold Times
Research shows that customers generally believe they have to wait too long to get to a live person on the phone, and many customers reach a point of frustration that leads to hanging up without reaching a sale or issue resolution.
Fortunately, a virtual answering service can decrease the amount of time consumers are on hold. This service routes calls to the appropriate department or person. The answering service may also have a feature that alerts you when a client has been on hold for a specified amount of time.
5. Be Available Through Multiple Formats
Modern customers often prefer to reach out through email or social media rather than through phone calls. Consider setting up communication through these various platforms and through instant chat features.
Remember that phone calls are some of the most popular ways for customers to get answers to questions and to resolve issues, so make sure consumers can reach a real person with a minimal wait. Carry this quick-response priority through when responding to emails, instant chats, and social media conversations. Respond within a day or two, but don’t make clients wait longer than that.
6. Increase the Number of Conversations
The more often you communicate with customers, the more you’ll understand their expectations and concerns. As you’re in regular contact, your clients will come to trust you more.
This is especially true when clients recognize that they’ll get a quick response to their queries. As you carry out these conversations, make sure that your side of the conversation is clear. This might mean explain terms or repeating certain parts of your communication. Ask questions to ascertain whether clients understand.
7. Avoid Common Mistakes
Some of the most common mistakes that drive away customers include offering too many choices on an automated answering service, creating a long list of steps before clients can speak to a human, and using standard, uninteresting prompts. When you choose a virtual answering system, remember to personalize messages to your customers or create a message that expresses your brand. First impressions carry a lot of weight with consumers. Make sure that your first impression is a good one.
Above all else, remember that each customer is a valuable asset to your business success. Even if you’ve dealt with 40 frustrated clients already, the client you are on the phone with now deserves your best. What communications steps have you found that improve relations between your company and clients?