Now that we have reviewed the types of communication you should be considering, let’s take a look at how to communicate effectively. Effective communication fosters connection, and is founded on a few common principles. You will be more successful in creating these connections if your messaging is authentic, real, and confident.
Start with empathy
Empathy is the ability to understand the feelings, thoughts, and beliefs of another person. Successful communication is more than sharing information, it is also having an understanding of the feelings behind this information. Put yourself in your customer’s shoes when planning how and what you will communicate. Communicating with empathy will strengthen relationships and build trust. If your customer feels that you truly understand their situation, they will be much more likely to engage and listen. When customers are receptive, you also have an opportunity to become a guiding light - a point we touch on below.
We have all heard the saying “people buy from people they like”. Goods and services aside, customers need to trust you before making a purchase. Prove to your customers that you truly care about their wants and needs. Be true to your words and say what you mean. Do not make promises you cannot keep, stand strong behind your beliefs and morals, and do not waver for the sake of a sale. Authentic communication means a willingness to disagree and say no, but to do it respectfully, which must come from a place of empathy and understanding. Legitimate, consistent, and incontestable behavior and communication will establish you as that company others want to do business with.
Customer experience and satisfaction is rooted in transparency. There is a crucial balance between what your customers want to know and hear versus what they need to know and hear. Being open and honest creates stronger, long-lasting relationships. This means learning how to honestly communicate news with customers - good or bad. In fact, delivering bad or undesirable news to a customer can have a positive impact. When your customers know that you are willing to take responsibility for issues that come up, or admit when you have dropped the ball, they will have more trust in what you communicate with them in the long run.
Shooting off messages you scripted a few months ago will likely fall flat, as so much has changed in the last few weeks. A huge part of effectively communicating with customers is listening carefully and then adapting. Be genuinely interested in the suggestions, comments, and concerns of your clients. You can gain an incredible amount of trust by speaking to what your customers are dealing with and addressing their current needs. Listening not only means calling your customers to check in and ask how they are doing, but it also means being vigilant and proactive. Visit their website, check out what they are posting on social media, and tap into how they are choosing to communicate with their own customers.
Be a guiding light
Show your customers that your company is facing recent events head on, confidently, and yet cautiously. Communicate how you are navigating through these tough times by finding opportunities amid the uncertainty. By providing new and relevant solutions to current events, and doing so while considering what comes next - after the pandemic is over - your customers will be more likely to look to you for guidance.
Establish a consistent communication to cultivate an environment of trust and productivity. Be consistent with both the methods of communication your company uses, and the messages that are sent across. Building a communication plan is a big step toward becoming more consistent with your communication.