Communication with customers can be one of the most difficult aspects of business to get right. On the one hand, effective customer communications will be informative enough to confidently explain exactly what needs to be said. However, they also need to be concise and to the point, available to read on multiple different platforms, and easy to reply to. With more and more business being completed online, whatever industry you are in, you will need to get your digital customer communications right. In this article, we will cover the most common questions that we find when it comes to creating and executing an effective communications strategy for businesses online.
What are digital customer communications?
Digital customer communications are essentially the regular communications that you would send via post but sent through digital means. The goal of these communications is to improve the efficiency of sending important information to your customers. Some of the common forms of communication that can be sent in digital form include:
- Customer contracts
- Delivery notifications/updates
- Company updates
What are the most common forms of digital customer communications used in business?
The most common forms of digital customer communications in business include:
- Social Media
- Text/instant messaging
- Live chat
- Video chat
Each business will have a method of adapting and using these forms of communication. Some of the most common customer communications management strategies that businesses employ are:
- Single channel – Customers experience the business through a single touch point, such as an independent physical store. They must call or return to the store if they want to interact with the business again.
- Multi-channel – Customers experience the business independently through multiple touchpoints. An example of this would be if the independent store were to gain a website that was updated by a separate team. The store owner will not look at or maintain the information on the site in any way. So if a customer makes contact on the website, they will be unable to communicate with the store.
- Cross-channel – This strategy creates a coherent balance between the branding for all touchpoints of the business. The store and website will still operate independently in a silo but will be branded and communicate with customers in the same way.
- Omni-channel – An omni-channel strategy involves consistent branding and operation across all touchpoints of the business. So if a customer were to reserve a product online, they would be able to go into the physical store, quote a number, and pick the product there and then. The goal of an omni-channel strategy is to create a seamless customer experience.
Where are the problem areas for most businesses when creating communications?
Whether creating your communications digitally or physically, without the proper software solution, the process can be both long-winded and far from effective. As a business likely under heavy regulation with impeccably high standards of customer satisfaction expected, you need your customer communications to be quick to send and fit under all types of regulation required within your industry.
Many businesses will often look at their communications strategy as more of an afterthought. They end up with overinflated processes that show no effective results. The responsibility for customer communications will be passed around between teams, who all need to be involved to some extent for information to be accurate. Marketing will create ideas, which are then sent over to IT to create templates. After this, finance, HR, and other key teams will all have their say themselves, with poor communication between teams resulting in a poor end product. You then end up with no time left for the communications to be sent, meaning a rushed sending of communications that nobody is happy with. Sound familiar? So, how can you resolve this issue with digital customer communications in both the short and long term?
What short-term strategy can you incorporate today for improved results?
A short-term strategy would be to optimize and resolve some of the key problem areas of your communications efforts. Examples of this include:
- Creating clear guidelines for communications and building templates that can be used when creating communications.
- Assigning key team members in each area of your business to be responsible for communications.
- Passing the communications across teams with clear notes and communication. Collaboration between all parts of the business is key.
- Organising your communications and creating more of a cross-channel or omni-channel strategy.
- Thinking about which communication strategies are the most effective and sticking with them while you find your way.
How can our digital customer communications solution support your efforts long term?
You may be asking how you can bring in these methods and organise your digital customer communications strategy more effectively. Here at Sefas, we have over 20 years of experience in offering communications solutions for professional businesses. Some of the industries that our clients work in include:
We understand the importance of not just speedy communications but also the power of regulation in these industries. Our communications solution will instantly audit and organise your communications to ensure they are always up to date. Your teams will be able to create standard templates for all types of communications, and all of these templates will be instantly accessible to the required teams. Our all-in-one digital customer communications solution is called the Harmonie Communication Suite (HCS) and is used across industries and the world at large. To find out more about how HCS can support your communications efforts, get in contact today to arrange a free consultation.