Businesses are always looking for innovative ways to engage with both their new and existing customers. The manner in which your business is able to leverage current communication technologies to do this will go a long way towards ensuring your business success.
The internet, accompanied by the surge in mobile technology, has created numerous and varied ways to communicate with your customer base. These can sometimes be confusing, and business communication terrain a tricky area to navigate. This article argues that, of these new media communication styles and methodologies, live chat is going to be the one that makes the most difference to your bottom line if implemented as part of a clear communication strategy.
The Importance of customer and client communication
It is proven that in the modern world of business, a failure to competently communicate with your clients, customers and supply chain components will lead to a demise in business confidence and is a slippery slope towards business failure. Communication errors occur when a company does not think clearly about the audience, are not transparent and are not in the know as to why their customers need and like their products. Communication is easily taken for granted until one of these errors occur and result in financial or reputational losses.
Conversely, great customer and client communication that is specifically strategized for the company in question will avoid communication errors and will serve to:-
- Increase customer trust in the business, communication builds rapport, and ongoing rapport is key to creating a feeling of trust. Trust is one of the key factors to secure customer loyalty and thus worth thinking about as you set up a communication strategy. Your customers need to be able to trust that your product will perform as it should and that your business will support them in this process.
- Dealing with service issues will necessitate communicating with your customers to solve them and ensure that the product or service you have provided to them functions as it should. Poor service issues are one of the main reasons customers do not come back, so these should be dealt with as a matter of urgency in as professional a manner as possible.
- Promoting the brand is one of the main aspects of any communication with clients or customers and must be at the forefront of any communication plan. You must thus understand your audience and use the methods of communication that they use and are familiar with. A great brand communicated on the wrong channels to the wrong market segment is a sure-fire way towards a failed communication strategy. Cogent communication with your clients or customers is the best way to create a clear backstory and build a brand.
You must also keep in mind that your audience expects a certain standard based on the advances in communication techniques and methods. It is to these standards of communication that any strategy must adhere to in order to be effective in the modern era.
Communication in a modern era
Communication in a modern era must be:-
- Immediate. Technology exists for all businesses to be able to respond within the expected business response time of 24 hours, and this can be made immediate in cases where automated chat is used.
- Genuine and specific. Generic chats or email responses to customer queries that are not able to pinpoint and provide customer-specific solutions are worse than not having any communication at all.
- Proactive. Communication was traditionally reactive, and businesses waited to be contacted by their customers, either for further purchase or to complain about previous purchases. The nature of business has changed, and customer communication must now be proactive; the business must look to build relationships and establish ‘online tribes’ related to their products, and this can only be achieved with customer-specific proactive interaction.
- Attentive. Attentive communication is that which pays attention to details and is able to show a degree of listening and mindfulness. The aim is to solve the customer query or issue and not to get them off the chat as soon as possible.
This can be achieved in actual in-person chat or telephonic communication, but there is a modern option that meets these criteria, can run automatically and is 24/7/365.
Live chat is whereby customers are able to communicate directly with the business through a pop-up chat box on a website or through a chat specific app. It is normally a proactive service with the chatbox popping up automatically and offering additional client assistance with something, or the chat can be customer-initiated. A widget normally appears on the bottom right-hand corner of the screen with an invitation for the customer to engage in a chat with your company agent.
It is used on websites, blogs, and online shops and can offer all of the above and more if programmed professionally. For your business to get on the bandwagon, simply use a plugin, and you will be able to access and use one of the most effective and current means of communication, live chat.
Agents or customer service advisors are generally used to initiate and engage through such chat, but as technology has progressed, such live chat can now also be automated, and the chatbot has also gained prominence. However, it must be noted that the aim of the chat is to provide a customer-specific solution, and as such, if the automated route is taken, there will need to be a great deal of AI integrated to ensure that the chat meets the criteria as listed above.
This solution is generally implemented as part of the businesses software as a service (SaaS) and is thus capable of storing and even analyzing large amounts of data as to the communication process and responses provided.
Customer communication is vital for the success of the business, and it will be important to consider the means by which you do this carefully. Live chat will offer a new way to communicate with clients and customers. Although it offers a range of advantages and seems to suit most business communication needs as highlighted herein, it must form part of a broader business communication strategy.