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Call, text or email – what’s the best way to communicate with customers?

When it comes to flexible working, you may be wondering about the best way to communicate with your customers, particularly if your team is dispersed. If you’re working in lots of different places, be it the home office, the head office or in between, you may not have just one telephone line, messaging channel or email system to deal with. Plus, you may end up communicating with different customers via their preferred way of working.  

Getting your message across to the right people at the right time is key to running a successful business. So what is the best way to communicate with customers and clients? As we enter a new age of ‘flexi working’ it’s clear that creating a means of communication across a range of different channels is vital to the success of any business. Before answering the question of what’s ‘best’ way to communicate, there are a few factors to consider.

A good communications strategy puts customers first

If you are rethinking your communications strategy, it’s a good idea to look at the channels of communication that you are currently offering your customers and clients. Consider the benefits that each can offer: 

The trusty telephone is a quick and easy real-time communication that is still very effective. It’s important to have an active telephone line to ensure that if a client or customer calls, you’re there for them. It can, after all, be much easier and quicker to resolve a query over the phone. It’s also a good way of gauging how your customer is feeling. Are they happy or feeling frustrated? In terms of customer experience, this sort of insight is very valuable. However, you may not always be able to answer every call, so you will need to make sure you have a system in place to handle the calls that you may miss.  

Email is an extremely important channel when it comes to written business communications. If you use a business email address for your correspondence, it will also give your company and brand a professional image. As well as a means of quick and reliable communication, it’s also an ideal way of sharing information and getting written confirmation should it be required. Email systems are generally easy to use and can often double up as a good way to handle workflow, as you can keep track of each and every communication that comes in or goes out.   

Text messaging is quick and easy to do on the go. It became particularly popular during the Covid pandemic, as a quick and reliable means of contact, perhaps when other systems such as business email accounts or head office telephone lines were unavailable or overloaded. Text is also the preferred contact method of millennials who make up 25% of the UK population. Texting can, however, be hard to get right. It can easily come across as too impersonal or over familiar – plus you are susceptible to annoying autocorrect mishaps.

Other means of communication include the many social media channels, each with their own messaging systems, mobile apps, video platforms … the list is ever growing in this digital world. Not all, however, will be suitable for a business working environment so it’s important to carefully choose what you wish to focus on.     

Whichever channel you use, be quick to respond

Whatever method of contact that you decide to prioritise for your business, it’s vital that you respond quickly when your clients and customers get in touch. This is particularly important if you are using this means of communication for new business – responding to new leads in a timely manner is critical. Many buyers will choose the vendor that responds first. 

It’s also very important to take into consideration your audience and how they prefer to communicate. For millennials, that might mean texting them, but email remains a critical tool across all age groups when dealing with customers and keeping them informed. And let’s not forget all the other means of communication. Does your team have the capacity to handle more than one or two channels?    

Flexi working calls for flexi comms

In terms of creating a communications strategy in a world where flexi-working is becoming more popular, it’s clear that there is not a ‘one size fits all’ solution but rather a more adaptable and targeted approach is required. It may also mean providing a range of options across many different platforms to create what is now commonly known as an ‘omni-channel experience’ whereby customers can contact you through a number of different methods, depending on what they prefer.  

The challenge is making sure that your business has the necessary infrastructure to set up and support a system that can cover a broader range of communications than you may have previously had. No longer can a business rely on a telephone line or an email system as a stand-alone customer service solution. Fortunately, with such a broad offering of telecoms and tech, it’s never been easier to set up an omni-channel experience that can guarantee to keep your customers happy.     

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