7 essential communication fixes for your business
The goodwill from having a strong customer relationship in place is a lifesaver for a business when they’re having technical problems. The trust is already there so people are willing to give the benefit of the doubt.
First-time customers are looking for you to give them a reason to trust you.
I was trying to buy an online course recently. I take courses every year for my own personal development, and this was the first time I was purchasing from this company.
It was the final day of their offer and I wanted to ask something before putting down so much money. Nobody was answering their live chat, so with three hours to go before the discount expired, I sent my question by email and hoped I’d still be eligible for the reduced price.
Turns out my eagerness didn’t matter because to this day, nobody’s answered my email.
That’s $2,500 still in my pocket all because they left technology in charge of the customer relationship.
Help your customers to trust you
Everything your clients know about your integrity comes from you. They want your communications and experiences to show you have them in safe hands.
Otherwise, they’ll go to someone else and you don’t even know you just lost a customer.
I don’t want this to happen to you. So, here are seven overlooked areas primed to get you working on your customer relationships today.
1) A strong customer relationship remembers clients – even after they’ve paid you
As a service provider, you always have an eye out for new business because customer churn is a reality.
Those “newsy” emails from old customers take up time you can’t spare. They’re old customers and they’re done with your service. Right?
So you avoid eye-contact with those emails for as long as you can. When the guilt gets too much, you punch out something and hit send. Job done.
The poor client opens their email to this:
Or at least, this is what the client understands if you haven’t replied with the same warmth and interest as when you were working together.
Why does this matter?
Well, according to research, 80% of your future profits will come from just 20% of your existing customers.
These are dream clients who:
- Believe in your product/service and brand
- Receive your new products and services with enthusiastic interest
- Keep you innovating, developing, and progressing
- Know you, trust you and don’t want to start searching for a new supplier
When a client emails you with news, it shows you’ve touched them on a personal level. This is exactly what you want.
Indifference is one of the main reasons customers leave one company and go to another. In fact, a whopping 68% of clients will leave you if they think you’re not interested in them.
Introducing the “You-Me-Us” framework
My “You-Me-Us” technique builds relationships into your business strategy. You can write an effective response in just three paragraphs, using your natural tone, warmth, and style.
Paragraph 1: Acknowledge their news in a conversational brand-appropriate tone. This tells them you’ve read their email fully.
Paragraph 2: Mention the latest development/product in your business and weave in some benefits, preferably related to a point they’ve mentioned in their email. Keep it to one paragraph, otherwise, it becomes an overt sales pitch.
Paragraph 3: Turn your attention back to your client by making a reference to a single interesting point from their email, and then end with an invitation for them to contact you or go to your website for more information about whatever you mentioned in point two.
Master these three paragraphs and you’ve nurtured the client relationship and created a sales opportunity at the same time.
2) A strong customer relationship doesn’t take facebook friends for granted
Yes, you’re supposed to let your personality show on social media.
But not by forgetting that everything you write is a sales pitch — even when you’re not directly selling something.
By insulting a follower, G. became that weird shopkeeper who stands in their doorway hurling abuse at passers-by. Everyone who’s seen this post has formed an impression of G.’s brand.
The time-honored way to deal with a mistake
Imagine a shopkeeper belches loudly in your face. Will you feel better if they:
- Pull their half-eaten lunch from a pocket and start slapping you around the head with it?
- Own the mistake and give a genuine apology?
People like people who apologize when they’ve made a mistake.
Keep it short and simple. Keep your resentment out of it because angry words live forever online and people always find them.
If you have a business link in your bio, everything you post reflects on your integrity.
3) A strong customer relationship tidies up before guests visit
People come to your site with certain expectations. They expect:
- Current, up-to-date information
- Working links
- Simple navigation & good direction
Placeholder text, dead links, and “Coming Soon” pages create the impression you don’t take your business seriously.
If your website stats show decent incoming traffic but people aren’t staying or calling, check your website.
Spring-clean at least once a year
Have a site audit now, and then again every year, to make sure your site works as expected:
- Switch off visibility for pages that don’t have content and shouldn’t be
- Use tools to check for dead links.
- Update information that’s no longer appropriate, or redirect to a newer page.
- Check email auto-responders and funnels are still relevant.
- Verify all your downloads work — brochures, opt-in incentives, PDFs, etc.
People will forgive a terrible design but they won’t forgive bad content.
4) A strong customer relationship doesn’t serve chatbots after promising Live Chat
Your compelling copy has inspired people to get in touch. They love that you’ve got Live Chat and the button is green, inviting them to ask
So they do.
And they wait for a reply.
And wait. And wait. And wait.
Finally, they stop waiting and go to your competitor instead (unsubscribing from your list as they go).
Technology failures happen to the best of us, which is why it’s important to have contingency plans in place. Not just before a major product launch, but every day.
Test the customer experience
If your delivery system doesn’t work, your efforts in product development, sales and marketing are for nothing.
Important: Log out of your admin panel when you test your system. Admin privileges make you blind to what the customer’s going through.
- How many people can your system support?
- What happens if there’s no customer service agent available to respond?
- Do you know your peak times for callers?
- If your live chat is integrated with a chatbot, are the questions logical and based on real-life scenarios?
- Is there a smooth transition between your chatbot and a real-live human if the customer needs to speak to someone?
- Do you have a clear alternative contact method listed?
- Have you tested on the most common browsers? On an iPhone? On an Android?
Automated systems are great when they work, but they can break relationships if they don’t come through.
5) A strong customer relationship doesn’t leave them hanging
Some consultants wait two full days, on purpose, to answer customer emails because they think it makes them look busy and in demand.
In reality, the customer’s beginning to write them off.
Research shows that 43% of customers expect an email response within a day, and 44% of customers expect a response in four hours or less.
Expected response times on social media are even faster.
While you need to protect yourself from tech overload, you also need to meet customer expectations – it reflects on
Be a good communicator
- Set up an auto-responder letting people know you’ve received their query and when they can expect a response. People will be happy to wait once they know you’re working on it.
- If it’s going to take longer than you thought, let them know.
- If social media’s getting on top of you, consider a social media management agency or freelancer to handle communications for you. You’ll need one that understands your brand voice and social objectives.
- Schedule email into a convenient break in your day. For example, if your energy is at a natural low just after lunch, use that time to check and respond to emails.
- Avoid a “no-reply” return address. People always want to reply and it’s frustrating to have it bounce back as undeliverable. If you must channel incoming emails through a central pipeline, include a signature on outgoing emails telling people how to respond.
Bonus Tip: If you have a spam filter, know that it’s a booby trap and will suck in genuine messages from real prospective clients. Check your spam box regularly so you’re not losing customers just because you don’t know they’re there.
6) A strong customer relationship doesn’t treat an email list like an ATM
Getting people to subscribe to your email list is a big deal. It’s your private members’ club where all the good things happen.
Things like that exciting writing retreat you’re selling. It’s been six weeks now and the pre-written welcome sequence has finished, but so many people haven’t purchased.
You get antsy and start deriding your audience: Don’t you want more money??? Don’t you know words are dollars and you’re throwing yours away? Perhaps you’re copying an influencer who knows his audience so well that those emails work for him.
Your emails get more desperate for a sale. People edge out of the door and instead of PayPal chiming, your email dings with unsubscribe notifications.
You’re losing customers.
Give people a reason to want a relationship with you
People signed up to your email list for your intrinsic value. Give them more of what attracted you to them in the first place:
- Respect: Every email shouldn’t be a hard sell or a guilt-inducer. It gets tiring, and sensitive types hide like you’re a mugger.
- Entertainment: Vary up your emails — have surveys, stories, anecdotes, and some of your best tips. Include a link to your product, but don’t make a big deal of it in every email.
- Connection: Look at your data and identify the email sequences that produce sign-ups of quality customers (i.e. people who don’t get buyer’s remorse and demand a refund the next morning).
- Understanding: Learn how to funnel your subscribers into more targeted lists depending on where they are in the buying cycle. Some people can be on your list for years before they’re ready to invest. Others are actively looking for a solution.
People don’t buy because you tell them they must. They buy because they see for themselves that they must.
7) Your social media strategy works when both sides know you have revenue-related goals
It’s better to have a small, engaged group of followers than a huge one that largely ignores you.
A good social media strategy helps you treat your social feed like a business. You use it efficiently to attract and maintain followers who want your service.
Your mini social media strategy overview
Plan your social media goals so you don’t wander the social plains in a daze, eventually losing hope and surrendering to whatever
- Target your channels: Choose your social media channels (1-3 for your own sanity). Set a daily time limit and stick to it.
- Think business: Check that a random stranger can get a good sense of your business from your last six posts. If not, then you’re not running a business account.
- Show-up regularly: Different channels need different levels of engagement. Twitter works better if you post at least three times a day. Instagram and Facebook need less of your time. Spend a couple of hours each week creating appropriate photos and captions for the entire week.
- Write compelling copy: Business content should present you as an authority and make people look out for your posts. Include case studies, behind the scenes info, and other tantalizing snippets.
- Remember the “social”: Don’t sell in every post. Allow around five value-adding, community-building posts to every sales post. Keep your language conversational. Engage with people who comment.
- Remember to sell: Understand your product and target your message. Local services don’t need a global audience but if a wider community shows interest, it gives you scope to plan a downloadable product or coaching program.
Make the relationship easy and the customer feels safe
When you’re busy with a huge list of things to do, it’s not always easy to “think customer.” But building relationships is easier than looking for new customers.
Make customer relationships a part of your mindset. You now know where and how customers form their impressions – use these areas to reinforce your integrity and draw people to you.
- Let your past and present customers know you value them
- Be respectful to your social followers when they call you out
- Make sure your website gives people what they need
- Check that your contact technology and automation works
- Answer emails promptly
- Build a deeper relationship with your email subscribers
- Have a social media strategy for your business
Which one are you going to get started with first?
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