Are your customers telling you the whole truth?
Tips for effectively communicating with customers and prospectsAugust 14th, 2019 by
Communicating with customers and prospective clients is an essential part of setting yourself up for long-term success. But an email here and there or an occasional newsletter isn’t enough to maintain the close connection that ensures that your company is the one homeowners think of first when they need work done.
Prospective customers are a wealth of information, whether or not they ultimately decide to hire your company. If you don’t communicate with prospective and lost customers, after all, you won’t get the opportunity to find out where you can improve your customer experience.
Take a look at our communication tips and reasons you should be surveying your prospects, and then download our whitepaper for a more in-depth discussion on best practices for managing customer relationships in today’s world.
7 tips for communicating with customers
1. Prioritize customer service and experience.
Part of providing quality customer service and a noteworthy customer experience hinges on your ability to clearly communicate with customers. Place the customer at the center of every decision you make.
- Is your contact information accessible in multiple formats (online and on business cards and brochures, for example)?
- What other ways can customers contact you? Do you offer an online chat option?
- How quickly do you respond to calls and messages received outside of standard business hours?
Be transparent about how you communicate with customers, and be intentional about creating a comfortable environment for customers to come to you with any questions or concerns. Communicating with the customer throughout the project is essential for maintaining a high level of satisfaction.
Keep the lines of communication open between you, your team, and the customer, and you will be able to eliminate problems or issues before they occur. Communicating with your customers builds trust and enables you to gauge whether your company is meeting their standards.
2. Listen to what the customer is saying.
When a customer contacts you with questions or concerns, sometimes all they’re really looking for is someone to listen. Our blog article about the pitfalls of neglecting effective communication with clients is centered on a Salesforce infographic that illustrates the fact that many of the problems that customers face can be resolved within minutes with proper communication.
Listen to your customer, empathize with them, and take the necessary steps to answer their question or solve their problem.
3. Be quick to respond.
When it comes to negative client feedback, a quick response time is key. Address the customer’s concern or issue promptly and as proactively as possible. Accept responsibility, be straightforward and upfront with your answers, and do what it takes to make the situation better.
You can uncover and resolve issues promptly and before they go public by surveying your customers, responding right away, and immediately fixing the problem. Taking these actions will help you delight even the most unhappy customer and could lead to referrals, repeat business, and even a positive online review.
4. Empathize, apologize, and move forward.
After the customer makes you aware of their problem or complaint, how you react can make or break the future of that relationship. Humans make mistakes, but it’s how you handle the aftermath that matters.
- Listen to your client.
- Let them express everything they need to before reacting.
- Express empathy and apologize (even if you’re not entirely sure you or your company is at fault).
- Outline your solution, and explain how you’ll remedy the problem.
Negative feedback is often public, so make sure that you respond to the public comment and reach out to the customer directly. Taking this two-pronged approach demonstrates to prospective clients that you hold yourself and your team accountable for any mistakes or complaints.
5. Make proactive calls.
It’s not always necessary to wait for the customer to call you with questions, comments, or concerns. If you think of a project detail that might be improved by a small change, let your customer know right then.
A call to say, “I was thinking about your project and wondered what you’d think about…” lets your client know that their project is on your priority list. These small touches make a world of difference to a customer’s satisfaction levels.
6. Keep track of everything.
Keeping detailed records on each project is crucial for effective communication with the customer. If you don’t have an accurate record of what’s been done and what still needs to be done, how can you provide answers to your customer?
7. Ensure effective internal communication.
Another way to maintain order around a project is to ensure effective internal communication. If the person answering the phone at your office tells the customer one thing and the team in the field is saying another, how is the customer supposed to know who’s right? If possible, designate one point of contact for the customer.
4 reasons to survey your prospects
1. You’ll understand your company’s customer experience much better.
A smooth, positive customer experience is essential to leading a buyer through the journey from prospect to established customer. Great customer service is important, but you also need a responsive, user-friendly website, an accessible and knowledgeable staff, and straightforward processes for administrative tasks, such as accepting payments.
If you don’t follow up with prospective or lost leads, you won’t have an accurate picture of how many people drop out of the purchasing funnel—or at what point that happens.
2. A prospective customer survey can improve your chances of reversing a lost lead.
Leads do occasionally go cold, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be revived. Reconnect with a cold lead by sending them a quick note explaining that you’d love to hear about their experience with your company.
In some cases, that gentle nudge is all it takes to revive the account. And if the prospect indicates that they chose one of your competitors or didn’t have a good experience with your company, that’s important information for you to know.
3. Surveying prospects and customers shows that you’re invested in everyone who engages with your company.
Today’s customer is no stranger to solicitations to buy goods and services. Ensure that your company stands out from the crowd by contacting customers with a request for information rather than a push to make a purchase.
A survey requesting information about the prospect’s or customer’s experience is a great way to demonstrate your commitment to customer satisfaction and that you value every consumer who contacts your company, whether or not they make a purchase.
4. A prospect survey can boost your business during slow times.
Periodic slowdowns are a fact of life for businesses in the home services and remodeling industries. Take advantage of these lulls to launch a prospect survey. You’ll have more time to closely analyze the results and respond promptly to cold leads who indicate a renewed interest in your services.
The bottom line
Maintaining productive, friendly conversation with your customers isn’t always easy, but it’s always possible—it may just take some additional work.
Keep your focus on the experience your company offers customers, and don’t write off clients who decide to hire a competitor. Everyone who engages with your company, regardless of whether they spend any money, is a source of valuable information. Your role is to keep those lines of communication open.