A big part of business is building relationships. And the key to any good relationship is communication. 

With that in mind, if you want to enhance your relationship with your customers, then the first step is to improve your customer communication.

This guide will help you improve communication with customers using some simple steps. First, we’ll outline the benefits of better customer communication, such as:

  • Improved customer loyalty.
  • Word of mouth advertising.
  • Faster issue resolution. 
  • Better feedback for your business. 

Then, we’ll cover the things you and your staff can do to improve communication, including:

  • Build meaningful relationships.
  • Practice active listening.
  • Keep explanations simple.
  • Improve customer service.
  • Ask for feedback. 
  • Try different communication methods. 

The benefits of better communication 

Customer loyalty

When you communicate well with your customers, they will feel valued. And valued customers are more likely to become loyal customers. 

Improving customer loyalty not only increases the likelihood of customers returning to your business, it can also increase the average amount they spend when they visit. 

Word of mouth advertising

If a customer has a good experience with your business, they’re more likely to recommend your business to a friend. 

Word of mouth is an incredibly valuable form of advertising that you can’t buy; it needs to be earned by your actions. 

Faster issue resolution

When dealing with customer complaints, better communication will help resolve the issue much faster. 

The results are happier customers and less time wasted by your staff.  

Better feedback for your business

Constant feedback is the best way to improve your business, and the best feedback will come from your customers.

Better communication with you will help you get more accurate feedback from your customers.

How to improve communication with customers

Build meaningful relationships

Take the time to build a deeper professional relationship with your customers. Get to know them as individuals (take notes if you have to) and try your best to understand their individual needs.  

Practice active listening 

Active listening is a technique that was first used in therapy, but the principles have found their way to customer service. It’s a listening technique that keeps you actively engaged with the person you’re speaking to.

Successful active listening makes the speaker feel valued in their opinions, so it’s a great way to help customers feel heard and appreciated.

Some common characteristics of active listening are:

  • Neutral and nonjudgmental attitude.
  • Patience.
  • Verbal and nonverbal feedback (smiling, eye contact, leaning in, mirroring).
  • Asking questions.
  • Reflecting back on what is said.
  • Asking for clarification.
  • Summarising.

Keep explanations simple

When you’ve been working in a specific area for a long time, it’s easy for industry jargon to become second nature. But it’s important to remember that customers probably won’t have the same level of technical knowledge that you do, so a lot of industry terms or phrases might just sound confusing. 

Whether it’s a technical issue or a product description, try to use language that everybody can understand. Analogies and metaphors are always useful in situations like these. 

This is where building relationships comes in handy. The better you know the customer, the easier it is to discuss things in a way you know they’ll understand. 

Improve customer service

Better communication with customers is only possible when it’s applied to every area of your business, particularly within your customer service teams. They are the eyes, ears, and face of your business, so their communication skills will represent the whole business.

Taking all the points in this article into account, develop a set of customer service standards and make sure your staff are well-trained in their use. 

Ask for feedback

Nobody can assess your communication skills better than the customers. They are a valuable resource that you should use. 

Look for as much feedback as you can on all areas of your business, including communication, by creating customer surveys and questionnaires. You can incentivise customer participation by offering rewards, like product discounts and freebies. 

Finally, make sure you actually use the feedback you receive. If the same issues are coming up repeatedly, it’s a good sign you need to make a change. 

Try different communication methods

Improving customers communication also depends on the variety of methods your business uses to communicate. Different demographics will prefer different means of communication, so customer research will let you know which areas to focus on most. 

Generally speaking, more channels is better, but that’s not always an option. Try to decide which of these methods are most valuable to your customers:

  • Telephone
  • Social media
  • Email
  • Chatbot
  • Face-to-face
  • FAQs (frequently asked questions)

The success of any of these methods depends on two main things; response time and resolution time. In other words, how long does it take for your business to respond to a customer? And how long does it take for their issue to be resolved?

Response time

Response time will largely come down to your number of staff. For example, more staff answering phones or replying to emails will lead to a quicker response time. 

This is where automated services like chatbots are incredibly valuable. They can offer immediate customer communication 24 hours a day. 

Resolution time

It doesn’t matter how fast your response time is if a customer’s issue isn’t actually resolved. Resolve time is dependant on your staff’s technical knowledge and ability.

Staff with better technical knowledge will resolve issues faster and more effectively, meaning happier customers and fewer resources wasted. 

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