These days, many people just don’t like to make a phone call anymore. Still, they continue to have questions or even the occasional complaint. If they can’t reach you using their preferred method, you might as well rename your business The Anonymous Company because your name and brand will fade away.
You might have a great Virtual PBX phone system that ensures that every call will get through to the right person (preferably without an overly-long auto-responder). But, here are some other communication methods that might make you The Famous Company, instead.
Communication Methods Abound
Frankly, with all of the ways that are available for customers to make contact with businesses, it’s hard to imagine that they can’t reach you using their preferred method. Still, technology seems to change on a daily basis, and you have to keep up with it to ensure that your business is the most reachable one in the universe.
Here are some things that you should consider doing right now; but, make sure that you devote some time to stay on top of all of the new communication trends that may be developed within the time that you read this STARTicle.
#1. Your Website
Before you start developing your business’ website, make sure that you select a memorable domain name (URL). Don’t expect anyone to write down your address when you advertise on TV or radio. I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve heard my state’s Governor announce the complex address of the website that carries pandemic information. I also can’t tell you what that address is.
Left to their own devices, sales prospects will not search online for your company’s name; they’re more likely to search for your products or services, instead. If that search displays a competitor’s site higher in the results than yours, you have likely lost a sale.
Once customers get to your website, make sure that a Contact Us page link is easy to see and access from every page. Visitors will know that you welcome their questions if they see the link in large, easy-to-read type at the top of the page. Tiny type at the bottom of the page announces that you don’t particularly want to hear from them.
#2. Online Customer Comments
If appropriate, you want to include a Customer Comments page on your website, but don’t forget that other sites that sell your products, like Amazon, allow customers to rate their purchases.
Make sure that you monitor all of your product ratings — and respond with ways to get in touch. This illustrates to everyone that you care what customers think and want to address their concerns.
#3. Social Media
You need to maintain a robust presence on a variety of social media sites. If you are not yet active on social media, you can learn how to get started by reviewing our helpful how-to page, which covers the most well-known social media outlets. Keep in mind that new sites are developed frequently.
A few points to understand:
- Make sure that you understand how each outlet operates to help ensure that it’s a good fit for your business. Different sites attract different types of participants, and some of those participants can work for or against your business. To site an extreme example, the owners of a marijuana shop may prefer to stay away from sites that attract highly-conservative audiences.
- Actively participating in certain social media sites can be critical to your business’ success. For example, any business can benefit from involvement in LinkedIn, but recruiting firms that fail to use this site regularly can easily fall behind the competition.
- Participating in any social media outlet is not a set-it-and-forget-it proposition. To ensure that you communicate effectively with customers, you have to respond to their posts quickly. In other words, if you decide to become active on a particular site, make sure that someone in your business regularly monitors and responds to customer posts.
Done well, social media does more than just maintain communication with customers and prospects. It also advertises to all participants that your company really cares.
Texting is very convenient for communication on the fly. Customers can ask questions, and they can even send pictures from their phones. This may be a good option for quick questions and answers; however, for more complex issues, your final text message might say, “When is a good time to call you?”
Most customers who work on a PC may prefer this method because they can include more detail than the typical text message. Typing on a real keyboard can add more accuracy, as well.
Of course, you need to regularly monitor email messages to ensure that you respond quickly to their issues. If you’re in the habit of monitoring your email inbox once a day, you risk having some angry customers.
As an extra advantage, every customer email address that you have adds value to the email marketing service that helps to get your message out to the world. If you haven’t chosen a service yet, check out our comparison chart to see what some of the leading services offer.
Great Communication Can Generate Referrals
Responding to questions promptly is perhaps the most important thing you can do to maintain your customer base. But, you have to anticipate where they go when they want to get in touch with you. The phone is only one of countless options.
Still, you have to make a commitment to actively participate in every communication method that you choose. Customers make mental notes of how long it takes for you to respond — and if you do not respond at all. Simply stated, good communication habits point to great customer service – and that leads to business-growing referrals.