Over the last nine months – during which we’ve seen a number of well-known household brands experience declining sales – businesses have been doing all they can to keep their customers engaged and informed, with data showing that 38% of companies are sending more messages to customers now compared to before the pandemic.
Online marketing has become even more aggressive as companies try to ‘cut through the noise’ and retain an edge over competitors, with brands looking to widen their range of communication channels through platforms such as SMS messaging and Whatsapp.
To help businesses retain a competitive advantage, Amy Robinson, Senior Brand Development Manager at Esendex has listed a number of practical tips for companies to implement as part of their 2021 strategy planning to improve customer communication.
Personalisation is a must for business messaging
The majority of organisations are currently using business messaging for marketing and promotional activities, appointment management and keeping customers in the loop with their deliveries. However, it’s important that brands don’t employ a catchall approach.
Companies can increase their efforts by ensuring customers have a personalised experience, which will help them to feel valued. This is especially important now when face-to-face interactions are reduced and may stay this way for some time. Basic personalisation might include a person’s name, along with personalised offers based on their previous purchase history. Personalised marketing videos are also set to play a significant role in advertising for 2021 and is certainly an area worth exploring.
A quick response is key
Firms should ensure they are responding to customer requests and complaints in a timely manner. Businesses will often have their customer service responses set at up to five days, however, this can come at the frustration of customers who often expect a response within a few hours. Long response times will simply increase the number of calls and emails from customers seeking answers, therefore businesses should endeavour to reply as quickly as possible.
Gather feedback from your customers
In order to understand how customers are engaging with their company and what they need from their product or service, businesses should solicit feedback in the form of regular surveys.
Companies can gather information on everything from how their customers found their latest purchasing experience, to how many messages they’d like to receive.
This feedback can be used to improve the service or product offering, as well as the communication style the brand has adopted. Since gaining new customers is more expensive than retaining existing ones, this feedback from customers is incredibly valuable for keeping an existing client base engaged.
Track your communication and learn from it
With 38% of businesses sending more messages to customers than before the pandemic, companies must focus on making their communications stand out from the crowd.
When utilising SMS to communicate with customers, the results can easily be tracked through delivery reports which provide an excellent opportunity for companies to see which campaigns have had their highest open rate or have been the most successful. This data can then feed into future strategies, demonstrating what works best for both the brand and customer.
Be mindful of your customers’ space
Poor customer communication can occur when a company overwhelms its customers with information and marketing material. When planning customer communications, businesses should keep in mind the frequency at which they are sending messages to avoid bombarding customers or dropping off with communication altogether.
Balance is the key to success here, where businesses should aim to create automated communication journeys for each of their customers. To achieve this, “rest” periods can be built into the journey based on how the end user has interacted with the previous message sent.
When planning ahead to 2021, businesses need to remember that consistency is key. It takes time for good customer relations to be built, but no time at all to be destroyed. By creating a consistent plan of action that gets customers engaged, and continually returning for repeat purchases, companies will be putting themselves in the best position to stay one step ahead of their competitors.
Amy Robinson is a senior brand development manager at telecommunications provider Esendex, which supports businesses with mobile messaging solutions. Amy takes great pride in assessing the industry’s latest developments and adapting them into new and innovative proposals to ensure that Esendex provides a unique and highly effective service to its customers.