When it comes to communicating with customers, every company has their own way of doing things. Whether it’s following the “the customer is always right” rule or following a pre-written script designed to deescalate conflict, each customer service team draws on their past experiences to communicate with customers in the most effective way. But as this is a process that evolves over time, the practices you follow now may not be the same ones you used when you started.
To shed some light on their own experiences with customer communication, eight members of Young Entrepreneur Council each share the best lesson they ever learned about communicating with customers and the impact that lesson has had on how they do business now.
1. Phone Calls Always Beat Emails
One of the best lessons I've learned regarding customer communication is that phone calls always beat emails. Especially when discussing complex or challenging topics, jump on a call with your customer to ensure all details are fully understood. Emails can be easily misinterpreted and, without real-time feedback, issues can escalate without you realizing it. Phone calls also demonstrate to the customer that you care about their business and will ultimately help cultivate stronger relationships. - Jack Perkins, CFO Hub
2. Active Listening Can Transform Your Interactions
The paramount lesson I've embraced is the power of active listening. By genuinely trying to understand customers, I've built trust, tailored solutions to precise needs and preemptively addressed conflicts. This realization has reshaped my company's customer success operations. We have integrated a customer-centric approach into decisions, invested in communication training for my team and established robust feedback mechanisms. Active listening isn't just a skill—it's the essence of my business's enduring success, converting every interaction into a valuable opportunity. - Julia Rodgers, HelloPrenup
3. Leading With Humility Builds Trust And Loyalty
Lead with humility. If you made a mistake, own it and let your customers see that you take responsibility. There have been many times where I have faced potential conflict and it was resolved by simply taking the path of least resistance, which is eliminating the excuses. Customers want to feel heard and they don't care about the reasons why you or your business messed up. You'll be surprised how much respect your customers will give you when you say things like, "This has nothing to do with my team and everything to do with me. I apologize and here's what I'm doing to make it right." Then, do what you say you're going to do. This simple approach will build trust and loyalty within your customer base. - Drew Gurley, Redbird Advisors
4. The Best Relationships Arise From Difficult Conversations
Over the years, I've learned that, while conversations with happy customers feel great, the best relationships are built from difficult conversations. Taking the time to truly listen to your customers and hear their perspectives creates opportunities to strengthen those relationships. Now, I welcome opportunities to communicate with clients and encourage my team to not just accept feedback but to ask for it. - Rachel Lipson, Blue Balloon Songwriting for Small People
5. Customers Need To Know How Much You Care
One of the most profound lessons I've gleaned from customer communication is encapsulated in the quote often attributed to President Theodore Roosevelt: "People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care." This quote underscores the significance of adopting a customer-centric approach, fostering trust, mastering effective communication and adopting a consultative mindset. By embracing the genuine and authentic essence of this communication philosophy, we can cultivate strong relationships and deep trust with our clients. This, in turn, translates into heightened customer satisfaction, greater retention rates and an enhanced brand reputation. - Kevin Getch, Webfor
6. Sometimes No Communication Is The Best Communication
You can’t make all customers happy, so sometimes no communication is the best communication. In other words, it's okay to let go of some "bad" customers. Some signs that it's okay to let a customer go include if the customer is abusive to your employees, if the customer can't be pleased no matter what you do and if the customer is a legal and social media threat. Ideally, your company will have some customer support software in place, such as a live chat or an FAQ page that can help mitigate customer anger, but sometimes the best communication is no communication. Setting high standards for communication is a win for your employees, and it also creates a culture of respect for all customers. Focus on and embrace customers who love you and whom you want to retain. - Shu Saito, All Filters
7. Your Customers Are Your Friends
Your customers are your friends. You must imbibe the philosophy that communicating with your customers is similar to communicating with your friends. Your customers should feel like they are getting to know you and that you respect and value them—because every relationship, business or otherwise, is a two-way street. Tone is crucial to communication in this manner. A consistent tone—from customer support calls to marketing messages across platforms—is essential for effective communication when engaging with your customers. It is also vital that your entire staff understands how to speak with customers, whether it is on a sales call or about a complaint. How you communicate with customers and respond to their needs is what will lead to customer satisfaction and better customer experiences. - Bryce Welker, Accounting Institute of CPAs
8. Think 'The Customer And I Understand Each Other'
I've learned a ton of lessons when it comes to how and when I communicate with customers. One memorable lesson I learned is this: Instead of "the customer is always right," you should focus on "the customer and I understand each other." If you tell someone they are correct and make a change without understanding why, you can guarantee the same issue will come up again. I recommend working with customers with questions or problems so you can better understand their concerns and they can know what you're going to try to resolve the issue. Understanding each other makes it much easier for everyone to have a positive experience. - Chris Christoff, MonsterInsights
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