Customers expect to be heard and to have the company act positively in response to their questions or concerns. The truth of the matter is, though, that many times companies have poor communication with their customers. This often leads to frustration and dissatisfaction. Poor communication and customer service result in US companies losing more than $62billion annually. In other words, poor communication with customers is a waste of both effort and money.
Wasted Money on Customer Service Training
When you have customer service representatives and employees that communicate poorly with customers, the money that you spent on training them is essentially wasted. If your employees have gone through customer service training, then they should know how to communicate well with customers.
They should be intimately familiar with company policies and procedures as well as any company products and services so that they can answer customers’ questions this is also important in being able to communicate well. The inability to do this indicates that the training provided was ineffective. When training is ineffective, it means money spent on it has not yielded the expected return. Additionally, poor communication also indicates that additional training is required, costing the company more money.
Poor Return on Investment
Every interaction your organization has with a customer costs both effort and money. When there is poor communication, the customer is having a negative experience. This could result in the customer not purchasing goods, returning goods, or simply no longer being a return customer. In an ideal scenario, a positive interaction can be quantified as additional sales.
You want each interaction to yield revenues greater than the expenses incurred (i.e. salary paid to the representative, time spent away from other projects, etc.). Staying in touch with customers via email and offering them discounts will spur them to return again. With a negative interaction takes representative time and loses potential revenue, meaning the interaction ends up costing the organization.
Another major reason so much effort and money is wasted that poor communication means the representative is losing the benefits they could have been realizing with good communication (with that same customer or another). These benefits may include securing a sale or additional sales, referrals from the customer, or repeat business. Instead, however, these efforts were put into an interaction that will hurt the business and the missed opportunities cannot be realized.
Additionally, the time an employee spends communicating poorly with a customer is time that is being taken away from another task or project they could have been working on. For instance, an employee could be working on developing a new product idea or marketing plan, working with another customer, etc. However, if their time is spent dealing with a customer that has suffered poor communication, the employee is being taken away from other activities that could benefit the organization.
Damaging Brand Image
Poor communication with customers can have an impact that reaches far beyond the loss of a customer. When a frustrated customer takes to social media, it can quickly snowball into a much bigger issue. What the customer says and how you choose to respond to it can have a major impact on your brand image.
If you communicate poorly in your response, it can cause long-lasting damaging to your brand. When it comes to communication with customers via social media, the same costs are involved. However, given the public nature of the communication, the effects are intensified, making poor communication even more problematic.
Minimize Wasted Effort and Money
The good news is that by focusing on improving communication with customers, the effort and money spent can be worthwhile and not wasted. While additional training is likely needed to improve the communication skills of customer service representatives, other low-key efforts can be made to help communicate with customers.
Use an Automated Phone Service
When a customer calls in to your organization, they have unique issues that may need to be resolved by a specific department. Using an automated phone service can help the customer navigate to the departments that can best help them with their issues. However, it’s important that you regularly check the system to make sure that it is giving the customer the best possible experience and that it is easy to navigate. Using this kind of system can help minimize the frustration of being transferred to time and again trying to get to someone that can help.
Listen To What Your Customers Have to Say
Customers want to be heard. Make sure your customer service representatives are taking the time to listen to what the customer needs. No two customers will be the same, so using a generic script can seem impersonal and off-putting.
Talk To Your Customers Like Real People
Your customers are real people and they want to have a conversation with your representatives. Avoid the jargon and the transactional speak and try to connect with your customers. Use real language that you would ordinarily use in a conversation and always put a positive spin on the situation. For example, if a product the client wants to purchase is back-ordered, focus on when you can get it to them rather than the fact that it’s not currently available.
Good Communication is a Continuous Effort
A company’s communication with its customers must be regularly evaluated. Customers should not feel like they have difficulty communicating with the company and should feel as though their issues are getting this all. This may require going through the actual process of reaching out to customer service hope, going to the system, and seeing the quality of conversation with a customer service representative.
Making the effort to maintain good communication is important given that it is 5 to 25 times more expensive to acquire new customers as it is to keep existing customers. This is why poor communication and its effect on customer retention is so detrimental to an organization’s bottom line.