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Not so long ago, if you wanted to directly communicate with your customers, there were only three ways to go about it: by phone, by mail, or face-to-face. But the explosion of new technologies has dramatically expanded business communications. Now, you can reach your customers—and your customers can reach you—on a variety of platforms. While some may seem basic, each serves an important purpose in a company’s overall communication strategy. Here are eight of the most effective ways to communicate with customers.
These days, e-mail seems practically old-fashioned, but it remains one of the best ways to connect with your customers because it’s convenient, cheap, and swift. If you have a new product or offer, you can use e-mail to send out newsletters and/or personalized messages. In addition, your customers can use e-mail to get in touch with you about everything from complaints to new orders. It’s an essential component of any business communications platform.
A website is a business necessity. Customers rely on websites for information and, in many cases, expect websites to allow them to order products and check on order delivery schedules. If you don’t have a website, you are missing one of the key ways to communicate with customers.
Modern phone technology allows you to use automated menus to provide answers to customer questions and/or ensure customers reach the right person in your organization. While some customers complain about such technology, it can help you connect with the most customers in the least amount of time. New callback technology can even help you save your customers from sitting on hold. Instead of making them listen to elevator music, you can call them back when a representative is free. This helps eliminate hang-ups and improves your ability to speak to every customer who contacts you.
No matter the size of your business, text messaging can be a great way to connect with customers. If you’re a smaller business, text messaging is a convenient way to quickly communicate with clients about meetings, orders, delivery schedules, etc. If you’re a larger business, you can allow customers to opt-in for text messaging about offers and deals. You can also have a dedicated texting support number that allows customers to text, rather than call, with issues.
Not every customer wants to pick up the phone to ask a question. That’s why it can be effective to include a chat option on your website. With web chat, all a customer has to do is type in a question to start a conversation. Web chat applications can allow you to automate answers to common questions and bring in a representative for more complex ones. It makes it easier for customers to reach you and for you to help them.
Social media has created a whole new way to interact with customers. On one level, you can use your accounts to promote your products and brand. But you can also use your accounts to engage in one-on-one communications. On Facebook, customers can interact directly with your representatives. On Twitter, you can use dedicated service hashtags so that customers can tweet their issue and you can respond directly. If you want to take it further, you can also monitor every mention your business receives, note the ones with complaints or questions, and then respond with an offer to help. Social media allows you to be more responsive than ever before.
Consider it the modern way to conduct a face-to-face meeting. Video messaging platforms such as Skype allow you to connect with a customer via video, which can help you build relationships and make certain transactions easier.
Technology has changed our lives and business communications. But a personal touch can still go a long way. One of the most effective ways to reach out to your customers personally is to occasionally send a handwritten note in the mail. Even if it’s just a simple thank-you card, it can help you build stronger business relationships.
It takes a good deal of time and effort to develop the most effective business communications. If you want to become better at it—or make communications your career—you should consider earning a business degree focused on communication, such as a BS in Business Communication. Through a communications degree program, you can gain the practical skills and communication skills you need to advance within your current organization or to position yourself for a career in a variety of fields, including marketing, public relations, human resources, advertising, or organizational training and development.
Best of all, thanks to the convenience of online education, you can earn your bachelor’s degree in communications on a schedule that works with your busy lifestyle. If you want a better understanding of business communications, there’s no better option than earning an online communications degree.
Walden University is an accredited institution offering an online BS in Business Communication degree program. Expand your career options and earn your degree in a convenient, flexible format that fits your busy life.