Listening To Your Customers Communication Preferences

From mail to phone to email to chat, there are many different ways to communicate with customers today. Making room for individual customer communication preferences is key.

In addition to traditional means of communication like dropping a letter in the mail or hopping on the phone, technology has given customers and companies a spectrum of new ways to connect. We have websites, video calls, online chat, mobile messaging, social media, the list goes on and on.

According to Dimension Data’s 2017 Global Customer Experience Benchmarking Report:

  • On average, companies are communicating with customers using 9 different channels
  • By 2018, that number is projected to rise to 11 different channels

The multitude of communication channels creates great opportunities for companies.

There are now more ways than ever for you to communicate with your customers, and for your customers to communicate with you. These increased opportunities can help brands build both more customer connections and stronger customer connections.

But the number of communication channels can also create challenges and questions for brands. Namely:

  • Which communication channels should you prioritize?
  • How can you manage all the necessary channels to communicate with customers effectively?

The answer to which channels to prioritize depends on your specific audience. As Steve Brubaker notes in this post on The Right Call:

“Your customers may have entirely different preferences depending on their unique demographics. Millennials, for instance, will naturally gravitate towards digital channels like online chat, video and text before they opt for traditional channels like IVR or voice. Baby Boomers, however, are probably going to want to use the technologies that they have been using for many years like the telephone and email.”

Knowing your audience can help you choose the best channels to prioritize—specifically when you’re reaching out to customers or potential customers. But even amongst similar demographics, you may see a wide variety of communication preferences—specifically when they are reaching out to you.

That’s why it’s important to give customers as many options as possible for communicating with your company.

The challenge here is effectively managing the different communication channels. This is where many companies today are falling short. According to the 2017 Global Customer Experience Benchmarking Report, customers note their satisfaction with the different channels as follows:

  • 53% of customers are satisfied with their experience with online chat and video
  • 43% say they are satisfied with their experience with email
  • 42% say they are satisfied with their experience with text and social media
  • 40% say they are satisfied with their experience with voice calls
  • 29% say they are satisfied with their experience with IVR (Interactive Voice Response)

Across the board, these numbers are fairly low—with basically half or more of customers being unsatisfied with the experience. So how can companies provide customers a better experience across channels? It all starts with recognizing the value each channel has as a communication tool, and ensuring you have customer service representatives who understand how to use them.

As Steve Brubaker notes in the post referenced above:

“You can’t easily predict how your customers will want to communicate, and so it’s important to offer a wide variety of options… Embracing multichannel service is a great way to show customers that your business is up to date with the latest communications technologies, and that it’s committed to communicating with customers on their own terms.”