Customer communication is the key to growing any business. For B2B companies, it is vital that communications are the focus of employee training, as developing relationships with long term clients can secure the future of your business.
Nurturing your customer relationships is at the core of success for B2B companies. Some sales journeys can take years, so ensuring that you develop and maintain a relationship with your customers is not only good for your business success but also your ROI.
However, with so many channels now open to new and existing clients to communicate on, how do you know which to choose? Email, webinars, social media messages, and even the old fashioned phone call are all viable options for communicating in business.
While some customers like an email, others want quick answers so prefer a phone call. It is difficult to know what channels to choose. One of the most important things about communication is that it is a two-way experience. If a customer sends a message, they want a reply – and with so many channels, it can be easy to miss a message, which can deteriorate client relationships.
So how do you manage customer communications so that you nurture relationships and secure business long term? Let’s take a look at some tips to help you better understand how to communicate effectively when there are so many options.
The internet has been around for long enough now that there is no one working in a corporate environment that doesn’t have an idea of what they are doing. When potential customers are researching a purchase decision, they often want to be able to jump on your website, go to the drops downs and quickly find the information they are looking for, be that in the form of content pages, FAQs, videos or blogs.
Your first line of communication with customers should be allowing them to research and discover as much as possible about your offers and company on your website.
Many B2B companies fail to do this and prefer that potentially leads to email or action a CTA rather than just offering transparency. This will be to the detriment of those B2B companies as customers are expecting more often that B2B companies present in the same way as B2C companies.
Sending an email blast to your segmented audience is a great way to reduce your costs, engage customers and communicate important information. And according to Forrester Research, companies that use email to nurture leads make 50% more sales-ready leads at 33% lower cost.
Ensure that you really use your email well. Don’t send emails every other day, use it as a tool for direct contact when negotiating contracts and sending invoices, and only as an advertising tool about once a month. Remember, as a B2B company, you want your clients to know that you respect their time and you don’t need to bombard them with spam daily.
Videos can be to demonstrate products and services, expand on content published in a blog, and showcase your expertise.
Webinars bring life to your Q&A sessions with expert interviews and replies. They can help you connect quickly with participants and are great for retaining attention as it is a visual medium. Webinars retain 40% of viewers’ attention, so it’s a wise choice for communication with new leads and existing customers.
The Demand Wave report said that webinars are one of the top content types that drive revenue for B2B brands.
Live chat on your website can allow visitors to connect with representatives on demand and get answers to their queries instantly. Live chat is a great way to make the most of your customer service resources too, as agents can respond to more than one enquiry at a time, you can collect more accurate data and insights on how people use your products and what common queries they have, and you can track your interactions with greater efficiency.
You must give potential and existing customers a way to connect with you. A survey showed that 55% of respondents said that missing contact information/phone number reduces a vendor’s credibility, while 52% of respondents said that detailed contact or ‘About’ information establishes a vendor’s credibility.
For your B2B company to be considered a viable option, you must include the basic information about where your offices are located and what your email and phone number is, otherwise leads will go cold.
Increasingly, people are using social media as a primary means of communication in B2B transactions. While it is a quick and easy option, remember, it is not secure and any private or sensitive information should not be shared over social media channels.
They are, however, highly visible, fast and engaging. Audiences are always flicking to check their messages anyway, so being available on social media channels for chats, posting information and driving traffic to your website is a simple way to communicate with your target audience, provided it fits with your customer persona.
Opening all the lines of communication available is not a viable option. Unless you have massive resources to respond to each message on each channel type, it would become messy and you’ll likely neglect customers on different channels accidentally.
Rather, present your audience with three ways to make contact with you, for example, a CTA on your website, chatbox on your website and messaging on your social media site – of which you should restrict yourself to reply on only one platform, turn communications off on other channels. This way you can manage your communications and be certain that you respond without losing threads of conversation.