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Effective client communication separates great businesses from good businesses. In the recent past telephone communication or in-person meetings were the two most popular ways that organizations spoke to their customers. However, today’s technology has transformed the communication landscape. With so many options available, businesses need to carefully select the right mode of communication for different circumstances. Below are some of the most popular communication methods as well as some tips for using each platform.

Email

Email is one of the most popular forms of communication that businesses can utilize. One of the reasons why it is so popular is due to how quickly it reaches customers. Plus, it gives customers control. With email, they have the option to read the message in their spare time rather than be interrupted at an inconvenient time. Another positive aspect of email is that it keeps a record of every communication. Having a digital paper trail is important to many businesses due to legal issues.

Phone

Phone communication is great when you need to cover a lot of details or when you need to establish a personal relationship with a client. While some clients prefer to communication over email, it might be a good idea to pick up the phone when you find yourself typing out novels with each reply. The phone is an especially good option when you have to speak with unhappy clients. Written communication can be easily misunderstood. On the phone, though, you can easily and clearly convey what you want to via your tone of voice.

Skype

Skype and other video communication services like Google Hangouts are great for presentations when clients can’t enter the office. Since most online video services are free, they are particularly useful for group discussions and communication with international clients. If you can’t meet with a client in person but you want to establish a personal connection, think about using Skype during your next meeting.

Chatbots

More businesses are using chatbots to communicate with their clients. Chatbots make it easy for clients to quickly get the information they want. In some ways, chatbots act like gatekeepers. They can handle simple requests and direct customers to real people if they require more detailed answers. They also help businesses save money by automating menial tasks. Plus, chatbots give customers the ability to contact your business via multiple platforms—on your website, via text, and even via Facebook. (To learn more about chatbots take a look at two previous blogs I wrote.)