Talking To Your Customers through All Messages

“How can companies better connect to its customers? The answer is simple: Speak like people, not like machines… More and more, people are craving authentic experiences from the world around them, and that means a simple human-to-human connection. In our “user experience” world, this means when people use a website, software, products, etc, people should somehow experience the people that created it. Connection.” – Bill DeRouchey

With so much ‘noise’ in the marketplace, and information spewing from all sides, the natural reaction of companies would be to toot their horn about how great the company is and the top class service they can provide. The information they provide is all ‘about the company’, while talking to your customers becomes conspicuous by its absence. This effectively means that the messages that go out do not reflect that the company is aware of and interested in the needs, expectations, and interests of the customer.  The focus must switch to the customer in order to improve the number of responses from them, thereby increasing the possibilities of conversions.  Companies forget that customers would pick the ‘signals’ being sent to them – using words that revolve around the company could soon leave them irritated enough to stop reading. To attract and retain the attention of customers, the messages should have words that reflect the customers – such as ‘you or yours’ – the more such words, the higher the possibility of customers reading the messages and acting on them.

In everyday life too, we detest people that cannot see beyond themselves – they boast and holler about how great they are. Business is part of real life. When your business is talking to your customers, it would be rather presumptuous to be boasting about its own achievements rather than focusing on the customer. Customers want to know that a company in interested in what they want and those companies that do focus on them, are more likely to gain their attention and business. When talking to prospective customers, a company must remember to avoid being intrusive, as this can be extremely irritating and even annoying for some. Imagine the target audience receiving an unsolicited message that teems with pompous references about the company, and sans any mention as to how they stand to gain. When talking to your customers, ensure that they want to hear from you and that the message seeks to build a relationship with them, based on reflecting an understanding of their needs.

We have spoken extensively on the need to understand and segment the customer base, in order for the messages to appear customized and completely attuned to their needs and expectations – this, is what talking to your customers comprises of – permission to ‘speak’ to them, through messages that they would use and want. Unless the messages have something of relevance to the customers, they would fall into the category of the many noises in the marketplace and customers will soon learn to ignore messages from your company. Talking to your customers through every message would mean that you allow them to respond – that is there must be a possibility of interaction, your company is not only speaking but allowing customers to express themselves as well. The important thing to remember is talking to your customers – not at them.

The underlying factor about talking to your customers is that the messages must provide a personal feel and reflect the humane side of the company. Everything a company does must be guided towards providing a memorable, distinctive, and unique experience for each customer. Every customer must feel valued and important, which means that each one must receive attention and every piece of information, they share must be treated as valuable. This would allow your company to be talking to your customers in the manner, they deem appropriate and that, which keeps them engaged. Utilizing the information provided by customers enables a ‘conversation’ with customers that would ‘speak to them’ rather than appear generic and a broadcast for all. Companies must focus on moving away from the ‘inward, us approach’ and move towards ‘you the customer’ outlook.

What does talking to your customers entail and is your company doing a good job of it? People visit a company’s website when they want to know more about how the company can meet their interests. However, if the website and other online company presence is all about the company and does not offer reassurance that you are the company that will care for them, it would be impossible to get any business out of them or even hold on to their attention. The website must speak of how the company can benefit customers and should be able to answer the age-old question of ‘what’s in it for me’. It would be prudent for a company to solicit advice from a few trusted customers and use their suggestions to fix any issues that could be preventing your company from talking to your customers.

Mistakes are bound to happen – it is just part of the human aspect. However, what some companies forget is the apology and follow-up. Talking to your customers is about recognizing their pain areas, and if your company failed to remove them or added to them, it would be imperative to apologize and let the customers know what you plan to do about the lapse or failure. The apology too must satisfy the definition of talking to your customers – they should be able to respond and convey their feelings – they may not necessarily accept the apology immediately or accept the solutions provided by the company. A consistent dialogue would be essential to show commitment, which in turn would serve to get the customer back on your side.

Talking to your customers is about recognizing the customer’s problem – even when an apology is not required. It is about letting them know that your company cares about their issue and that you are pressing the best resources into action to get things back to normalcy. It is important to let customers know that your company is able to see the challenges they face or could face, and would swiftly and proactively, remove the obstacles. It is important that your company create circumstances to retain existing customers, but also to garner buying interest from potential ones. It is possible that the target audience may not immediately require your company’s products or services, but by doing a great job of talking to your customers, the potential customers would definitely keep your company in mind when they do need what your company offers.

Talking to your customers gives them the confidence and trust that whatever the problem, your company would have the solution for it. The content and information your company publishes, must influence and convince all customer bases of your company’s ability to be the most effective partner for them. Ensure that the content your company puts out is easy to search, find, and understand.  Be where the customer is such that your company is talking to your customers when and where they deem most appropriate and convenient. The fact is that customer needs and expectations are changing continuously and by adapting to those changes, you would be talking to your customers in a ‘language’ they understand and appreciate.

When talking to your customers your company must know what it is trying to achieve and what kind of message will enable you to do so. When your company sends out pertinent and interesting messages, customers will begin to listen and respond. Remember, that if you want your messages to reflect how important your customer is for you – talk to your customers about what interests them and what your company can do to help to make their lives easier.

 

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