We’re a few months into our new world of social distancing and increased health consciousness. But just because customers are being more cautious about physical contact, it doesn’t mean you can’t reach out to them effectively. Here’s how you can make sure that you’re sending effective communications to your customers in a time when many people are taking extra safeguards to protect their well-being.
Why Communicating with Customers Matters
Here are a few reasons why effective customer communication matters now more than ever.
Inform customers about changes in operations: With everything that’s changed in the past few months, many customers are simply out of the loop about what’s going on with the businesses that they frequent. An effective customer communication strategy can inform them about any changes you’ve made in your operations.
Protect customer health and safety: Customers are understandably more concerned with their health and safety than ever before. An effective communication strategy allows you to continue to serve your customers while minimizing the amount of physical contact that they have with each other and your team members.
Marketing your business: 55% of marketers say that their budget is getting cut in the second half of the year. That means teams need to do more with less. Effective customer communication ensures that existing customers stay engaged and make repeat purchases.
5 ways that your business can communicate with customers
Not sure where to get started with customer communication? Here are 5 tools that your business can start using today.
Update your business listings
If you’ve made major changes to your operations, one of the best ways to communicate this information with customers is by updating your listings on sites like Google and Facebook. You can update your business profile to inform customers if you’ve gone fully-virtual or have reduced hours. That way, a customer who looks up your business online can see right away how your operations have been affected.
Use text messaging
If you’re not doing it already, consider getting started with text messaging. Studies show that text messaging has sky-high open rates. The average text has an open rate of 98%, while the average email has an open rate of just 21%.
Text messaging is a great way to communicate short and sweet updates. For example, if you’ve recently changed your hours of operation, you can send a short text to your customers letting them know about this shift.
Text messaging can also be used to protect customer safety. Many dental practices now ask patients to wait in their cars before an appointment, then send them a text message when they’re okay to come in. This minimizes the amount of contact that patients will have with other patients.
Send newsletters with relevant information
While email might have lower open rates than text messaging, it’s still a great way to relay longer information that might not work in texts. If you’ve made changes to your business operations or want to let your customers know about the steps you are taking to protect their health and safety, a weekly or monthly newsletter can help your customers understand what’s happening with your business.
If you are sending an update like this, make sure that the subject line is clear about the content contained within the email. While it’s okay to have a fun subject line when you’re sending a marketing email, customers should know right off the bat that you’re updating them about your business.
Stay active on social media
It’s important for your business to meet customers where they are. Since more people are staying indoors, they are also spending more time on platforms like Google and Facebook. In fact, platforms like Facebook and Instagram reported a 40% increase in usage. So take the opportunity to be active on social media. You can share updates on your business’s operations, promote sales or discounts, or even highlight the efforts of local nonprofits or essential workers to build goodwill in your community.
Don’t have a full-time social media manager and not sure you have the time to post regularly? Try to focus your efforts on one platform and find a way if there’s a way to get your entire team involved. Be the Change Yoga & Wellness, a yoga studio based in San Jose, California found that the best way to be active on social media on a regular basis was to have a staff member “takeover” the company’s Instagram account for a day. That way, the whole team helps build quality content and engage with customers.
Use a chat widget to interact with website visitors
Many customers and prospects coming to your website might have questions for you. In the early days of the pandemic, many businesses were overwhelmed by the amount of communication that they’re getting through phone calls and emails. To make sure that every customer is getting responded to in a timely manner, consider placing a chat widget on your site.
A chat solution can help your business reach out to all of your customers immediately. Your employees can respond right away without your customers having to wait on hold. Don’t have the resources to respond to chats from customers? No problem. Consider using a chatbot, an automated program that can respond to frequently asked questions from customers with pre-programmed answers. Chatbots can answer simple questions so your team has time for the more complex queries.
In turbulent times, it’s important to stay focused on communication. By focusing on the right channels, you’ll find your business can drive growth through long-lasting customer connections.
About the Author
Dhiraj Nallapaneni is a Product Marketing Writer with BirdEye. Dhiraj writes blogs and creates webinars on the subject of collecting customer feedback and delivering fantastic customer experiences.