A common frustration for customers is that companies they deal with are difficult to communicate with when they have a query or issue that needs resolving. Typically this is because businesses design communication processes that suit their purposes rather than their customers. It is convenient and cost effective – until it leads to customer frustration, which leads to lost sales, lost customers and increased complaints!
To avoid frustrating customers in this way, first you need to list all the possible reasons someone may need to contact you. For example, they could be:
Next, you need to understand which channels your customers want to use for each of the reasons you have listed. This means you need to have detailed written descriptions of your customers, their habits and their preferences.
Once you have done that, you next need to check what communication channels you already have. You do this for 2 reasons. First to see if there are any gaps and second to see if they are clear and obvious to the customer.
For example, if you realise that customers would want to telephone you if they have a query, or to email you outside office hours, think about what routes they could take to find which number they needed to call and what email address they should use. Often this is mainly marketing material and your website, but can include your LinkedIn profile, Facebook page etc. Check that your phone number and opening hours are prominently displayed in each of the possible places a customer would look. Make sure you include an email address or contact form that the customer could use outside office hours – and have a clear link to it!
Continue to do this for each of the reasons a customer could contact you and for all the possible channels they could use.
And that is it – simple really and can take some time to get everything in place, but then all you need to do is to regularly review them, especially if anything changes such as you develop a new product or service and your target market changes!
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