Communication, in its many forms is a powerful tool, if used wisely. Bad communication, quite simply, equals bad customer service – which does not bode well for any business.
And, according to a recent BDO Service 2020 report, “30 per cent of Australian businesses will need to increase their customer service standards if they want to succeed in the coming decade.” A sobering thought.
So, where do you start in evaluating if you and your staff are serving your customers well?
Unless you are a large corporation, and even those companies need to consider this; you or your staff must answer the telephone personally, not with a recording that gives your valuable customers the option to press 1, 2 or 3 or to “please tell me in your own words what you are calling about today” only to be told, “sorry, I don’t understand you”. That reminds me of the ‘Sick of talking to a machine’ AAMI Insurance advertisement featuring ‘Moira’ whom the machine interpreted as being named ‘Moron’.
Social networking, in whatever sphere, needs a strategy which must be backed up by regular interaction and implemented with careful, considered and consumer-focused communication. Adopt a relaxed, informal approach but avoid being overly personal; remember it is your clients you are speaking to, not your best friend. As with all other business communication it needs to be free of spelling and grammatical errors – yes, even on Facebook!
An example of social media gone wrong was Qantas’ Twitter disaster last November. Clearly they forgot the golden rule of ‘client-focused’ when they attempted a ‘luxury’ promotion attempt just weeks after it had left thousands of travellers stranded.
Your website content should answer some (but not all) of your potential customers’ questions. It must:
- provide various alternative methods to contact you – email, phone, address – and make it obvious; don’t hide these contact options in some obscure place, a common and puzzling phenomenon that only serves to annoy web users
- be free of grammatical and spelling errors
- be well maintained with fresh content; nothing speaks louder than a website with old dates, information that is no longer relevant or links that don’t work
- avoid ‘industry speak’, which can creep into your business. Asking someone external to your business to write for you can eliminate this; a good writer will quickly identify industry speak and find better ways to say what needs to be said, in everyday language.
All of your written communication must be clear, concise, free of errors and most importantly respond to the customer request or query in a professional and helpful manner. It is important to always:
- double-check, before you send, for grammatical and spelling errors
- check the ‘tone’ is positive even if you feel the customer request may be frustrating or petty
- respond in a respectful manner.
Good customer service is all about clear, concise and customer-focused communication.
How well is your business communicating?
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