5 Simple Business Communication Tips That Keep Customers Smiling

by Cathy Miller on January 4, 2012

in Business Communication

bigstock_Smiley_Face_Blue_Isolated_On__2938466We like happy, smiling customers.

  • Keeping your customer smiling is easier than you think
  • Try simple gestures to keep them happy

Here are five ideas.

Tip #1 – Think Customer First

Sounds simple, right?

  • Sometimes we really hit it off with a customer
  • The relationship evolves into a friendship

When communicating – think customer first.

  • Remember their business needs
  • Steer clear of gossiping about other customers
  • Keep the dirty laundry in-house

It’s great when a business relationship turns into a friendship. You already share common interests.

However, a customer – even one who has become a friend – feels uncomfortable with whining about your bad customers or your business problems. They may think twice about the business aspect of your relationship.

You can combine professionalism and friendship.

Tip #2 – Say Thank You Often

We assume, especially with long-time customers, that they know we are grateful for their business.

A simple thank you is like a warm greeting – customers feel appreciated.

Here are a few examples where a simple thank you goes a long way.

  • When you receive a request for a proposal
  • At the beginning AND the end of a new project
  • After your customer provides a referral or recommendation
  • When customers are timely in their responses

Bonus Tip – The “just because” thank-you gift really makes
customers smile.

Tip #3 – Same-day Acknowledgement

In today’s 24/7 connected world, it seems strange that we would ignore a customer’s call or email.

Yes, the sheer volume of communication is overwhelming.

  • Remember tip #1
  • Acknowledge every customer communication

Maybe the same day is an aggressive goal, but within 24 hours should be the norm.

It’s really not that difficult. If you are unable to give them a final answer, that’s okay.

Acknowledge the communication and give a time for follow-up.

Example: Thank you for your email. I am out of the office today, but will be happy to check on this when I return to the office tomorrow. Will that work for you? 

Nine times our of ten, your customer is happy to wait until you return to the office.

Another alternative is delegating it and sending an email to your customer and the person you are delegating it to. Include a note advising your customer to please contact you if there are any problems.

 Acknowledgement of customers’ communication recognizes their value.

Tip #4 – Share Information Regularly

How do you feel when the only time you hear from vendors is when they are pitching their latest product?

It probably annoys you.

A simple way to stay in touch with customers is through the sharing of information.

  • It keeps your business in front of customers
  • It shows your support for their success

You can send –

  • Industry reports or articles
  • Information about new software (other than yours)
  • An invitation to a seminar or presentation they may enjoy

Use calendar or task software notifications to remind you to stay in touch.

Tip #5 – Provide Updates

We know business doesn’t always go as planned.

  • Projects hit a roadblock
  • Shipping gets delayed
  • Unexpected problems come up

It happens to all of us – including your customer.

Regular updates diffuses potential stress points.

Your customers may not like the problems or delays, but if you keep them updated, it does wonders for everyone’s blood pressure.

Tipped in Your Favor

Simple communication efforts keep customers happy and smiling. And that brings a smile or two to you, too.

What communication tips do you have?

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Alice January 8, 2012 at 11:16 pm

Thanks for these tips Cathy. I should pay more attention to Tip #3 – Same-day Acknowledgement. I sometimes make my customers wait way too long before they receive any acknowledgement from me. I am just too busy >_<.

Reply

Cathy January 9, 2012 at 7:41 am

Hi, Alice. Thank you for weighing in. Personally, I am a stickler for #3. Acknowledging a correspondence takes seconds, but goes miles in terms of customer service.

Reply

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