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As important as your marketing and sales teams are when converting leads, your service team is just as crucial to maintaining brand advocates. When they’re solving your customers’ problems and helping them achieve success using your product or service, they’re effectively helping turn customers into a growth engine for your business.
To make sure you stay on the right track and your team continues to create and please promoters, here are tips on nailing effective communication with customers.
- Be patient with customers
- Don’t interrupt
- Know your product or service inside-out
- Convey the right tone
- Provide thorough and accurate information
- End conversations properly
- Make sure you use the right tools
Be patient with customers.
You never know which mood a customer will be in when they call you up or speak to an advisor through live chat or a chatbot. They might have an ordinary question, they could be really confused about something or they could complain and need somebody to vent their frustrations at.
Whatever the situation, you need to have a great deal of patience so you can understand the problem and help them. The last thing you want is to argue back and p*ss off the customer so much that they only have bad things to shout about you.
Stay calm, listen and be as helpful as you can. You’ll catch the finer details and 95% of customers actually prefer high-quality support over speed, so there’s no need to rush!
You know when you’re watching an engaging YouTube video and then it suddenly stops all of a sudden with an annoying ad you don’t care about? That can be pretty annoying. Nobody likes being interrupted, whether it’s on YouTube or during a conversation.
If a customer is complaining or trying to share some information with you, don’t interrupt them. You might have heard the same lines over and over and think it’s better to cut them off and give them a solution you know has worked before.
Yeah...that probably won’t work as well as you hope.
The more you interrupt, the more frustrated a customer could get. There’s a reason they contacted you so let them have their say. For a conversation to go smoothly, listen, acknowledge that you understand and once they’re done speaking or venting, offer them a solution you know has worked.
This way, they’ll feel more valued that they could get everything off their chest and you were there to listen.
Know your product or service inside-out.
The best communication with customers is when you don’t leave them waiting on hold repeatedly. Just put yourself in their shoes. When you’re talking to a customer service team, it’s easy to get frustrated when they keep you waiting as it’s obvious they’re getting the answers from the person who actually has them.
The longer you have to wait for an answer, the more agitated you’re likely to get and it can affect how you perceive that company.
That’s how your customers could feel. They have questions and they expect you to have the answers pretty much right away. The fact is, whether it’s marketing, sales or service, there’s really no excuse for anyone in the company to be unaware of your products or services.
Obviously, that all boils down to training but customers aren’t concerned about that. They need knowledgeable and friendly experts on the other end that will have the answers. If you’re in a management position, make sure everyone gets the relevant training so they’re walking, talking knowledge base for your customers.
Convey the right tone.
Whether it’s face to face, through live chat, on social media or over the phone, your tone is the 'make or break' when it comes to effective communication with customers. They already have a good idea of your brand’s tone of voice and it could be the reason they decided to purchase from you in the first place over a competitor.
You need to match that through any means of communication. If your brand’s tone of voice is chilled and friendly, everything else needs to match. If you’re super serious in a corporate culture, it’s probably not a good idea to try and be humorous and sarcastic as that’s not what customers expect.
Don’t be defensive, avoid scripted language, stay empathetic, use positive words and try not to use jargon that alienates the audience.
Stick to what your customers know and avoid tones that could be misinterpreted like sarcasm or irony. It might be completely innocent but who knows how customers take it The bottom line is...keep your brand’s tone in mind at all times and you won’t burn the bridges you’ve worked so hard to build.
Provide thorough and accurate information.
Customers will appreciate you more when they leave having had their problems solved. If you give them one or two-word answers, they could end up leaving with more questions than answers. They might also have a negative perception of your brand and customer service team which means your competition is ready and waiting to take advantage.
Every response needs to be accurate and thorough. If a customer is frustrated, providing clear and detailed information which helps them can still turn the situation around. In the future, they’ll remember how helpful your team were and will rely on them again.
End conversations properly.
Studies show 54% of people stop purchasing from companies that provide bad customer service. As important as first impressions are with customers, conclusions are equally as vital. If it’s clear that you or your support team are in a rush to end the conversation and get to the next disgruntled customer, you’ll ruin their experience.
Sure, it’s a good sign that the team is eager, but that can backfire in some cases. Even if it extends the call or chat by a few minutes, make sure the conversations end well and positively.
Ask them if there’s anything else you can help them with or tell them not to hesitate to contact you in the future. Offering value to the end of a conversation can leave customers more content than trying to do everything too quickly. If you want to go one step further, ask for feedback as well to gauge their satisfaction as it also makes them feel a little more valued.
Make sure you use the right tools.
Using the right tools can make you and your customer service teams be more efficient and productive when communicating with customers. Let’s say they’ve called you or they’re using your live chat services - you should be able to instantly pull up their records from the details of their last interaction, purchases and more.
Having this information gives you more context to customers’ issues. They could call up to check if there’s any update from when they last contacted you and the last thing they want is the painful process of repeating the issue multiple times.
That’s where a tool like a customer relationship management (CRM) system can help. It’s a place where you can store customer information and anyone with relevant access can manage this information. It’s also a great way to maintain accuracy and an audit trail should you ever need it.
Whatever information you or your team need about a customer’s query, it’s all there.
It’s now a great time to be a customer. They have the choices in front of them and there’s plenty of competition to choose from. It’s why your support needs to stand out so your happy customers can end up as your best marketers. But there are loads of tactics you can still use to delight customers - and we’ve collated them in one easy-to-follow guide.
Delight customers and take your marketing to the next level with Inbound 2.0.
We’ve created Inbound 2.0 to make sure your marketing and customer service tactics are as effective as ever. You’ll find plenty of information on buyer personas, statistics, tips, tips, best practices, ways to delight customers and plenty more to get you started.
Click the link below to get your copy.