10 key tips for effective operational customer communications

Most businesses put a lot of time and effort into getting their marketing communications just right. 

Nothing wrong with that – after all, creating a good, impactful first impression is key to getting new leads and enquiries in through the door.

But when did you last review your operational customer communications?

All too often, operational communications are seen as the ‘boring bits’ – confirming appointments, providing quotes, telling customers what you need from them, giving them updates on how things are progressing… and chasing payments (boo!).

We can help! Get in touch today to discuss your communications needs!

Operational customer communications are important too!

Don’t underestimate the importance of getting these operational communications right too! Every communication you send to your customers – however big or small – is an important part of your ongoing relationship with them. As such, it will have an effect on the way they view your company – and will determine how and whether they choose to respond.

The power of operational customer communications…

Every operational communication – sent by whatever method – has the power to:

  • Embody your brand ethos
  • Reflect the positive way in which you treat your customers
  • Remind customers that they were right to choose you
  • Engage (or re-engage) customers into wanting to carry on dealing with you

…and convince the customer to respond and do what you need them to do next

So, here are my 10 key tips for effective operational customer communications

1. Avoid jargon and acronyms – even people within your business get confused by all the internal jargon and acronyms, so just imagine how confusing these are for your customers! Make every effort to be clear about what things mean – using everyday words and phrases which your customers will understand. Acronyms are great for shortening things, but always make sure you explain what they mean the first time you mention them in your communication.

  • e.g. “your Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST) – the rental contract for 22 High Street.”

2. Tailor the communication to suit the customer – use your knowledge of the customer to tailor the communication, making it completely relevant to them. Don’t include standard paragraphs which may or may not apply to them – the customer probably won’t know if they need to take notice of them or not.

  • e.g. If your customer normally pays by bank transfer, don’t confuse them by listing all the other ways to pay

3. Be positive! – put simply, nobody likes a negative-sounding message.

  •      e.g. Rather than putting “I can’t offer you our best rate unless you let me do a credit check”, try: “If you’re happy for me to do a credit check, I can offer you our best possible rate.”

4. Make it clear what the customer needs to do – if they need to send you something, give you a call, or confirm some information, tell them clearly what they need to do – and how to do it!

  •      e.g. “Please sign, date and return the enclosed acceptance form to us as soon as possible – you can scan and email this to: us@email.com or post it to us in the enclosed freepost envelope.”

5. Focus on quality, not quantity – keep it simple, keep it direct, and keep it as short and sweet as possible! Don’t be tempted to pad out a short letter or email with unnecessary detail simply in an effort to fill the page.

6. Break it up! – There’s nothing more daunting than paragraph after paragraph of text – and quite frankly, nothing is more likely to lose the interest of the reader. That’s a really big deal, especially if the all-important call-to-action is buried somewhere in the middle! So, if your communication is more than a couple of short paragraphs, break it up with clear headings to help the customer to navigate their way through.

  •      e.g. What does this mean for me? | What do I need to do? | What happens next?
7. Use the right communication method – email, SMS (text), video, letter, landing page, phone call… these days there’s a wealth of ways to contact your customers. Choose the best one for the job in hand.
  •      e.g. SMS is good for a quick, short message like reminding a customer of an appointment or delivery time. Email is cheaper than a letter, but may not have as much impact. Video and landing pages are good for getting across complicated messages and concepts.

8. Features, NOT benefits – an age-old marketing watchword, but this applies just as much to operational communications as it does to marketing messages. And always remember to make the features specific to the customer!

  •      e.g. Rather than putting “Please return the signed form as soon as possible so we can complete your loan application” try: “The sooner we get your signed form back, the quicker your loan can be approved.”

9. Keep it regular – don’t leave your customers in the dark for too long, or they might lose interest in you. If you don’t have operational reasons to communicate frequently with your customers (for example, if they have an annual renewal product from you), keep them informed with useful targeted communications in between.

  •      E-newsletters are great for this – but obviously keep them relevant and engaging, with interesting articles that your customers will want to read.
10. Don’t be afraid to ask for help! – Often, if you’re too close to your business processes it can be hard to take a step back and look at your communications with the eyes of a customer. You can’t see the wood for the trees. A fresh pair of eyes can be all you need to make sure your operational communications are fit for purpose and doing their job.

At iwritecopy4u.co.uk, we have a wealth of experience in writing fresh, impactful operational client communications that really work! And we’re not frightened of tackling long, complicated documents and making them clear and easy to read. Get in touch today to see what we can do for you!

image: © Sergey Galushko|Dreamstime.com

© iwritecopy4u, 2018