Over the last few months, it’s become very apparent that some businesses are far better at communicating with their customers than others. Some have let their customers know about changes to opening hours, closures, or alternative ways to shop during the pandemic. They’ve communicated changes quickly and effectively. More than this, they’ve kept in touch. They’ve made a real effort to understand and help with the new challenges that their customers have been facing. These businesses haven’t lost custom, are still doing well, and are now taking steps not only to get back to normal but to grow.
Other businesses have assumed that their customers will know what is going on, either haven’t offered any alternative arrangements, or have been surprised when they haven’t been used, and have no idea what their customers need from them. These are the businesses that will struggle to survive this period of uncertainty and change.
There are many things that we can all learn from the last six months, but from a business point of view, one of the most obvious lessons is the importance of effective and open communication with our customers. If you want to improve customer comms, here are some things that you could try.
Utilize Digital Signage
There are many different ways to use digital signs in your business. You could display them over till points to highlight costs and services. They could be placed around your store, to point out offers or share information. You could even use them in your window displays. At the moment, digital displays are a great way to give customers any information they need about social distancing or changes that have been made to your business to keep them safe.
Make the Most of Social Media
Social media is an incredibly effective way to reach your audience quickly. Most customers, certainly the younger ones, will check social media for updates before they’ll look at a website, send an email or make a call. Social media gives you a way to reach a large audience very quickly, and to make further changes as and when you need to. But, don’t make the mistake of thinking that everyone will see posts or changes to your page.
So many people say things like ‘let us know how you get on” or “we welcome feedback” and then leave it to the customer to get back in touch. Most customers will only offer feedback if there is something wrong. If you want to know how they are getting on with something, get in touch, and ask.
Remember, communication isn’t a one-way street. The businesses that communicate with their customers most efficiently are the ones that understand that it goes both ways. Improve your customer service, have conversations, get to know people, both on and offline, and build genuine relationships. When you know your customers, you know if they will have seen a social media post, or if you need to send an email. You’ll know what they want from you, and how to give it, and you’ll be able to stop problems before they become complaints.