Companies communicate with their customers in so many ways these days. They send email, surveys, post information on social media and their websites, call, chat, or text them. Not all of these forms of business communication are welcomed by the customer when they happen or are even effective. What is critical to their success is for each company to actually find how customers want to communicate with them and how to keep track of it all.
Effective business communication methods can change by industry, customer segment, or issue. Here is a place to start to determine what is best for your set of customers and how to analyze these interactions:
Where it is effective: This works best with baby boomers and generation X demographics that are used to communicating by phone. It is also an important tool when an urgent message needs to be delivered to solve a problem or a more personal detailed discussion needs to be conducted. How to test it: Can you reach your customers by phone? If you leave a message, do they call back?
Where it is effective: This works best with generation X demographics who see email as their main form of business communication. It is used when frequent fragments of information or statuses need to be provided. How to test it: There are many email marketing tools that will tell the user if that message was opened and interacted with. In aggregate, a company can then determine which emails are the most effective form of business communication.
Where it is effective: This works best with generation Z or millennial demographics who feel most comfortable communicating on social media platforms, sometimes anonymously, as their favorite form of business communications. How to test it: When a company posts something on social media, do customers respond? Do customers initiate feedback about their experiences on social media? If your brand needs help managing comments, mentions, and direct messages, a social media engagement tool could consolidate these customer conversations in a single app.
Where it is effective: This works best with generation Y and millennials that would prefer to use texting on their phone as their primary form of communication. How to test it: Ask prospects and customers if they will opt-in on this form on their phone. If the company gets a good response, it should be tested.
Where it is effective: When customers go on a website, many Generation-X and Y would rather chat with a person (texting on a website) than call. They do this because they can multitask and see it as less intrusive than a call. Millennials are most comfortable communicating with artificial intelligence chatbots on a website or social media. How to test it: Put a chat service on your company website as an offered form of communication and see if anyone uses it!
Where it is effective: One of the biggest problems with surveys is that typically only two types of customers answer them: those that are very happy and those that are very unhappy. It is difficult to get the opinions of those customers that fall somewhere in the middle. How to test it: Put a short two-question survey to customers and see how many people respond or if valuable information is collected.
Finally, the only way to determine the most effective business communication trends is to test them with your customers and see how they respond back. Also, when customers initiate the communication with your company, determine which form they most frequently use and for which issues.
Practically speaking, the difficult part of business communication is that most companies need to be able to talk to their customers in all these ways, track each of these communications and then draw conclusions. This takes an integrated set of software that can give the company real-time insights into what is really going on with customers. This will enable the entire company to actually be on the same page which is critical to providing the best customer experience.
Barry Moltz helps small businesses get unstuck. He applies simple, strategic steps to facilitate change.
Barry has founded and run small businesses with a great deal of success and failure for more than 20 years. He is a small business speaker, radio host and author of four books. As a member of the Entrepreneurship Hall of Fame, he has spoken to audiences of up to 20,000 people. He is a regular guest on business radio and cable TV programming.