Entrepreneurs

Council Post: Nine Important Lessons Leaders Have Learned About Customer Communication

Customers are the key to success for any business. The way you communicate with your customers can make or break their decision to work with you. That’s why it’s crucial your customer communications are always impactful and meaningful.

As business leaders, the members of Young Entrepreneur Council know the importance of effective communication. Below, nine of them share what they’ve learned about customer communication during their careers and why those lessons were so important to their professional development.

1. Focus On The Customer’s Experience

If there’s a few things that your business can control, it’s your tone, cadence, response time and friendly communication style. All in all, this makes up the experience you provide. It’s what people remember. What people remember is what subconsciously tells them how they feel. How they feel is what they tell other people about your business, and so on. To execute this, provide SLAs for you and your team and proactively communicate with customers when they can expect to hear from you next. The worst thing we can do is provide a black hole of information. – Sief Khafagi, Techvestor

2. Leverage Authenticity

“Authenticity” has become such an overused term, but it underpins everything that I have learned about successful communication with my customers—regardless of whether they’re a patron at a craft beer bar or a business owner looking to help their staff collect tips. Allowing bits of myself, my voice and (dare I say it) my vulnerabilities come through have enabled me to make massive strides forward with my customers. People want to connect with people, and allowing yourself to be a human on the other end of the line can make a big impact. – Sydney Paulsen, TiPJAR USA

3. Watch How You Relay Information

Early in my career, I lost a customer who brought in $100k+ a year in revenue due to mistakes in how we communicated price increases. It’s the biggest lesson I learned in customer communications. What’s interesting was that the price change itself wasn’t a problem for our customer; it was fair and well-justified. Instead, it was how we communicated the change. After analyzing our financials, we discovered that rising costs of materials and forex swings had been eroding our margins for months. We thought we had to take quick action, so instead of smoothly transitioning customers, we notified them of price changes effective immediately. We didn’t give customers time to prepare nor provide a grace period that allowed them to adjust to changes. We lost our customer’s trust, and eventually their business. – Jimmy Chan, Dropbase

4. Make Your Customers The Heroes

Like a lot of entrepreneurs, I used to spend too much time talking about what makes my services and me different and special. As a result, I came across as the hero in most conversations. Now, I make my customers the hero—whether I’m courting a prospect or serving an existing customer. I’m always asking myself, “How can I speak to the conversation in their head?” That ensures that customers know I see them and I care about them and that the solutions I’m recommending are centering them and the problems they and I both know exist. – Alexia Vernon, Alexia Vernon Empowerment, LLC

5. Build Trust

In services, the client relationship itself seems to be the biggest part of what is being bought and sold. Like any other relationship between people, it is intangible and based mainly on subjective perceptions, not on strong facts. So, what clients look for in the relationship is a sense of care, trust, commitment and confidence. Communication must therefore be centered around these key areas not only through what you say and how you say it, but also through how you demonstrate this to the client every step of the way. This must be authentic, as fake efforts are easy to spot. If the client feels that your efforts are focused on them and that you are there any time to provide support and guidance, this is a solid recipe for long-lasting and strong client relationships. – Bogdan Gecic, Gecic Law

6. Be Honest

Always be truthful. People appreciate honesty. Some customers might reject it, but you cannot avoid it and, in the end, it will save you many problems along the way. If something has to be done in a different way than customers anticipated, you have to educate them and show them your vision. Sometimes your clients need to be held by the hand and reassured—do so! But always tell the truth! By doing so, your reputation will stand out and your legacy can be lasting. – Simonetta Lein, Ausonia Partners

7. Over-Communicate If Necessary

Don’t be afraid to over-communicate. The person you’re communicating with maybe has very different priorities, medium of preference, etc., so tell them more and tell them often. Keep your customers in the loop on practically everything. Make it your own responsibility to show and share what they need to know rather than waiting for them to ask like everyone else. Issues arise from a customer being under-communicated to—or worse, not communicated to at all. Communication is the proactive way to solve issues before they become issues in the first place. – Devesh Dwivedi, Idea2Inception

8. Sharpen Your Listening Skills

When we think about communicating with our customers, we often focus on getting our messages across to them and we forget the importance of listening to what they are trying to communicate to us. The best thing you can do is spend time listening to your clients and asking them questions. Your goal is to discover as much as you can about your customers and find out exactly what their needs and motivations are. Once you have this data, you can offer them solutions that really target their needs. Tailoring your communication for your clients is key to being a standout business that is able to respond to unique requirements rather than simply offering generic products or services that may or may not serve your clients. – Maria Thimothy, OneIMS

9. Keep It Simple

The most important lesson I’ve learned, especially about online communication, is to keep things as simple as possible. Many new business owners think they need to be clever with their marketing and online copy. They use jargon, long paragraphs of text and complicated sentences. You might sound smart, but your audience will simply skim over your text and move on to another business that offers clear and concise information. When creating content, keep it simple and easy to understand no matter what platform you use. Use simple language and focus on your customers’ needs over your business’s features and offerings. This helps you by keeping people on your site for longer and impacts your SEO in a positive way too. – Syed Balkhi, WPBeginner

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