Whether you're a B2B or B2C company, you've got customers and an audience. And it's their happiness, satisfaction, and loyalty that will ensure your long-term success. You've got a great product they love and great sales and services teams, but that isn't enough to ensure your customer has a good experience with your company.
All too often, the person on the other side of the phone, screen, or table is inundated with unnecessary, complicated, confusing, and overwhelming information. And this can happen without you ever knowing it. Scary!
The difficulty for companies is understanding what's most important to the client. What seems important and relevant to you doesn't necessarily track for the customer or client. When you think about it, it's obvious why. When embedded in a system or project, you can see it from all angles and need as much information as possible to understand how best to execute it. But when you need a functional product, you don't need to know how it's made or why it was made with a particular part—you just need it to work.
The happiest customer isn't necessarily the one with the most amount of information. Happy customers are a result of a successful customer experience that is clear, easy to execute, and personalized.
Turn down the volume
The human brain burns 11 calories a minute, and as a survival technique, will start to tune out superfluous information that isn't necessary for its survival to conserve calories. So what does that mean for your company? It means that everything your customer receives from you should be relevant to their specific needs and provided when those needs arise.
This concept continues to be critical throughout the customer experience, from the first time they visit your website to receiving the final product from you. It can be applied to every interaction you have, both internally and externally.
As an example, think about your website for a minute. What is the first thing it says about you? If it says, "We've been in business for over 30 years and are trusted advisors," you're already giving the viewer information that isn't critical and doesn't speak to their needs. The visitor doesn't need to know how long you've been in business; they need to know if you have a solution to their problem.
Additionally, if your customer has to slough through a bunch of information they don't yet need to find out if your solution works for them, they'll lose interest and move on. And this isn't just relevant to prospects. It can become even more cloudy once they begin working with you.
If you're working on a project for a client, there are countless ways you can drown out the critical parts of your communications. Overloading them with too many choices, for instance. Or inundating their inbox with overly detailed progress reports. Or hijacking your review meetings to go over topics that aren't relevant or essential. The list goes on and on.
Chances are, somewhere down the line of your customer experience, your company is guilty of one or more of these. Don't freak out though. You're not alone. Refining your customer experience is hard. So how do you mitigate this problem?
Have one person in charge of communication
Once a client is on board, designate a single person on your team to oversee all communication. This will help clarify your voice and streamline communication efficiencies. It will also help your client develop a more personal relationship with your company and help them build confidence in communicating with you.
Pick one communication platform
These days, companies often work on multiple platforms. One company may use Slack, Trello, and email to communicate about projects and across teams. This may be fine internally, but if you're asking your client to move between communication channels to talk to you, you're asking too much. Make it as simple as possible. Pick one and stick with it.
Be clear and straightforward
When you start a project with a client, set clear expectations around how they should communicate with you, when they should expect a response, and what the communication will look like. This will help build trust between your client and business and provide them with a clear understanding of what they'll get from you as you work together. Setting clear expectations will also reduce the risk of frustrating, confusing, or disappointing your customer. That is, if you stick to what you tell them.
Don't get comfortable
In the end, the best thing you can do is to ensure you never get too comfortable. The world of communication is constantly evolving and it's up to you to stay on top of the changing expectations and needs of your clients and prospects. Take the time to ask them how you could improve their experience, listen to the feedback you get from your team, do your research, and don't be afraid to change up your tactics. It's a never-ending process, but it's worth its weight in gold.
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Photo by marchmeena