A business’ life and wealth is influenced by many factors – the way it is managed, the impact of its products and services, the approach it brings towards the market, the branding and marketing efforts, and not to forget – its customers.
Do customers love your business? Then you’ll be a step forward to your business success. Do they run for their lives when it comes to your business? If so, you have a serious problem.
It’s not like reinventing the wheel – you already know customers make or break a business (their power is considerable, especially when they refer your business to others, as the study shows). Though, in order for a good relationship to exist between them and your business, there has to be something more to it than them just liking the products you offer. The most popular companies and brands develop a personal connection with their customers. There’s a story behind the business, there’s a ‘face’ behind the brand. Well, maybe not an actual face, but the brand is personalized.
One of the most important ways to develop a relationship between your business and your audience is through communication. A few basic takeaways on company-customer communication include being honest, being available, empathizing with your client, and allowing communication to work both ways. Meaning you have to speak to your customers and you have to let your customers speak to you.
Unfortunately, I’ve seen businesses that ignore some of these important communication basics. Be it on purpose or not, what this goof does is hurt them in their relationship with the customers.
Thus, in order to avoid communication problems in your business, here are 4 mistakes to overcome:
Mistake #1 – You Don’t Have a Clear Way for Your Customers to Contact You
Alright, you have a business website. That’s a good first step. But do you have one or more options to let your customers reach out to you? I hope you do.
What options are there for your website’s contact us section? An option would be to list an email address where customers or potential clients can email you with their concerns. Although it’s not a bad contact method, there’s a risk of receiving spam emails because of the publicly shown address.
Another option for letting people reach out to you is by including a contact form on your website. This will spare you of receiving spam, as you can use captcha or smart captcha codes that filter unwanted messages from spam bots. Plus, a contact form offers you a few additional advantages like letting people select the matter they want to contact you about, which will help you sort messages and manage them easier, showing a custom thank you page or send a personalized autoresponder after submission, offering advanced reports on your submissions, and many more.
Besides your contact method from your website, you can also use social media to listen to customer inquiries. Your company’s Facebook page, Twitter channel, LinkedIn page, YouTube channel, and Pinterest account can be seen by your audience as convenient ways to get in touch with you. Sure, it all depends on which channels you choose to include in your communication strategy – you don’t have to be present on a certain social media channel, if it doesn’t make sense for your business.
Mistake #2 – You Don’t Ask for Your Customers’ Feedback
This is a very tricky one. Do you know what your customers think of your business? Do you ask them about it or expect them to just tell you if they find something wrong? Do you risk getting too much feedback you won’t be able to implement?
There’s an answer for each of these questions. But the general thought is that asking for feedback is something you should do in your business. If your customers are unsatisfied, there’s a high chance you’ll learn about it quickly, even without asking them.
On the other hand, if they are very pleased, running a feedback research may bring you some appreciations that’ll warm you up even on a cold winter day. For example, we often ask our customers at 123ContactForm – the company I work for – how their experience is with us. We create our own forms and surveys with our form builder, and customize them every time for what we need. If something bothers our customers, we hear about it before asking, like I said. If we weren’t to ask about how pleased they are with us, we wouldn’t have heard things like “I love your support” or “Your support team rocks”. And that is something you’ll always want to hear.
Asking for feedback shows you other things too, besides the satisfaction or dissatisfaction of your customers. It provides you with tips on improving your products and services, your marketing efforts, your sales and your overall business success. Thus, conducting a feedback research through, for example, a customer feedback survey, can help you more than you would think.
Mistake #3 – You Don’t Share Company News, Updates, and General Information
As mentioned, your brand’s story is part of the connection between your company and your customers. People can’t feel close to you if they know nothing about you. Just like in real life, like in a human-to-human relationship.
In order for your audience to be engaged with you, they need to know what you’re doing. Do you have new products, improved features, or a more extended distribution? Have you opened a new business location? These are all things your customers should find out. Use your communication channels to keep them informed about your business. If you think it is suitable for you, write a blog for anything worth sharing. For an even better customer engagement, share information of general interest like useful advice for your customers, industry news, and perhaps some easy-going content for lazy weekends can add value to the way your audience perceives your business.
Mistake #4 – You Don’t Show Your Customers How Much You Value Them
This is something that you do through communication, too. While your general business activity can contribute to showing your customers you care about them, communication is the one pinpointing it. Your regular communication tone, the content of the messages you’re sending to your audience, the way you respond to customer inquiries and concerns, the amount of thanks you give your audience for being your customers – they all are part of demonstrating you care about your clients. And by showcasing this, you offer them a reason to stay loyal to you and, who knows, maybe promote your business as brand ambassadors.
How can your customers see you value them? There’s more than one way. Do everything while keeping them in mind. Send them customized, personalized messages. Find out about their interests and deliver useful information. Run special promotions for them. Thank them for being with you. Show them that you’ve listened to their feedback and you’ve implemented it. And just tell them that you wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for them.
What’s your opinion on the right communication between a business and its customers? Feel free to share your suggestions!
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