Customers are core to any business — and if you keep them happy they can become advocates for your business. To do that, businesses need to make sure they hit the right mark when it comes to communicating with them.
The cost of poor communications can hit your bottom line hard. If a business isn’t on top of shipping status and order confirmations, for example, they are going to spend more time on costly customer service requirements, and miss out on gaining reviews and feedback to help improve the business.
Targeted communications are essential, but too much unsolicited information can send people straight to a competitor, while neglect is also not going to help any business grow and retain a strong customer base. The key is striking the right balance and to do that businesses need a clear communications strategy.
The world has moved quickly over the past two years in particular when it comes to technology, and with that has come an expectation from people to be able to do more and more things digitally.
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For Mark Finocchiaro, managing partner and director at Chemist Warehouse, this has meant the business has really had to focus on how to best deliver information to their customers. They turned to Whispir, an all-in-one communications platform, for help.
“We used Whispir at the start to develop the idea and then refine it and maximise what the platform offered – we wouldn’t have been able to do what we do without their in-house expertise.”
Here we look at the five key steps businesses should take to better engage with customers.
1. Define the purpose of your communication
Before doing anything, it is important to identify why you are sending information to a customer. If they haven’t requested it, it might not be welcome so it’s vital to be clear about the reason. Is it to promote a sale or offer customers first access to a new product? Or is it to follow up payment or promote a new payment system?
If you clearly understand what you are going to say and why it is important to say it, you will better understand what success looks like once customers start responding.
“The reason for our communication is really to enhance our services, it’s not to advertise. It’s just a channel that makes it easier for our customers to engage with us and, and vice versa. Everyone is too busy to take a phone call these days, so SMS was naturally the most convenient and direct option for the customer in this interaction,” says Finocchiario.
2. Map out your audience
Knowing your audience is crucial to being able to send them information that will have an impact. Market research gives a business direction and helps it stay on top of what customers want, both in terms of products and services, as well as how they want to be communicated with.
3. Choose the right channel
The ideal way to foster genuine connections and build trust with customers is to engage with them on the channels they prefer.
For Finocchiario, the purpose of communication was for people to receive alerts about orders. Additionally, they offered customers the ability to SMS their script from a doctor straight to a Chemist Warehouse outlet. Then, the customer receives a text message when the script is ready to be picked up.
“The first step was choosing the right channel,” says Finocchiaro. “We’ve been very specific in just using the SMS components of Whispir’s options. We didn’t want to bombard customers with information they didn’t request.”
4. Use automation to elevate your communications
Technology makes life easier across the board, and this extends to freeing up people within a business to focus on more detailed work and letting automation do the heavy lifting in some administrative tasks.
While it may come with a fee, the long term cost savings of automation will benefit the business far more than the initial outlay. Finocchiario understands that the potential impact of poor communication on Chemist Warehouse’s customer base far outweighs any upfront costs, which is why he knew investing in an intelligent messaging platform was worth it.
“We were looking for the most convenient service, even if that costs a little bit more, because that is what people value,” says Finocchiario. “If I can save a customer money that’s quite important and if I can save customer time that’s a very close second.”
5. Listen and learn
Lastly, opening up communications channels to a two-way conversation helps businesses improve and adapt to changing conditions.
If a business establishes the best channels to speak to their customers and makes it easy for them to access the information they are after, those customers will start to engage and trust the business. Listening to the needs of customers can lessen customer churn, increase loyalty and retention, and even open up opportunities for up-selling or cross-selling.
With so many tools at hand to talk to customers, those businesses that choose the ones that best suit their customers are going to be the ones who survive in a constantly changing world.
Whispir is an all-in-one communications workflow platform that automates interactions between businesses and people. Giving businesses the ability to improve their communication efficiency and reach through access to multi-channel, automated workflows, and actionable insights. Businesses use Whispir’s software to create interactive messaging that solves simple to complex communication obstacles. With unique solutions to complex issues Whispir provides a dedicated team to help create the best solution for each business