5 Tips On How To Communicate More Effectively With Your Patients
A recent study has shown that $41 billion is lost by US companies each year due to poor customer service. Another interesting statistic shows that 66% of customers switch companies due to poor service. These figures combined with some cut throat competition and a more discerning customer base gives rise to the need for effective communication. Communication is not just about training and preparing staff to provide the best customer service, it is more about communicating with the customer.
The 5 tips below will cast light on the journey to building better communication with customers, along with the benefits of each approach.
Tip 1: Communicate like a human being and improvise
A customer is not often thrilled about having to interact with someone who speaks scripted lines in monotone. Memorizing scripts, greetings, apologies and showing false concern is something a customer will see right through. What really makes a difference to the customer is speaking in a more human and empathetic voice; adding a bit of humor doesn’t hurt either!
If a customer feels engaged and heard, there is a higher chance of them sticking with a business or service provider. Relationship-building along with acknowledging customers, trying to solve their problems, regularly following up and asking for feedback are all key ingredients inherent in the secret sauce of effective communication. Customer satisfaction surveys are a great tool for collecting feedback and improving internal processes.
Tip 2: Keep customers informed
A great way to keep the customer abreast of new products and services is through frequent communication. Examples of effective channels are: blogs, website articles and newsletters or perhaps considering training sessions. Using multiple channels of communication is ideal, and organizations have a plethora of digital and social communication platforms available such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram. Not only are these mediums low cost and low maintenance, they also provide for a two way communication with the customer, and a faster means of customer feedback.
It is however essential to monitor social media regularly and ensure that feedback, whether positive or negative does not go unnoticed.
It is also important to ensure that customers are informed about any technical problems, outages or shortages. Being direct and upfront is appreciated by customers and it makes them feel important and consequently, leaves a good mark.
Tip 3: Give importance to complaints and avoid emotional responses
There is no denying that an outage or a dysfunctional product makes clients unhappy. As much as companies strive to do their best for customers, communication is not always well received. Criticism is inescapable and comments are sometimes harsh and degrading.
However, maintaining composure and taking time to react will go a long way in resolving a customer’s displeasure. It also helps to understand and acknowledge the problem, apologize for the inconvenience caused and to try and resolve the problem as quickly as possible. It is found that 70% of customers will return to a business if a complaint is resolved in their favor.
Tip 4: Keep pace with industry trends
Building better communication is a full time job and not something that should be done when companies have extra time on hand. It is not only important to regularly communicate with customers, but also to monitor the shift in industry trends and keep up with them. Falling behind will make communication methods seem outdated and will send a negative message to customers.
Make sure that communication is targeted towards the needs of the customer and strive to add value to them. Keep pace with industry trends by reading blogs and online posts, participating in online forums and getting a pulse of consumer needs and expectations and responding to them appropriately.
Tip 5: Practice inbound marketing
Inbound or pull marketing is not just a great topic for a marketing lecture, it is a great tool implemented by emerging businesses to communicate with customers and keep them engaged. Inbound marketing is focused on making customers come to the business rather than interrupting their routine to show products and services. Traditional or outbound marketing focuses more on TV ads, blanket emails and mailers, whereas inbound marketing uses mediums like blog posts, videos and eBooks.
Inbound marketing is a great lead generator and costs 62% less per lead than outbound marketing. New and emerging organizations such as Hubspot and The Dollar Shave Club are interesting examples of organizations whose business models are built around inbound marketing. These companies focus on keeping the conversation going with customers by providing them with useful online content, thereby generating revenue for their respective businesses.
Focusing on the above tips will help strengthen communication with customers which will in turn help build strong relationships that are the core of outstanding customer service. Better communication will also result in more customers recommending a business to others and will eventually contribute and maintain the bottom line of the business.