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Talking to Your Customers: Where and How?

Tanya Omelianiuk

September 23, 2020

The more technology and connectivity advances, the more ways to communicate there are. Businesses go global and manage thousands of clients by choosing the channels of communication to reach them and maintain their interest. But is there a universal way for a company to communicate with their customers and how to find the one? First, let’s take a closer look at the options and what they are good for.

Written communication

Probably, texting and written communication are now more popular than phone calls. Indeed, a person can take their time to respond and doesn’t have to talk when the time is wrong. Naturally, there are differences between interpersonal and business communication. While major mediums for people to talk with each other are messengers and email, businesses have more options. Besides, some of them are there only for the clients to make the first move and some help to reach them in the most compelling way possible. 

Website chats 

One thing that the instant accessibility taught customers is the inability to wait. If a person skims a website and doesn’t find the answer, they may lose their interest. To prevent it, businesses incorporate live chats to their websites, where people can ask their questions or request help. Conveniently for the user, live chats don’t always require their contact data, so it feels non-binding and fast. In turn, the business appears reliable and approachable, which is a great plus to the first impression about it. 

The need for getting fast results and lack of patience for delayed gratification is a common trait for generations like millennials and zoomers (namely those who interact with technology from a young age). Hence, the main point of chats is not to make customers wait. Businesses that will benefit from this channel are commonly the huge ones, as they cannot approach every client personally.   

Social media and messenger chats 

Another fast and easy way to communicate with clients is by using social media. There are plenty of useful tools to establish both an image of the brand and engage potential customers. But there are still peculiarities to talking to the customer there. Commonly, it is a sort of their own territory, as people don’t usually open Instagram or Facebook to interact with your business specifically. Social media may be an app by itself or a messenger tied to a website. 

Messengers

Messengers are probably the most popular platform for talking, at least personally. However, they are also a convenient way to talk with clients for businesses. If a website has an option to respond to a user via messenger, it may seem even more appealing and effective than a website chat. See, if one places a question in a website chat and doesn’t get the answer straight away, they may choose to leave the page or close the tab with it. If one places an inquiry in a messenger, they may still have to wait, but the business has the way to reach this person even if they leave the site. In messengers, customer service agents have more time and opportunities in turning a lead into a customer, as they will receive notifications and definitely open a messenger again. 

Social media sites

As people mostly use social media via phones, communication in it is similar to messengers (at least in terms of texting). Here, the same rules and principles work if the business has such an option of reaching it. 

Both types of social media can help a company to improve its business performance and communicate with their audiences. Compared to website chats, the response here may take more time, which can be inconvenient to the person. Plus, it will not be appealing for those who don’t want to share personal contacts or wish to stay anonymous. 

Automated chatbots 

Whether it is a website chat or a messenger your business uses, you can get some work done by a robot. The recent advancement of machine learning allows companies and organizations to have a lot of requests handled by an AI algorithm. Today’s chatbots can hold a conversation with a human being and are pretty helpful as tier-1 customer representatives. It means that they can handle basic customer issues or forward the request straight to the specialist that can help them. 

At first demanding some work and adjustments to be done, chatbots will do good for large-scale companies, especially if they have to do with technology. Say, your company is an antivirus provider people around the world use. If they have an issue with it, they will text to the support. However, commonplace users are not supposed to know the program in and out, so even a simple action with the software can make them feel puzzled. Not to have agents explain the same thing to thousands of users, it is reasonable to teach a bot to identify what the problem is and give the right instructions to the customers. 

While they do not help in sales much, chatbots are great at maintaining customer satisfaction and loyalty, especially when the company is big and the clients are many. 

Email 

Email is one of the oldest methods of communicating with clients, and it is still one of the musts for any company. Although it isn’t as fast as chats, a client’s inbox is the destination of all the invoices, confirmation, validation, and other technical letters. They add credibility to the company and prove the transparency of every transaction. 

In terms of sales, an email is a useful tool for handling B2B deals as a follow-up to a previous discussion and revision of all the teams and conditions. 

In terms of keeping the audience engaged, email is also quite helpful. It is a great tool for updating the subscriber about offers your business gives or reminding them how happy you are to have them as a client. 

SMS 

While many of the online-based chat environments are designed for interaction initiated by a customer, SMS is something a business may use as a first move. Today, it is viewed as a short form of what email is for, namely informing and updating or confirming one’s order. Thus, it isn’t the best place to hold a conversation with a lead or a customer but works well for telling them about the upcoming promotion.  

To wrap the texting methods up, we want to suggest a principle to choose the communication medium. The time that customers are willing to wait for a response gets shorter every year. The best way not to push their limits in waiting is to figure out what works for them. For example, if you have a small retail business, the potential customer may change their mind quickly, so it makes sense to use the fastest and personalized channels, such as social media or messengers. However, if the business is massive and the deal is significant, the company may reach the client via email and let both parties take their time to think about responses. 

Voice communication

If there is an issue that requires real-time help, a company must have a line for that. Although texting is more convenient for the majority of people, there are still more old-fashioned (or impatient) audiences that are comfortable with having a phone call. As well as with channels for texting, there are several options for businesses as well. An organization can choose from landline phones, mobile carriers, or VoIP providers to talk to customers. However, we will focus on the context of having a conversation with a client. 

When the customer makes a phone call

If the majority of the calls the company has is from its clients, it makes sense to have a line that they will not spend too much money using. 

Again, the solution will depend on the type of business. If it is local retail, several landline phones or mobiles with different providers will suffice. Provided the business is large, finding a reliable VoIP provider will fit much better due to the opportunity it opens. Indeed, it gives an organization an adjustable bandwidth, an opportunity to make calls free for a customer, CPM integration for better client management, and so on. 

When the company makes a phone call 

If it is the company that mostly calls clients, it happens pretty much the same: a person uses their mobile or landline phone to receive a call. In this situation, a business is free to choose a connection type from a mobile carrier, landline phone, or VoIP provider. As long as there is a separate department in the company that handles outbound calls, using cloud solutions and VoIP connection are more convenient than other options. Apart from easy management and high-quality connection, VoIP solutions may facilitate scaling the business and lead management. 

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To sum it all up, there is a myriad of ways to reach new clients and keep the old ones interested. Among all the methods of communication we mentioned above, it is impossible to say that one can replace all the other. Considering its capacities and business objectives, every company has the challenge of choosing the combination of these channels. For local retail, it is enough to have several mobile phones for calls and a Facebook page for texting. A huge international business, in turn, can only run with a large call center and a separate team handling written communications. Finally, there are tools that will simplify many processes, and they are what businesses might profit from.