Good communication is one of the secrets of success in the business world: communication within the team, with employees and - above all - with customers. In this article we want to discuss this very aspect: why is effective communication with customers so important and so important? And how can we achieve such effective communication?
The importance of effective communication with the customer
First, we want to state how wrong it is to think that, when we run an online business, the customer communication component is cut off from the formula. This is not the case at all, and this is for two reasons:
First of all, we must keep in mind that everything is communication. The color you choose for your showcase is part of the communication you offer to the customer. Likewise, your homepage, your browsing menu, the arrangement of articles on your site are all part of the way you communicate with your customers.
The actual communication with the customer - or the interactions that, in the case of an online store can take place via email or chat, or by phone - becomes even more important. E-commerce is a way of buying and selling in which the customer does not have the opportunity to deal directly with the seller; he can't even touch the goods before buying. These aspects, and the young age of this way of shopping, create a sort of detachment between seller and customer. It is fundamentally important to bridge this gap with effective communication.
Effective communication techniques
But how do you have effective communication with the customer?
First of all, we must consider that communication is not only made of "talking" but also "listening". To achieve effective customer communication, we need to focus on knowing how to listen as much as knowing how to speak.
1. Active listening
Listening to your customers means, first of all, letting them express themselves freely. Do not force your advice, do not judge their choices, but - on the contrary - listen to what they need and what their ideas are.
Before sharing your opinions, active listening allows you to understand if those opinions are wanted or not. Some customers already know what they want (no, not everyone needs our help) and, in this case, you don't have to force your presence or your advice.
There are customers who appreciate or have a real need for guidance. If, in the listening phase, you perceive this need, then you must be able to propose yourself and your business as a guide and answer.
How do you understand all these things just by listening?
The truth is, understanding the people in front of you just by listening to them is easier than you expect. It means to observe, other than only hearing. Body language, expressions, hesitations… They speak more than many words!
What if the communication doesn't happen in person?
When communication takes place through a screen, listening and understanding is not as easy. In the case of email and chat, our duty will then be to carefully read what customers have to tell us before moving on to the active phase of communication, that is the response.
Listening actively also means asking, asking questions ... Try to give your client the impression that you want to fully understand his needs, his problems, or his ideas.
The questions also serve you to understand who you are in front of and what kind of assistance you need.
In the case of chat/email?
The speech is different when communication takes place through the written form. In this case, it is the customer who contacts you with a problem or request; in other words, the customer is usually the first to start with a question.
In this case, the last thing a customer who contacts customer service via email or chat to ask a question or ask for clarification is to be answered with another question.
Sometimes, in order to be able to offer the necessary support, you have to ask for further clarification. In this case, try to open the reply email with affirmations: reply to what you can reply, explain why you need further clarification and, finally, invite the person to offer them to you.
3. The importance of silences
In this case, we must make a clear distinction between verbal and face-to-face communication and communication that takes place via chat or email.
Face to face communication
In face-to-face communication, silences are part of communication and you don't have to feel the need to fill them automatically. Be aware that speaking solely to fill a silence will inevitably lead you to say things that are meaningless or unimportant. It is the opposite of effective communication.
Learn not to be afraid of silences, to listen to them, and appreciate them.
Communication via email
In email communication, the silences are given by the response times, and to have effective communication, the response times must be shortened as much as possible.
This does not mean that you have to stay up at night to answer all your customers, but that it is not recommended to make your customers wait more than 1 day to receive an answer.
On the other hand, communication must not be redundant: when you reply to your customers it is important to collect all the information you want to give them in a single email, so as not to fill their inbox with your emails.
Social media is hugely important today to communicate effectively with your customers and your audience - and this applies to both online and brick-and-mortar stores. Your internet presence not only serves to strengthen your brand but also to increase the perception of the value of your products.
Social media can be used as a showcase to attract customers, a bulletin board to share technical information (opening hours, unexpected events, extraordinary closing days), and also as a customer support channel.
In addition to creating captivating posts, if you are on social media you will also have to take care of the private chats. Customers who contact you there are waiting to receive an answer: if you use social networks, know that you will also have to manage the chats.
Chatbots are tools that allow you to send an initial autoresponder to anyone who contacts you there. Customers are aware that they have received an autoresponder, but the chatbot is still useful for a few reasons:
Manages to manage part of the communication through automatic replies - all the most common issues (which for example concern opening hours or shipments) can be managed via bots;
Even if the customer is aware of having received an automatic response, immediate feedback fills the void that would otherwise be left by waiting and improves the perception of the overall experience.
6. Negative feedback
Being so exposed to the internet also has its drawbacks. One of these is given by the negative feedbacks that are and will remain for all to see. To handle negative feedback, which is inevitable, we must be prepared, avoid responding in an un-calm, un-kind, un-polite way, even when the person has used un-calm, un-polite and un-polite language.
Feedback responses should always offer a modicum of explanation for what happened. Also, we always try to learn from the opinions of others, especially when they let us know what they didn't like, and what can be improved.
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Who we are?
At Cerdá we are manufacturers and wholesalers specialized in licensing products and children's characters for more than 40 years. Our products help create unique moments of happiness and that is our greatest motivation. In Cerdá we strive every day to make the dreams of our children and clients a reality. Join the Cerdá family!