Customer relationships are one of the fundamental parts of every successful business. In the world of increasingly global market competition, there are different ways to stand out. But making a lasting first impression and getting the wow-effect of your marketing campaigns is not the ultimate goal. Effective communication at every stage of your sales and marketing process and beyond is.
When it comes to personal communication, remote work makes it different. Still, there are proven ways to stay aware of your client's pain points and address them effectively. And there are also specific steps to hone your customer communication strategy.
Remote Communication as a New Reality
The COVID-19 lockdown and switching to almost entirely remote work brought lots of challenges for businesses and their customers. In the beginning, we considered remote communications as something forced by the lockdown: difficult but temporary. Nevertheless, moving the majority of business processes online has proved the opposite. With all its challenges, remote customer communication has become an essential part of today’s business. Meaning, all business owners need to develop remote customer relationships and adjust their business & marketing strategies adequately.
Remote work enables smooth entry into the global market. Having switched to regular international meetings without leaving our comfortable locations, we will not refuse their advantages. But keeping in touch via the internet requires additional communication skills and knowledge. Especially so, if it’s not a video call with your colleagues but a full-scale remote customer reach and customer communication strategy.
What Has Changed Most When Switching to Remote?
According to studies, 70% to 93% of all communication is non-verbal. Face-to-face communication remains the best way to negotiate a deal with a potential customer, especially in a B2B sphere. So what are our alternatives to ensure we as marketers get the point across?
Online businesses are already equipped with chatbots, automated support services, and online marketplaces where shopping via the internet is easy and convenient. So why do such things as miscommunication or poor customer communication still occur?
More often than not, this is due to the challenges such as:
- lack of training for remote customer communication or neglecting the specificity of online communication channels;
- lack of clear instructions for every part of the customer communication process,
- overuse of a single communication channel. People usually better perceive and retain information communicated via different verbal and visual means and reiterated via different online & offline channels.
The customers still need the products and services to match their needs, keep work-life balance in new circumstances, etc. And if the business copes with keeping in touch with the clients, staying aware of their needs, and actively listening to them, it will succeed in their customer communication.
Let's zoom in on the situations that can occur in remote customer communication. The keys to them are your opportunities not only to survive the post-lockdown era but to grow the business globally.
Key 1. Remote But Personal
Have you ever thought of mass mailing as something soulless and artificial? Well, it entirely depends on how you design and manage them. Planned mailing campaigns can now be customized, personalized, and re-create the feeling of personal correspondence. You must know all these tips for writing a great message to your customers, like addressing by name, being thankful, etc. But with scaling the mailing and having remote communications only, we need even more automation and a more personal approach.
Trigger emails or postcards enable reaching out to your customers depending on their actions towards your brand. Behavioral patterns of the website visitors or buyers in your online store are not unique. Still, several thought-out email or postcard templates and the correct setting according to a trigger action can make all the difference. It's a way to demonstrate your care to the target audience. With a tool like Inkit, supporting multichannel trigger campaigns through hundreds of integrations, you’ll get the most of personalized customer outreach.
Or such a simple thing as setting your private account as the "sender," which helps the receivers see a real person on the other side of the message. Here are some additional simple tips on how to bring personalization right to your consumer’s door.
Of course, emails and postcards are just a part of the customer communication process. When you need to provide or discuss more details, posted catalogs, phone calls, or video calls might be a better choice.
Key 2. Accuracy and Consistency
Depending on the services provided, many companies face a more or less complicated process of keeping customer communication accurate, logged, and consistent, rather than chaotic and messy. For example, legal and insurance institutions need to transfer electronic and physical documents regularly. So, their email and direct mail communication chains need to function as a single system with a reliable method for record-keeping, address verification, shipment, tracking, and so on.
Especially so, if your business covers more than one state, the address validation system is a must-have. A software tool covering all these needs while allowing you to handle multiple channels simultaneously will save you lots of trouble and money. For example, Inkit Render helps with HTML into PDF conversion and proper storing of your converted files, while Inkit Verify helps autocomplete and validate shipping addresses. You can then manage the actual sends and shipments via the Inkit Send.
This way, your satisfied customers’ network will keep growing while your operational expenses go down.
Key 3. Detailed Instructions & Customer Data Access
Everyone who worked remotely with a customer or a colleague understands the need for coordinated teamwork. Before the lockdown, remote customer communication focused on social media or support services. But when the whole team is online, everyone needs to understand their roles and responsibilities clearly. At some point, any sales, marketing, delivery, or accounting employee could become a spokesperson for your brand.
But they can also damage your reputation if they aren’t ready for such a role. This is why a company needs to share its customer communication strategies, guidelines, and messaging with every team member who communicates with customers. All these customer-facing roles should also be able to access the previous purchase history, customer profile details, and past communication records to ensure excellent customer service. Make sure the software you use for these functions is also secure enough to protect all this data.
Key 4. When, Where, and How: The Right Communication Channels
Strategies aimed at reaching out to your target audience differ based on the communication channel. Every social network has its tone and rules your message should cater to. Sales and marketing teams do thorough research before choosing the way of presenting the business to our potential customers. Don’t just duplicate your messages across different channels. The style and communication channels should also evolve with time, i.e., gift-baskets for your loyal, long-term customers on a special occasion, a postcard signed by your CEO for a VIP client, or a closed Facebook group for early-birds with some special offers.
Of course, the time of communication also matters. For your remote customer communication strategy, you should keep the messaging engaging but not imposing. Regular, but timely. Keeping in touch matters the most in the world of remote, and the task is to use all the relevant occasions and all the channels to stay close to your customers and keep giving them more value in these ambiguous times.
Key 5. Easy-to-Use Registration and Billing Systems
In the world of online marketplaces, the contact and demo forms, as well as sign-up or billing systems should be as convenient as possible. So much effort is put into leading a potential customer to a purchase decision, so the very step of conversion should be trouble-free.
First, customer details required for registration or payment are sensitive and need a high degree of protection. Second, try to automate this step as much as possible; otherwise, your database might contain errors. An incorrect shipment or billing address in your database will lead to multiple issues with return shipments, bank and payment problems, and customer dissatisfaction.
Remote customer communication is testing the business' ability to adjust their internal and external operations, communication strategies, and sales & marketing processes. With proper automation and software tools, this shift is easily achievable and can become a step towards globalizing your services and scaling the income.