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Customer Communication Tips

Stop yelling into the phone and communicate better with your customers!

February 19, 2021
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Photo Credit: Icons8 Team | Unsplash

If you’re in business, you have customers. If not, you’re out of business (sorry about that). Customer interactions can be contentious, but proper communication smooths things out. Communication is important throughout the entire service process. It’s not enough to seal the deal and send them an invoice. But, no one wants so many updates that they feel hassled and overwhelmed.


If your service cycle is measured in hours, communications will be tightly spaced. If your timeline is measured in months, consistent updates are even more important. Improve customer satisfaction with intentional updates in the beginning, middle, and end of the service cycle.

Let’s Get This Party Started

Your conversion funnel isn’t over when your prospect turns into a customer. Even though the customer might be handed off to another department, they are now even more valuable to your business. The most important thing here is to get started on the right foot.

  • Talk your new customer through the service process
  • Mention how things will start and briefly discuss how things will proceed
  • Ensure they feel confident in their decision to work with you
  • Double check all incoming and outgoing contact information

There’s no need to belabor any of this communication. Take your lead from the customer. If they’re happy with taking a business card and leaving the rest in your hands, that’s fine. If they have 100 questions, take some time to ease their conscience. Just because you do this every day doesn’t mean they do.

In-Process

Updates tend to fall off once your team starts working. After all, no one wants to call the customer to say “Yeah, we’re working on it. It’ll be done when it’s done.” Fortunately, these in-process updates are a way for your business to differentiate itself. As a general rule, you want to initiate communication. If the customer has to call you, they’re already upset.


Most people just want to be kept in the loop. They might not want all the details, but they need to know what’s going on. Communication intervals depend on your service cycle timeline. Daily updates might make sense for the automotive industry. Weekly emails could be a better fit for real estate services.


At the very least, update the customer at each stage of the process. Here are some examples:

  • The inspector approved our building permit, so we’ll break ground tomorrow
  • Most of the parts are here, but we’re waiting on two more from Bentley
  • The couple who looked at your house this morning put in an offer, call me ASAP

Sh*t Happens

It’s easy to keep people in the loop when it’s all good news. No one wants to call the customer when something goes wrong. Smooth work processes help avoid problems, but unfortunately, nothing is perfect.


This is another watershed moment for you and your team. Do you hide the problem and hope no one notices? Or do you make a difficult phone call and try to salvage your reputation? Either strategy can work, and there’s no one-size-fits-all rule. But there’s no choice with big problems, you’re gonna have to deliver some bad news.

  1. Figure out exactly what happened and why
  2. Make a plan for how you’ll fix it
  3. Call the customer and discuss the situation

Phone calls are best for bad news. Emails and text updates are easier, but they lack the personal connection. Communicating a specific problem and solution is crucial. Don’t call with problems, call with solutions. Convince the customer that you’ll handle it and that they don’t need to worry.


If done correctly, this can reinforce your relationship rather than damage it. No customer wants things to fall apart, but if they do, the customer wants to know about it. Most will appreciate the update and thank you for telling them.

It’s All Over

You and your team did it! You held up your end and performed the work you set out to do. This is the easiest update of them all. You could take their money and say “Let me know if anything comes up.” A better option is to maximize this opportunity.

  • Ensure they’re satisfied with the final result
  • Offer extra services to increase sales
  • Ask for ratings and recommendations

This is your last chance to solidify your business relationship, don’t waste it!

Recap

Historically, service providers have done a bad job with communication. This series of interactions can greatly impact your business and customer satisfaction. Too little, and customers feel lost and confused. Too much, and they’re annoyed. With the right balance, your business can develop beneficial relationships with your customers.


Take 15 minutes and create a basic customer update plan:

  1. How will you start your service process?
  2. When will you update the customer while work is in-process?
  3. What’s the best way to end your service process?

Like it or not, customer interactions can make or break your business. Stand out as the best organization in your industry with consistent, relevant communications.