Every interaction your customers have with your business speaks volumes about who your brand is. In many ways, the communication customers receive shapes the bulk of their experiences. With intangible services like insurance, communication practically becomes the “product” people buy. They expect a certain level of service, and a lack of clear, concise, and on-demand touchpoints can tarnish the brand.
When clients have access to and receive the opposite, though, good communication helps deliver the experiences they’re looking for. With tangible products and hybrid solutions like wireless phone service, for example, high-quality communication goes a long way toward ensuring satisfaction. Let’s examine how clear messages and interactions can improve the customer experience.
Convenience Leads to Commitment
Have you ever had a problem with a product you bought and needed a bit of direction? For you, using the product is complicated because you don’t have much experience with it. Perhaps you inherited something like a programmable thermostat with the home you recently moved into. The seasons are changing, and you need to reprogram the device. But unfortunately, the previous owner didn’t leave the instructions behind.
You could call the company’s customer service agent if you can find the number. However, most people will rely on a quick internet search to find an online manual. In these moments, accessing a product manual’s information is like finding gold. You get step-by-step instructions on how to make the product work according to your needs. You might not have interacted with anyone, but the quality and availability of the manual enhanced your experience.
Providing these forms of support, including interactive online manuals on product pages, delivers the convenience that wins consumers’ hearts. True, your company may need to engage technical writing services to produce them. Yet such resources will save customers from opening support tickets, hunting down numbers, and waiting for responses. Quicker access to helpful information means clients get their needs met more efficiently, which can inspire product and brand loyalty.
Context Can Change the Approach
There’s no doubt customers want clear and simple support options. In addition to online manuals, these include multiple communication channels like chatbots and social media pages. A survey found over 50% of consumers will switch brands if there aren’t transparent, easy ways to contact customer service.
At the same time, not every customer’s situation is the same. This is why providing live agents with too many scripts and complex processes can backfire. Say your company recently made significant changes to its supply chain. For established clients, you may need to go more in-depth when communicating those changes and why they’re happening. Recently onboarded customers might only require a brief overview.
Similarly, a patient having a biopsy for the first time will have different questions and anxieties than one who’s been there and done that. Tailoring your communication approach to the situation’s context makes a difference in how it’s received. Practicing active listening and asking appropriate questions help determine context during live, person-to-person interactions. With AI-driven and written communication, it’s trickier—but far from impossible. Incorporating client feedback can lead to improvements in reception and understanding.
Follow-Up Is As Critical As Clarity
Research by Salesforce found that 53% of customers think support interactions aren’t seamless. Instead, these communications tend to be fragmented, with customers getting different pieces of information here and there. In some cases, they must repeatedly reach out for answers because there’s a lack of follow-through.
Sometimes it’s because agents don’t have the capacity to meet customers’ expectations. You can have all the service-level objectives in the world. However, client communication will suffer if those objectives are unrealistic given workload distributions and staffing levels. When follow-through doesn’t happen quickly enough, it can sink the customer experience.
From the client’s perspective, it doesn’t matter as much if the initial interaction was thorough and positive. If their request requires you to take action afterward, they’ll remember if you drop the ball. Broken promises can frustrate customers and push them toward a competitor. Even if they don’t leave, they may stop buying for a while. And it may take time and a few rounds of discounts to reestablish their trust.
Metrics Identify Opportunities
Communication quality can be subjective. It’s also dependent on qualitative aspects, such as interpersonal skills. Measuring customer experiences by quantifying these aspects keeps a pulse on what’s happening. Metrics can reveal everything from client perceptions to service level delivery.
Changes in the numbers show that client communication may not be as straightforward as it should be. Say one of your critical metrics is resolving customer service requests within no more than two interactions. If the average creeps up to three or more, a deeper dive could point to the need for further training.
For example, internal miscommunication about processes could be behind unclear and conflicting customer interactions. It’s taking more time to solve issues because agents are backtracking to fix mistakes. Some agents could also be spending time clarifying and explaining away bad information. Measuring customer experience metrics surfaces the problem, allowing you to course-correct while improving client interactions.
Enhancing Customer Experiences With Clear Communication
Customer experiences start with a conversation. Even if the interaction is one-sided or asynchronous, communication quality determines how clients feel about your brand. When touchpoints are confusing, unsatisfying, or ill-timed, they detract from the customer experience.
Paying attention to convenience, context, follow-through, and metrics will improve your understanding of your client’s expectations. Improved understanding, in turn, leads to better conversations. And better conversations can impact your company’s bottom line now and in the future.