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Article 9 min read

Customer communication: 8 tips to build an effective strategy

A strong customer communication strategy helps your team deliver consistent brand messaging and build meaningful connections with buyers.

Door David Galic, Contributing Writer

Laatst gewijzigd March 27, 2024

Companies are investing more in customer service now than ever, and customers are recognizing the results. According to the Zendesk Customer Experience (CX) Trends Report 2023, 57 percent of consumers have noticed an improvement in their support experiences. This result reflects the advances in customer communication businesses are currently employing.

The best customer communication strategies give your team the tools and knowledge they need to engage with buyers according to their preferred communication methods and channels. Read on to learn more about customer communication, including:

What is customer communication?

Customer communication is how companies interact with consumers at each touchpoint along the customer journey—from the ads that catch their attention to the post-purchase customer experience.

What is customer communication management (CCM)?

Customer communication management (CCM) encompasses the strategy, channels, and tools businesses employ to engage with their audience effectively. It encompasses how companies create, deliver, and maintain customer communications.

Proper customer communication management enables teams across the organization to share knowledge seamlessly. The insights gained from marketing and sales communications should inform support interactions and vice versa.

CCM solutions empower companies to understand how customers perceive communication strategies, enabling brands to make necessary adjustments and coordinate more efficient customer interactions. Every aspect of customer engagement, whether it’s a response to marketing messages, interaction with social media posts, or contact with support agents, holds significance. Each interaction provides valuable insights that can shape future communication efforts that align with the customer’s preferences and needs.

Why is a customer communication strategy important?

Importance of customer communication

Customer communication plays a big role in delivering a positive customer experience. When you have positive interactions with your customers, your business can receive the following benefits:

  • Greater customer retention and satisfaction: Customers stick around when a business serves their needs. The CX Trends Report revealed that 77 percent of business leaders acknowledge that deeper personalization leads to increased customer retention.
  • Better understanding of customers: Talking to customers helps you get to know them better than any transaction history could. 60 percent of customers recognize when they receive personalized recommendations and find them more valuable than generic ones.
  • Improved brand reputation: According to a Nielsen study, 88 percent of consumers trust recommendations from people they know more than anything else. Make your customers happy and word will spread.

A buyer’s decision to enter into or continue a relationship with your company depends greatly on how you communicate and, more importantly, how they perceive and interpret your messaging.

Channels of communication in customer service

Consumers want omnichannel service options and experiences, now more than ever. Omnichannel experiences give customers connected interactions that remain consistent across multiple channels (email, live chat, phone, messaging apps, etc.).

Channels of communication in customer service

Our CX Trends Report found that 70 percent of consumers purchase more from companies when they receive a seamless conversational experience. Before you can deliver that, you need to have a firm grasp of the different channels people are using.

Messaging best practices for better customer service

Get your free guide on eight ways to transform your support strategy with messaging, from WhatsApp to live chat and everything in between.

8 best practices to improve communication with customers

Consumers no longer just buy products, they buy experiences, which is why 81 percent of business leaders polled for our CX Trends Report consider customer experience and support to be growing priorities over the next year.

Customer communication best practices

Customer experience includes anything that can affect a buyer’s perception or feelings toward a business. Customer communication plays a significant role in your customer experience strategy, so you want to do it right. Here are some best practices to remember when building your customer communication strategy.

1. Invest in omnichannel communication

Communicating with customers via multiple channels, and allowing them to contact you on the channels they prefer, will improve the customer experience. According to Omnisend, marketers who used three or more channels in a campaign earned a 494 percent higher order rate than those who campaigned in a single channel.

While this is impressive data, only 42 percent of businesses provide support across two or more channels, according to our CX Trends Report. That means most businesses are leaving money on the table by not taking advantage of the technology that’s available.

2. Meet customers where they are

Requiring customers to jump from one channel to another to communicate with your team quickly leads to dissatisfaction. If a customer has an issue making a purchase but needs to open a support ticket and wait for a response before proceeding, they might not tolerate the hassle.

However, if you provide live chat support on the page where they’re struggling, they’ll be more likely to follow through. The CX Trends Report reveals that 64 percent of customers spend more when issues get resolved on the channels they’re using. So, you won’t just be saving the current sale—you might be encouraging further purchases.

3. Collect feedback regularly

Evaluate the success of your customer communication strategy and make improvements where needed by collecting, analyzing, and acting on customer feedback.

Feedback helps identify pain points and faults in your business’s product or service and how you’re communicating. Some of the best ways to get feedback from customers include:

  • Sending surveys

  • Requesting reviews

  • Monitoring social media

Customers feel appreciated when you ask for their opinions and create an open dialogue that can establish customer trust and long-lasting relationships.

4. Personalize customer communications

Our CX Trends Report states that 59 percent of consumers feel companies should use the customer data they collect to deliver personalized experiences. Personalizing communications with your audience—whether by using customer names or sending a customized email—goes a long way toward building familiarity.

More sophisticated personalization requires customer segmentation. This enables you to craft tailored communication based on your identified demographics and other customer characteristics. Segmentation begins with mapping the buyer’s journey and analyzing behavior to create personas according to their communication preferences.

“Listening goes a long way, and repeating what you heard to clarify that you are on the same page is key. Acknowledge what the customer is saying and listen for key phrases they repeat.” Peter Neels, senior director of customer experience at Zendesk

5. Refine internal communications

Positive customer communication begins with effective internal communication. Employees from different departments should be able to work together and rely on each other for support. Strong internal communication ensures your business implements your customer communication strategy consistently across all teams and touchpoints, providing customers with a seamless experience.

Install systems and tools that make internal communication easy. You can use a popular communication software, like Slack, for internal chatting and video conferencing. Automated ticketing systems are another good option for improving collaboration and transparency when responding to customer inquiries.

6. Promote proactive communication

Be proactive when communicating with customers—don’t wait for them to initiate the interaction. Whether you’re reaching out to buyers to ask for their feedback or alerting them about a shipping delay, proactive communication signals that your business is customer obsessed. It can mean the difference between customers coming back or leaving for good. In our Trends Report, 73 percent of consumers say they would switch to a company’s competitor after multiple bad experiences.

Our report also shows that people are warming up to interacting with artificial intelligence (AI) and chatbots, but maintaining balance is still important. While you can use chatbots and artificial intelligence to handle easy questions and reduce wait times, make sure your human agents can offer live support for complex issues.

7. Provide self-service options

Sometimes, the best communication is no communication. Create self-service options that address the takeaways you’ve gathered from your customer communication. According to our CX Trends Report, 37 percent of consumers become noticeably upset when they cannot complete simple tasks independently.

You can improve communication and limit confusion by offering self-service education and tools like:

Use customer interactions to learn about common pain points and questions, then create content that addresses and resolves them.

8. Measure the right metrics

Determine which customer experience metrics are most important to you and measure them regularly.

Some key customer communication metrics include:

  • First response time (FRT): How long it takes your support team to provide an initial response to a customer inquiry.
  • Average resolution time (ART): The average time it takes your team to resolve a customer issue.
  • Customer satisfaction (CSAT): How well your team meets customer expectations.

Follow your most vital customer experience key performance indicators (KPIs) to assess your team’s performance and improve your customer communication strategy.

Examples of successful customer service communication

Discussing customer communication, in theory, can only get you so far. Take a look at these successful customer service communication examples for inspiration for using these strategies in your organization.

Syfe

Singapore-based fintech company Syfe helps individual investors take control of their wealth by providing access to innovative tools for managing their financial portfolios. Its customers are located worldwide, so effectively managing customer experiences was a top goal.

Syfe ensures it delivers effective customer support by bringing different communication channels into a unified platform. Rather than sending an automated message after hours, agents are available day and night to answer questions and resolve issues. The company’s customer base quickly grew to over 100,000 people in Singapore alone, and has expanded to throughout the Asia-Pacific region.

“We are very proud of the positive feedback and reviews our customers give. But to me, the real proof of our success is that we have managed to attract and retain a significant percentage of Singapore’s population.” Jack Prickett, head of operations at Syfe

Utila Dive Center

Utila Dive Center is a full-service dive operation in Honduras that provides high-quality experiences to divers of all levels. The business uses omnichannel communication to interact with customers on social media and messaging apps. Customers might schedule a dive with the company via email and then request a change on Facebook.

Managing communications across these channels required a unified customer view, so Utila teamed up with Zendesk to consolidate its ticketing. Customers are so pleased with the service they receive that 80 to 90 percent of Utila’s divemaster and instructor candidates are referred to the business by word of mouth.

“We’re operating on a global scale, but we like to give the impression that we’re a small operation because people want a personalized experience. We’ve always tried to avoid becoming too automated because we want it to feel like they’re talking to a real person, especially on the sales side.” Manny Lagos, executive manager at Utila Dive Center

Banc Sabadell

Banc Sabadell is one of the core banks in Spain and has a presence in 14 other countries. To reduce the volume of calls its phone team had to handle, the bank decided to launch a chat channel on its website and app.

Customers interact with a virtual assistant that can direct them to self-service features like an FAQ page, with the option to escalate to a human agent if needed. The initiative’s success has led Banc Sabadell to pursue other advancements with the chat assistant, giving it greater access to the channels customers use to provide it with a 360-degree view.

“The chat channel, with the AI-based virtual assistant, has helped us implement our strategy to direct the customer to the most efficient service channels, which allow self-service to resolve queries.” Jose Juan Martinez Auñón, director of customer service platforms and conversational banking at Banc Sabadell

Tools for managing customer communications

Communication in customer service is much more effective when you use the right tools. Here are some of the most popular tools successful businesses use:

  • Customer service software: These programs provide a range of tools in a centralized platform that help agents track, manage, and resolve customer requests. It can provide a ticketing system, help center, and reporting analytics, among other features.
  • Sales CRM software: Customer relationship management (CRM) software has a customer information database, tracks interactions, and assists with automating communication.
  • 360-degree customer profiles: A 360-degree view refers to a full view of your customers’ history and activity. Businesses create 360-degree profiles by integrating systems like CRM and customer service software so departments can access all relevant data.
  • AI: AI helps automate many labor-intensive tasks and improves organizational efficiency. AI can triage customer requests, create reports, and identify trends in customer and employee activity.
  • Social media monitoring: -/’–Monitoring social media allows your business to tune into customer activity that isn’t occurring with your company. Social media monitoring tools let you track mentions of your brand so that you’re aware of customer sentiment and can proactively engage with them.
  • Knowledge-sharing platforms: Breaking down knowledge silos is important in improving consumer communication. Knowledge-sharing platforms let employees exchange information to eliminate blind spots in your operations.

Knowing how to communicate with customers isn’t just a matter of adding more of these tools to your organization. You must coordinate how your team uses them by creating an effective customer communication strategy.

Learn how to communicate with your customers (effectively)

Equip your team with an all-in-one customer service platform that connects marketing, sales, and support. Robust customer experience software makes it quick and easy to deliver high-quality experiences.

Ensure consistent brand messaging across all touchpoints, gain insights to personalize interactions, and identify customer expectations at every stage of their journey to maximize your customer communication efforts.

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