Communicating with your customers
Before you pick up the phone or meet with a customer for a coffee, here are some key tips to remember:
- Build a relationship – take the time to get to know your customers and take note of what they’re telling you. That way the next time you speak to them you can ask about their kids birthday party or how their dog Rufus is going.
- Really listen to them – active listening is a skill like any other, and you need to practise it. Stay involved in the conversation and make sure to ask clarifying questions if you’re not sure you understand something. It can also help to rephrase what they’re telling you and repeat it back to them to clarify. This can make a good impression and ensure that you understand what your customer is saying to you.
- Use analogies to explain complex or technical issues – if you’ve done a good job of building your relationship, you should be able to pick examples that your customer will be able to connect with.
Keep in touch with your customers
By keeping in touch with your customers, you increase the likelihood of them remembering your business or recommending you to a friend next time they need a product or service you offer.
Depending on the type of business you run, the way you touch base with your customers will differ. As with everything in business, it’s important that you pick a strategy that works with your business model and brand.
Some great ways to keep in touch with your customers include:
- Jump on the phone– just make sure you comply with the requirements of the Do Not Call Register . You don’t have to call to try and sell them something, but if you’re a service-based business, touching base can be a great way to keep your business front of mind.
- e-Newsletters or mail outs – include information about any promotions you’re running and share your business’s success stories (make sure you have your customer’s permission and that you comply with spam laws). You can also use newsletters to share personal milestones or experiences, so your customers can connect with you on a deeper level.
Surveys – ask your clients for feedback on the products and services you offer. This can help you to find out their thoughts on your products and services, and what you could improve on or add to your offerings. You could even offer an incentive, such as free movie tickets, 20% off your products, or a free one-on-one session with you, to encourage your customers to respond.
Make sure you ask some open ended questions to give your customers a chance to have their say. This can provide you with feedback you can action rather than just their ratings.
Most importantly, make sure you follow up on the information you receive and do something with it.
- Social media – using social media to post special offers, information about new products or services or general announcements about your business can be a great way to keep your customers up to date on what’s going on in your business. Keep in mind when using social media, that you have limited control over what customers may post about your business. Therefore, it’s important to make sure you have a plan on how you will handle any enquiries or negative feedback that may occur.