There are plenty of reasons why business owners toss and turn: staffing, the quarterly financials, the office plumbing, and the fact that employees keep burning popcorn in the microwave even though the sign taped to the oven says “popcorn 2:30.” So why not add another worry to the list? If consistent communication between you, your staff, and your customers isn’t on your list of things to pore over, it should be. Here’s why:
1. Consistent Communication Builds Trust, which Builds Sales
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it here: Trust is a top factor in all human relationships, which includes the relationship between a customer and a company or brand. No trust? No sale. People only buy from brands they don’t trust when they feel they don’t have a choice. When customers receive the same message every time they communicate with your company, you build trust. And a higher level of trust equals higher sales.
2. Consistent Communication Supports Your Brand
You’ve worked hard to package your core values and vision for your company into a tangible brand. Don’t throw that hard work away by missing the boat on company communications. Consistency in customer communication has the power to support and promote your brand along the way, increasing its strength and value.
3. Consistent Communication Uncovers More Leads
Personal referrals from current customers are still a powerful source of new leads, even in today’s increasingly online sales and working world. By clearly communicating with current customers every step of the way, you set them up to be ambassadors for your company with family and friends.
How to Put Communication Issues to Bed at Your Company
If you want something done, you have to do something about it. (Isn’t that the worst motivational quote you’ve ever heard?) But it rings true. No space for a company communication strategy on your to-do list? Seek outside help. Have a marketing firm that isn’t emotionally invested in your business evaluate your communication strategy to see if it’s building your brand or causing problems.
Have a marketing firm that isn’t emotionally invested in your business evaluate your communication strategy to see if it’s building your brand or causing problems.
There are several areas you should address when you want to implement consistent communication across your company:
Do you deliver on your promises? If you promote your business as the lowest-priced option in your region but customers consistently find lower prices elsewhere, your communication plan is going to unravel. This is why a comprehensive approach to branding is essential. When we onboard a new client, we spend time digging into the company’s strengths and weaknesses relative to its competitors. This is critical when you want to identify a marketing message that will resonate with your audience.
Remember Your Listening Skills
With communication, you win half the battle by listening. When you (or your employees or business partners) find yourself in a customer service or sales role, it’s important to remember the basics of being a good listener:
- Pay attention. Don’t multitask when you’re with a customer. If you do, you might miss important details of the conversation.
- Ask probing or clarifying questions. Doing this avoids misunderstandings. “How long have you had this problem? What are your goals? Did I understand you correctly? Why did you decide to call us? Can you give me an example?
- Paraphrase to confirm. Once you think you’ve identified the solution your potential customer is looking for, sum up his or her concerns and confirm that you have an accurate picture of the situation. Don’t just assume you know what’s going on.
- Remember body language and tone of voice. This isn’t easy but is worth the effort. Be sure to stay “in character” when you’re representing your brand. For example, if you mention on your website that “we bring energy and enthusiasm to every client meeting” your prospect has to see that side of your personality when he or she meets you in person. If you stare at the floor while the person is speaking and check your watch every five minutes, you will erode trust in your brand.
Don’t be tempted to bore people with industry- or company-specific buzzwords or terminology. Specifics are best left to the discussions that take place with a well-qualified customer who is ready to buy. Instead, describe what success will look like when a potential customer becomes a paying customer. “We’ll put together a landscape plan for your yard that you’ll be proud to show off to your neighbors” makes a much bigger impact than “We’re American Yard Association platinum-level certified.” Ideas and vision sell. Technobabble doesn’t.
Have a Plan and Communicate It
Before you finish a client meeting or other customer contact, be sure that the customer understands the next step in the process. What are you going to do next? What should the customer do next? And what’s the time frame involved?
Support Your Team
Empower all your employees to be effective brand ambassadors. They are your most important influencers. Educate employees on your core values, your mission, and your vision for the future of your company. What is the goal of every customer contact? What key points should employees communicate? Present your desired strategy in a clear and structured manner. Whatever you do, don’t leave it up to every employee or business partner to “go it alone” and make up whatever story he or she feels is most likely to succeed. This isn’t about call scripts and flow charts; you want employees to know the “big ideas” customers should take away from every contact.
Consistent Communication Pays Off
At Lead Marketing and Design, we assist companies with reviewing and implementing comprehensive communication strategies. What to say, when to say it. During—or prior to—a branding workshop with a new client, we review the client’s current strategy (or lack thereof) as part of our onboarding process. In our experience, it pays to put serious time and effort into developing a strategy to ensure consistent communications between your brand and your customers. Your future depends on it.