When it comes to customer service, the bar is higher than ever. Advances in technology and the rising popularity of review sites and social media have empowered today’s consumers to choose—and move on quickly when dissatisfied.

Consumers with so many choices have little patience for companies that fail to orchestrate an efficient customer communication strategy. According to Acquia, 72% of customers state, “I am loyal to certain brands, but as soon as I have a bad experience with them, I move on,” and 63% said, “I often abandon a brand for another when the online experience is poor.”

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To keep these customers, companies must provide the best possible customer experience. That means developing a single strategy and investing in the tools necessary to keep teams communicating consistently. 

What is a customer communication strategy?

A customer communication strategy is a cohesive, big-picture business plan for connecting with prospective and existing customers, supported by specific tactics to achieve branding, marketing, and customer service goals. 

Here’s how having a singular strategy for customer communications is beneficial:

  • Retain new customers
  • Improve brand perception
  • Solidify brand consistency
  • Deepen engagement and loyalty

Taking a strategic approach to customer communications is also advantageous for employees, as it clarifies how they should communicate with customers in any situation and through any channel. Since 66% of consumers use more than one channel, the report cites multiple channels for a single inquiry; it’s crucial to understand how to develop the appropriate message for the medium and keep the message consistent across all mediums and all employees.

Core components of a customer communication strategy:

  • WHO: Audience
  • WHY: Goals & Objectives
  • WHAT: Key Messages
  • WHERE & WHEN: Channel & Timing
  • HOW: Metrics for Evaluation

5 steps to building a customer communication strategy

1 Determine your ideal customer 

  • What types of people are most likely to be interested in your products or services? 
  • Which audiences need to communicate with your company?  

Marketing departments often begin by developing “buyer personas”—semi-fictitious representations of ideal customers based on research and intuition. Specific descriptions may include demographics like age, gender, geographic location, career, and needs or pain points. Companies can then create campaigns to appeal to a specific persona at a particular point of the buying cycle. 

Most campaigns focus on moving audiences from brand awareness to the purchase state. Still, campaigns can be developed to reach buyers in other parts of the sales funnel, such as influencing customers to return to abandoned shopping carts or participate in a loyalty program. Understanding where opportunities exist will help you decide which part(s) of the buyer’s journey to prioritize in your communication efforts.

Use the following checklist to determine your ideal customer/target audience:

  • Perform market research to analyze different aspects of your target market. 
  • Determine industry trends to identify the ideal products or services for your target audience.
  • Create buyer personas that would be the perfect personality for what your brand has to offer.
  • Define who is not your ideal audience, which will help you and your team further refine what needs to be prioritized.
  • Optimize buyer personas constantly by analyzing previous and current customers behaviors with tools like Google Analytics that can help you make more data-driven decisions. 

2  Identify your goal and develop a communication strategy that aligns with that goal

  • Overall, what do you want potential customers to do?
  • How will you communicate with customers through each particular channel to achieve that goal?

Communication should always level up to a business goal, whether it’s to increase sales by 25%, increase CSAT scores by 10%, or to achieve a 1:3 ratio for cost-per-acquisition to lifetime-value-per-customer. Once you identify what you are working toward with your communication, then you can craft your strategy with that target in mind.

For example, if your goal is to increase your product sales by 25%, your communication strategy should then outline how you’ll leverage different channels to achieve it. This could include a few things:

  • Sharing user experiences on social media
  • Sending email newsletters offering product promotions
  • Publishing articles on your blog that explain how your product offering is addressing the problem they have
  • Establishing a brand style guide offering guidance on how employees should talk about your product when interacting with customers

It’s critical when crafting a communication strategy that aligns with your goal to make sure that employees clearly understand the goal by conducting company-wide or team-specific surveys. You can use this data to implement targeted team trainings to ensure that your team is able to carry out your communication strategy. 

You also need to gather data regularly on your progress toward your goal so that you can identify whether your current strategy is effective or find ways to further refine it. In other words, your communication strategy should not be static, but should be dynamically driven by the goals you are trying to achieve. 

3  Coach teams on company values, mission, and brand voice 

  • How do you coach and train teams effectively on brand voice?  
  • What is the best way to communicate the company values and mission?

Developing a company-wide style guide is the best way to move brand voice from an amorphous idea to something tangible. Relying on intelligent tools to build your style guide and ensure teams follow it is a great way to simplify this process.

Grammarly Business gives all team members real-time feedback and guidance to reaffirm all company communications—including landing pages, blogs, social media messages, customer support chats, emails, and productivity dashboards—align with the brand values, mission, and voice standards. As a result, leaders can avoid long coaching and training sessions, ensure all brand standards are implemented, and improve employee confidence with real-time coaching and intelligent suggestions.  

4  Decide which communication channels to use and how to execute the plan

  • What types of communication are different channels used for?
  • Is the communication style uniform, or does it vary across channels?
  • What is the scheduling frequency, and who is responsible for implementation?

Templates can help teams standardize different types of communication. For instance, there might be an email template for salespeople to send out to prospective customers expressing interest in a product or service. There might be an inbound customer service script for people calling with a particular issue or a template for reminding customers about items they’ve recently browsed. 

Employees should also receive clear guidance on how to proceed based on the type of communication with customers. If there is an escalation, what do they say? Who do they call? Every employee should have access to brand style guidelines to maintain consistency in all correspondence. They also should have a standard procedure for handling common occurrences they may face as they interact with a client, such as particular requests or elevations. 

5  Improving communication processes as you go

  • What metrics prove the customer communication strategy is effective?
  • Do employees know how to provide feedback about what is/isn’t working?

Tracking internal and external communication metrics (like open, read, and click rates, page visits, logins, and platform adoption rates) will help gauge how effective your strategy is in the real world. 

Regularly scheduled pulse surveys can measure staff engagement and communication skills; send out fifteen open-ended questions using a tool like Culture Amp, Glint, or Waggle either monthly or quarterly to determine how the strategy can be improved. 

Externally, send out customer satisfaction surveys; check website analytics like site traffic, time spent on site, and bounce rate; and monitor email click-through rates for insight into consumer behavior. If your goal is to increase conversions on your website, consider an A/B test or analyze metrics like time on site. Meanwhile, an email open rate shows you if your strategy aligned with the goal of increasing sales is working. 

Powerful tools like Grammarly Business analytics enable managers to access communication metrics (suggestions flagged and accepted, time saved, team-level improvements) and inform productivity and employee performance. It assists team members with their learning process, like recognizing which parts they need to improve when communicating. 

How having a customer communication strategy makes a difference 

An effective customer communication strategy is the foundation for all marketing, customer service, and sales activities. How, when, and where you communicate with prospective and existing customers says a lot about your brand. 

  • Close the gap between perception and reality. Actively engaging in mindful communication between the company and customers allows brands to identify possible problems, such as a disconnect in how the public perceives your brand and how you define it. According to the Adobe Digital Trends study, only 27% of consumers can describe their favorite brands’ purpose, even though 56% of employees say their organization has a defined brand purpose. 
  • Provide employees with the clarity needed to feel fulfilled and perform their best. The Adobe survey also found that companies with a strong sense of brand purpose consistently measure higher employee satisfaction and outperform competitors. When employees have a clear understanding of the company goals, it empowers them to fully enact the communication strategy.
  • Get ahead of the competition. It’s estimated that less than half of social media customer service requests (45%) receive a response from the company. That leads to  89% of unacknowledged consumers simply taking their business elsewhere rather than following up through another channel. Having a strategy that keeps customers engaged helps ensure you don’t lose their business to the competition.

Developing and implementing all the core components of a cohesive and proactive customer communication strategy will make a big difference. Ensuring you won’t lose valuable customers due to poor communication and differentiate yourself from competitors who can’t keep up.

Grammarly Business is a strategic communication tool designed to keep all employees on message at all times. Contact us to learn how easy it is to seamlessly integrate our communication assistant into the programs you use every day.

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