The Ultimate Guide To Customer Communication: Strategies & Tips

Learn why a customer communication strategy is crucial, and discover the latest technologies that can enhance your customer interactions.
Published on: Oct 25, 2023
Last updated: Oct 26, 2023

TL:DR

  • Effective customer communication is crucial for business success, impacting customer satisfaction, retention, and acquisition.
  • Customer communication is more than just the act of communicating; it involves understanding how customers want to receive information and creating a long-term communication strategy.
  • A customer communication strategy can speed up communication, ensure message consistency, enhance customer retention, and improve customer acquisition.
  • Tips for successful customer communication include personalization, leveraging data insights, engaging on multiple channels, and training your team.
  • Technologies like CRM software, cobrowsing, live chat, and chatbots can aid in efficient customer communication.
  • Building a comprehensive customer communication strategy involves finding the 'why,' identifying your audience, developing your brand's tone and messaging, assessing resources, creating an action plan, and conducting regular evaluations.
  • Customer communication plays a significant role in maintaining a positive customer experience and ensuring repeat business in a competitive market.

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Communicating with your customers is one of the most important links in the business chain. With our lives becoming more digital by the minute, communication has never been easier — but it has also never been easier to get wrong.

Poor communication can lead to information overload, unmatchable customer expectations, and customer drop-off over time. Whether you’re in customer service, marketing, or sales, knowing the tricks of the trade when it comes to communication can be the difference maker.

So, what do you need to know? Customer communication is more than just how to communicate with clients. It’s about understanding the ways in which they want to receive communication, which tactics you can employ to improve efficiency on both ends, and building a communications strategy for long-term success.

With 73% of business leaders reporting a direct link between customer satisfaction and company success[1], this isn’t a small factor to put to the bottom of your to-do list.

Read on to find out more about what good customer communication looks like, and how to replicate that for your business.

What is customer communication?

In short, customer communication is a catch-all term for any interaction between a company and a customer, often taking place across a wide range of channels. Not limited to customer service teams, customer communication can also be carried out by sales and marketing departments, amongst others.

Whether via e-mail, social media, telephone, or live chat, effective customer communication can provide an exceptional customer experience, and even turn a negative one into a positive.

With a whopping 81% of people claiming that good customer service increases the likelihood of a repeat purchase[2], this is important stuff.

What is a customer communication strategy & why is it important?

In order to deliver consistent, high-quality customer communication, you need a strategy.

As with all things, success doesn’t happen by accident, so it’s important you get this right.

Here are some ways a strong customer communication strategy can benefit your business.

Speeding up communication

Efficient communication means rapid resolution. By developing a well-planned communication strategy, you can cut down on the back-and-forth, maximize staff’s time, and provide quicker solutions for your customers.

Slow and steady wins the race, but with 90% of customers reporting that quick responses are a key part of the customer experience, if you take too long, you’ll be out of the race before it even begins.

Keeping the message consistent

The last thing your customers need is mixed signals. If one agent promises something, only for another agent to say it was never a possibility, your customers will quickly become disengaged and lose trust in your brand.

World-leading B2B SaaS brands such as HubSpot or Gong are perfect showcases of companies with good communication strategies. Consistency in not only their brand but the ways in which they communicate with their customers makes consumers confident in the experience they’ll receive, time after time.

Improve customer retention

Customers will only come back if there is something available that is suited to them. By customizing your customer communication to each individual, you can showcase products they might be interested in, and increase your chances of a repeat purchase.

A popular example of customized outreach is offering specific customers discount codes or limited-time offers based on their purchase history. Sent straight to their inbox, customers will see the items they are interested in at an attractive discounted price.

Another useful tactic is to implement customer feedback in visible places. If a customer previously suggested a new channel of communication or a less convoluted customer support process, implementing this can go a long way to winning their support.

Enhance customer acquisition

With so many customer communication channels to leverage, your audience is spread far and wide. By developing an effective customer communication strategy you increase the likelihood of finding customers through social media, blog posts, and cold email outreach, amongst others.

Social media is one of the most powerful tools for customer acquisition in today’s business environment. You’ve seen countless brands running limited-time competitions to attract new followers and engagement, and by maximizing your social media presence you are likely to be suggested to users as they browse.

Example of a customer communication strategy

By now, you’ve got a good idea of why a customer communication strategy is so important, and how it can help increase customer satisfaction, drive sales, and streamline day-to-day operations.

However, the question still remains — how do I build a communication strategy? We’ve broken it down into a few steps to help you get started.

  1. Find the ‘why’ – why do you need/want to communicate with your customers?
  2. Find your audience – who are you talking to and what do they need?
  3. Develop your message – what does your brand voice sound like? What are the key messages you want to push to your audience each day?
  4. Consider your resources – which channels of communication are currently open to you? How deep is your customer communication roster? What can you afford to implement?
  5. Contingency planning – identify likely obstacles and potential crisis situations, and develop pre-planned protocols for any emergency situations.
  6. Communication partners – evaluate potential communication partners, including media outlets, and devise a plan that maximizes reach and brand profile.
  7. Create an itemized action plan – this change won’t happen overnight, so it’s important to know the steps along the way. Create a chronological pathway with iterative changes to ensure regular improvement.
  8. React and adjust – the road to success won’t be without its bumps. Set regular evaluation touchpoints to ensure you’re on track and readjust if you’re not.

Customer Communication Strategy Template

Feel free to use the template below to get started

1. Executive Summary

  • Objective: Provide a brief overview of your customer communication strategy, including its primary goals and the key customer segments it aims to target.

2. Customer Segmentation

  • Identify Your Customer Segments: Define and describe the different customer segments your business serves. Segments can be based on demographics, behavior, needs, or any other relevant criteria.

3. Communication Channels

  • Select Communication Channels: List the communication channels you plan to use to reach your customers. These may include email, social media, website, phone, chat, or in-person communication.

4. Content Creation

  • Content Strategy: Outline the type of content you'll create for each customer segment. This can include newsletters, product updates, blog posts, social media posts, etc.
  • Content Calendar: Create a content calendar specifying when and how often you will publish content for each channel.

5. Messaging and Tone

  • Messaging Guidelines: Define the key messages you want to convey and ensure consistency across all communication channels.
  • Tone of Voice: Describe the tone and style you will use in your communication (e.g., professional, friendly, informative).

6. Customer Lifecycle

  • Map the Customer Journey: Identify touchpoints and communication opportunities at different stages of the customer lifecycle (e.g., awareness, consideration, purchase, post-purchase).
  • Personalization: Specify how you will tailor communication to meet the specific needs and interests of customers at each stage.

7. Feedback and Data Analysis

  • Feedback Mechanisms: Define how you will gather and respond to customer feedback. This can include surveys, reviews, and customer support channels.
  • Data Analysis: Describe how you will collect and analyze data to measure the effectiveness of your communication efforts.

8. Automation and Personalization

  • Automation Tools: Identify the tools and systems you will use for automating communication (e.g., email marketing software, chatbots).
  • Personalization Strategy: Explain how you will personalize communication to make it more relevant to individual customers.

9. Crisis and Issue Management

  • Crisis Communication Plan: Outline a plan for how you will communicate with customers in the event of a crisis, such as product recalls or service disruptions.
  • Issue Resolution: Detail how you will address and communicate solutions for common customer issues or complaints.

10. Team and Responsibilities

  • Team Structure: List the team members responsible for customer communication and their roles.
  • Responsibilities: Specify the tasks and responsibilities of each team member.

11. Metrics and KPIs

  • Key Performance Indicators (KPIs): Define the metrics you will track to measure the success of your customer communication efforts (e.g., open rates, conversion rates, customer satisfaction).
  • Targets: Set specific targets for each KPI.

12. Budget

  • Budget Allocation: Outline the budget allocation for customer communication, including expenses for tools, content creation, and advertising.

13. Implementation Timeline

  • Timeline: Create a timeline for the implementation of your communication strategy, including milestones and deadlines.

14. Review and Optimization

  • Review and Analysis: Describe how and when you will review the effectiveness of your strategy and make necessary adjustments.
  • Continuous Improvement: Emphasize the importance of continuous optimization based on feedback and data.

10 Tips & tricks to nail customer communication

An arsenal full of tips and tricks for customer communication will go a long way to securing long-term success for your business.

Here’s some of our favorites.

Utilize personalization

Personalizing your communications is one of the best ways to drive customer engagement, increase repeat customers, and increase the likelihood of word-of-mouth marketing.

One relatively simple way to implement this is in your customer support processes — knowing about your customer, their behavior, and previous interactions they have had with your company can help you craft personalized support experiences and proactively solve their issues. Another could be segmenting your mailing lists to provide more targeted messaging for each recipient.

Whether you’re personalizing for a specific customer or for a wider demographic, people like to feel they’re being seen.

Leverage data insights

Data is king in the world of business. From predicting buying habits to finding the ideal platforms and timings to contact your customers, data is the backbone of an effective customer communication strategy.

When it comes to collecting data, there is a laundry list of options. From social media surveys and competitions to e-mail questionnaires and customer rewards programs, you can get creative.

However, with great data comes great responsibility. Whilst the recently introduced GDPR regulations aren’t as stringent in the United States, the management and storage of data are still core responsibilities for businesses.

Engage on multiple channels

On average, it takes around eight touchpoints to make a sale or start a meaningful conversation with a new customer[3]. This means that reaching out through one channel is likely to slow down your new customer acquisition and hamper your customer support efforts to get to quick resolutions and high CSAT scores quite considerably.

By contacting customers through multiple channels, you not only get their attention more regularly, but you also make the purchase and support process much more convenient for them. With several different channels to choose from, you are much more likely to see success when you reach customers where they already are.

Just ensure to develop a thorough tone of voice for your brand, so that all communication, no matter through which channel, is consistent and recognizable.

Train your team

It goes without saying, but the people delivering your customer communication strategy need to be well-equipped to do so. Delivering comprehensive training to your employees can be the difference between a positive customer experience and a negative one, especially when dealing with difficult situations.

By running simulations, providing scripts for live chats, and giving employees guidelines for phone calls, you eliminate much of the risk associated with human delivery.

Investing the time in your team’s customer communication skills will pay endless dividends throughout the coming months and years.

Technology that can help with customer communication

Whilst a big part of customer communication is the human touch, don’t panic — it’s not all in your hands.

There are a host of technologies and software that can assist in various ways, helping to improve efficiency and reduce errors in the customer communication process.

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software

The first, and arguably the most commonplace, is Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software.

An effective CRM software allows businesses to store customer and prospect information in one central place, accessible by any member of a support team. From contact details and previous conversation history to communication preferences and order history, this reduces error and saves time for both employees and customers.

Two of the most well-known CRM platforms are Intercom and Hubspot, both rated at 9.5/10 or above on a recent Tech.co comparison.

Cobrowsing

Cobrowsing agent view
What customer support agents see during a cobrowsing call: their user's computer screen, an independent cursor they can control to interact with the user's screen, and console logs for easy troubleshooting.

A relatively new player in the customer communication space, cobrowsing is growing in popularity as a strong option for businesses looking to collaborate with their customers.

Cobrowsing makes it easier to connect with customers in a more personalized and secure way, allowing customer support agents to conduct video calls and solve challenging issues together with one-click screen control and multi-cursor support.

Adding to its pedigree as an efficiency tool, cobrowsing also offers the one-on-one human interaction that customers are still searching for. Whilst chatbots and automated help desks have their merit, you lose out on a valuable touchpoint with your customers.

Danish software company, ChurchDesk, utilized Fullview’s cobrowsing software to speed up their resolution for customer support tickets, increasing their CSAT and employee satisfaction scores in the process.

Fullview's cobrowsing solution is a zero-download, no-fuss, and 100% GDPR compliant way to connect with users in a far more personalized and one-on-one way, making cobrowsing an essential part of any customer communication setup.

Discover some of the leading cobrowsing solutions for 2023, here.

Live chat

A live chat feature is often a reassurance to customers, as they can instantly get in contact or be given an estimated wait time without the uncertainty that comes from sending an email or waiting on hold.

By hosting a live chat, your customers are not only receiving faster resolutions, but they are increasingly likely to get in touch if they have a minor issue. As many customers do not want to stay on hold on the phone for an extended time or send an email to an address that may or may not be monitored, a live chat helps them stay engaged with you.

A great example of an industry that is putting live chat to good use in SaaS. Nearly all major B2B SaaS companies use a live chat service on their websites and apps, allowing customers to get in touch instantly to troubleshoot or ask for assistance with their software.

However, live chat isn’t always the perfect solution for all. If your staff roster isn’t deep enough to handle the volume of incoming chats, customers can quickly become disengaged and abandon the chat before receiving a resolution.

Furthermore, without a strong CRM platform in support, customers can often end up repeating themselves each time they are transferred to a new agent, which can further frustrate them.

Live chat is a great option for businesses with the resources to manage it effectively, but it isn’t a magic remedy for all.

Chatbots

An alternative to live chat is the chatbot. Perfect for companies with a smaller customer support team, chatbots are essentially automated customer service agents with a pre-determined script and resolution process.

For simple customer issues or queries, the chatbot can be extremely effective as there are an unlimited number of ‘agents’ and therefore, zero wait time. However, for more complex issues, a chatbot may not be equipped to provide effective resolutions.

One industry particularly suited to the chatbot is the insurance industry. Potential buyers can ask a range of questions about an insurance plan to receive instant answers 24/7. In this scenario, the chatbot can handle the initial interest and retain customer details for a member of your sales team to follow up with.

However, once again, this isn’t a faultless system. There are instances where a chatbot isn’t programmed to understand certain customer issues, leading to incorrect responses and increasingly frustrated customers.

With 40% of consumers still preferring human interaction for issue resolution[4], a chatbot is something to invest time and care into, in order to get it right.

Conclusion

Customer communication may seem like just one of many considerations for your business, but it is undoubtedly one of the most influential contributors to short and long-term success.

With more competing brands on the market than ever before, giving your customers a positive experience is crucial in ensuring repeat business — otherwise, they may just look elsewhere.

Follow our steps to create a comprehensive customer communication strategy, and you’ll be on your way to sustainable success. In a nutshell:

  • Find your ‘what’ and ‘why’
  • Develop your brand’s tone and messaging
  • Assess your resources and employ appropriate systems where possible
  • Create an action plan
  • Conduct regular check-ins with various evaluation touchpoints

Customer communication can make or break your business in today’s competitive landscape, so don’t leave this one on the back burner.

Sources used:

Sources last checked: 20-Oct-2023

Author

Shifa Rahaman

Content Marketing Manager

Contributor

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