Chances are, your clients aren’t happy. Or, at least, not as happy as they could be.
Problems with poor customer service plague the business sector. In fact, the economy loses around £37 billion a year as a direct result of bad customer service. These losses are often due to cancelled purchases and contracts, a lack of repeat business, and negative reviews that fuel low levels of spending.
But what does bad customer service have to do with communication? As it turns out, a lot.
Over half of people who have experienced what they perceive to be bad customer service identified communication as the biggest issue. While you may be focusing on offering a great service or product, at the end of the day, if your client communication isn’t up to standard, your business will suffer.
Why is this the case?
Where Is the Value in Good Client Communication?
Research has shown that poor communication bleeds customers. Clients place a high value on their time and the time they invest in interacting with a brand. If their interactions do not meet expectations or leave them feeling unhappy, they are far less likely to use your services, work with you, or buy from you.
To rub salt into the wound, they are also more likely to tell people about their bad experience. Customer surveys indicate that a consumer will tell a friend, colleague, or contact about a bad experience more often than they will a good one.
Bad communication also has an internal effect. Complaints and issues with disgruntled customers, combined with poor communication systems, can be difficult for employees to deal with. This has a demoralizing effect on staff, resulting in a lack of motivation and potential drops in retention rates.
Considering the above, the value of good communication starts to become clear.
It has been found that businesses judged to have better client communication practices are — on average — more successful than their competitors. Investing time in making sure your company is communicating properly is all-but-certain to have long-lasting and long-reaching positive effects for your brand.
What Your Business Is (Probably) Doing Wrong
We can’t say for certain what your business is doing right or wrong. Many companies offer great customer service that truly means a lot to their clients. However, when it comes to getting things wrong, there are a few common culprits customers report experiencing time after time; problems that could be hurting your business.
One of the biggest issues they tend to face is difficulty actually making contact. Getting in touch with the right person can be a chore for customers, which is a communication nightmare for your brand. The last thing your clients want to be doing is chasing you around trying to get results. Having to do so leads to a very poor perception of your business.
When they do get through to you, clients then often report major issues with having to repeat themselves. As a result of being passed around from person to person and department to department, customers can end up having to continuously reiterate points and begin discussions all over again. This is an irritating and time-consuming activity for them, and one they don’t want to be a part of.
The worst of all business communication faux pas, though, is, undoubtedly, rude staff. Your clients despise interaction with employees they judge to be rude, unhelpful, or offensive. Any occurrence of this within your business is going to be doing some serious damage.
Expert Tips for Better Communication
Poor communication may be ruining your business prospects, but there are some very easy fixes to get you back on the right track:
- Boost Accessibility — The ability to easily contact your business has been identified as a core issue clients can face. The solution to this is simple. Make it so you are widely accessible. This includes quick fixes, like ensuring contact numbers and email addresses are readily available, and it may also mean more significant changes as well. For example, if you’ve ditched fax machines, but clients want to fax you, you should consider introducing online faxing to ensure you can provide comprehensive communication coverage. Likewise, if you make it difficult to contact your business on purpose because you are unable to handle all incoming communication, you should instead think about recruiting new hires or outsourcing to accommodate the increased volume.
- Update Your Communication Methods — Difficulty in contact can be due to a number of reasons. It isn’t just about simple accessibility. Problems can come from using outdated systems and processes. Back to our example of faxing, those still operating fax machines may be seeing communication issues due to the disadvantages of the old-fashioned technology. By updating their systems to modern alternatives, like online faxing solutions instead, communication practices can be revitalized, making it easier for clients to interact with you and contact your brand.
- Eliminate Attitude Problems — Rude staff may be one of the biggest issues, but this practice is also one of the easiest problems to deal with. Record calls and emails, gather customer feedback on individuals, and enforce policy on attitude when it comes to client communication. If these rules aren’t followed, take direct disciplinary action.
- Build a Communication Policy — Policy makes everything clear. It makes it simple for your staff to establish a communication routine and ensure standards are met. Outline how your business should be managing its communication, from deadlines on response times to language used.
- Better Internal Structures —A major frustration when it comes to business communication is departments or business representatives not passing on information about a client query, forcing them to rehash information over and over again. By aligning your internal structures better so when a customer is passed on, all their information is passed along as well, you can dramatically increase satisfaction rates.