Gartner predicted that 89% of companies would compete mostly on customer experience this year. The customer journey starts with their first introduction to your brand, which will most likely be your website.
Even the most successful brands are in a process of figuring out how to improve customer communication. Bain & Company found that while 80% of companies believe that they deliver superior customer experiences, only 8% of customers agree.
Here are some ways that we’ve found effective.
Go off script.
Refrain from using acronyms, buzzwords or industry terms. Remember that language familiar to you and your team may not be easily understood by potential customers. Keep it simple and forget the jargon.
This also means talking to customers in a natural voice, rather than pre-packaged phrases. Use your personality to build that connection and draw people into what you’re all about. Supply your receptionist with key talking points and FAQs, but train them so they can provide answers in their conversational way.
Perfect your site’s navigation flow.
Your website might make sense to you, but the overall flow may be costing you customers. Analyze how visitors navigate your site with a simple test. UsabilityHub offers online navigation testing with real people to find glitches and points of confusion.
Provide answers instantly.
People want answers and they expect them promptly, so you need to make it easy for them to get that. This means making customer agents accessible whenever (and however) customers prefer. You should be set up to answer questions 24/7/365.
Of course, your in-house staff can’t be waiting by the phone all day every day. Virtual receptionists help fill in the gaps, and live chat makes it even easier to engage every visitor at any time. Recent studies show that nearly ⅔ of customers prefer messaging channels over the phone, and 90% of customers prefer their questions answered by a live human rather than bots.
Make calling easy (and delightful).
The popularity of live chat is certainly growing, especially with younger demographics, but lots of people still prefer to pick up the phone. Make sure your phone number is clearly visible on your website. Add click-to-call options to your Google profile.
When folks call, make them glad that they did. Be welcoming, be professional, be proactive. If possible, provide receptionists with CRM systems to access client records and call histories. The more knowledgeable a receptionist is, the better suited they are to keep customers coming back.
Improve internal communication.
Responding to incoming web chat requests or support tickets from website visitors requires compassion and precision. If your internal communication is broken, it may impact your ability to quickly resolve customer questions. Strengthen internal communication with tools like Slack, so everyone is on the same page and can effectively communicate externally.
Follow up with customers and leads.
Following up with customers after every exchange is a simple way to keep the engagement warm and show you care. Make it part of your workflow for every interaction. Even a simple ‘Thank you’ email can go a long way.
In the spirit of continual improvement (and friendly brand management), invite your visitors to provide feedback about their experience. Surveys can easily follow live chat exchanges. Automated emails work too. If you’ve built up a newsletter list you can also send out surveys asking subscribers for details about what would be most valuable.
The perfect communication plan might seem daunting at first. After all, customers are looking for instant, accessible, reliable, and friendly communication at all hours of the day and night.
The key is to set yourself and your team up for success. Take the time to improve your internal communication. Set up the technology necessary to improve your reception capabilities while actually lessening the time obligation for your staff. At the end of the day, it’s about treating everyone as well as possible – customers and employees alike.
Looking for more tips on creating better customer experiences? Download our Customer Service Audit Checklist and start strengthening your cx offering today!