Communication. The word seems both simple, tangible and at first glance, pretty obvious because in reality, what business doesn’t want to communicate with their customers, right? The way in which we choose to connect with those that are most loyal to our brand mission is a direct reflection of our ability to effectively create unique customer experiences. One of the most critical parts of building strong customer relationships is to create goals, strategies, content and messaging that is customer-centric, rather than organizationally focused. Providing content that resonates emotionally with customers — and adds value — helps to drive engagement with your brand which helps drive conversions. It also promotes brand loyalty which helps to improve retention.
If you aren’t familiar with The 8 Phases of Every Customer Journey, download our eGuide to learn more. This will provide you with a foundation for the various steps in the customer journey, as well as which communication channels and tactics are more effective at each step.
Here’s a friendly reminder on how these six types of communication methods can best serve your customer journey:
Face time, and no I’m not referring to video chatting your friends and family, is the single most powerful way to connect with a target audience. With person-to-person interaction, there is no barrier between the live feedback that’s being exchanged between body language, facial expressions, tone, voice and other physicalities that can reveal behavioral cues. Businesses have greater opportunity when taking advantage of this tale-as-old-as-time technique by dialing directly into consumer energy, gauging a pulse for their candid curiosity and fostering deep personal connection. In fact, according to Hubspot, for every dollar a company invests in travel, they receive $12.50 back in value. That’s a 1,100% return on investment due almost solely to the fact that an exchange is taking place face-to-face. Not only that, in-the-flesh meetings eliminate the risk for misunderstandings that so often take place through written communication. In-person communication was just as effective then as it is now and can be promoted within customer interactions before or after customer interest is sparked. Anytime, there is low opportunity cost to offer customers in-person support, it’s in your best interest to make it happen.
If you’re limited by geographic or time zone barriers and wish to provide your consumers with service or product information that speaks to their unique needs, then building targeted email campaigns is an effective tactic to drive CX success. Bluesource’s data compilation shows that 74% of all online adults prefer email as their main method of commercial communication – meaning the vast majority of working citizens favor email as their primary mode of contact. Additionally, email is a sufficient communication tool to use to determine customer needs before they make a purchase, and just as importantly, after. Remember, the consumer life cycle doesn’t end with a financial transaction. Brand’s today are expected to assume a psychological role that adheres to the emotional and mental check-ins buyers need in order to stay confident with their purchase. This solidifies a longer-term relationship predicated upon trust, consumers remain receptive and faithful to their brand perception. Email is an inexpensive way to touch base periodically and track engagement with your brand post-purchase.
Short message service (SMS), otherwise known as texting, is the most personalized form of digitized interchange. Think about it, in an era where branded information can be thrown at consumers through web banner ads, work email, personal email, Spotify, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, fitness applications (you get the picture), etc., your mobile phone is where you come into contact with the people that are closest to you – namely family and friends. When a consumer lends those 10 digits, they’re virtually giving a business a license to contact them in the same way their loved ones would. If a customer is willing to provide a phone number, make sure not to abuse it. Use the SMS to drive great CX. Be mindful of how often you’re contacting a customer through SMS, and make sure you’re adding value to the interaction.Some of the best B2B or B2C use cases for SMS-driven communication strategies are: when marketing to younger demographics and when your messaging requires a particular amount of exclusivity. Additionally, globally driven marketing efforts can depend on the deploy of SMS campaigns and SMS campaigns alone. According to Rebrandly, over 35% of phone users in the world are best reached by SMS text messaging.
Direct mail isn’t dead, and as marketers, we should avoid referring to it as “snail mail” because that negatively associates this communication approach as archaically slow. In reality, addressing your target audience through the form of a snazzy, eye-catching thank you card or survey is an effective way to cut through email clutter — Small Business Trends’ online journal claims that 70% of Americans say mail is more personal than the internet. By grand design, direct mail can get expensive, fast, so make sure to pursue it only when your ROI is trackable. For example, press releases, swag boxes, holiday cards, thank you notes, promotional letters, toys, etc could all warrant special printed, tangible communication.
Piggy-backing off the idea that in-person exchanges ensure that little behavioral cues are lost in translation, phone calls, by nature, are similar in that they offer a direct line of real-time communication with your customers. For instance, when you’re trying to uncover information about your customer’s needs and unable to speak to the customer in person a phone conversation is ideal. With the help of customer service reps that understand how to tactfully discuss information that might be sensitive or difficult to communicate via email, you’re likely to witness greater success in retrieving critical details over the phone than through written communication. Equally as important, if a customer requires additional product or service support post-purchase, phone calls (second to in-person interaction) can be the next best method to providing efficient customer support. Per Nextiva, for more complicated interactions, such as payment disputes, 40% of customers prefer talking to a real person over the phone. That equates to nearly half of the consumer population preferring a phone call over other communication means to best serve and attend to their needs.
Video is arguably one of the most effective tools to use when attempting to disrupt the digital ecosystem in a big way. Bitable’s recent video marketing acknowledgement shows that 72% of customers would rather learn about a product or service by way of video. On top of this they predict that by 2022, online videos will make up more than 82% of all consumer internet traffic. Want to know the best (and most undervalued) part about producing a branded video? The budget and quality doesn’t have to measure up to a Warner Bros production standard. That’s not to say that the end product should be obviously ametuer and mediocre. There are hundreds of free editing resources that when used correctly, have the potential to make any iPhone video or digital animation frame look polished. There’s a reason why Bitable has stated that Youtube has been dubbed the second most popular website after Google.
Want to learn how marketing automation can support your journey in building a more comprehensive communication process? Contact one of our consulting experts to discuss your options.
Dennis is an experienced business and consulting executive having spent the last 20+ years in the technology sector, most of which was with emerging companies. Utilizing his diverse experience Dennis is often the “go to” guy when it comes to navigating change, establishing operational imperatives, or just plain getting something done. He gets no greater satisfaction than helping staff progress in their careers and mentoring new managers as they emerge as leaders.
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