1. Develop The Information / MessageIf you have information you would like to convey to your customers and clients, in how many fundamental ways could this be presented?
- PowerPoint presentations
- Web site
- Music or message on hold
- Company profile documents
- Products and services lists
- Product specifications
- Company stationery
- Direct mail pieces
- Copies of press coverage / press releases
- Always think in terms of your customers’ perspectives. What is interesting and useful to them?
- Be genuine. If you say you’re going to do something, then do it. If you’re not genuine it will be apparent.
- Focus on consistency of presentation, of message, of image, of how you are being perceived by your customer.
- Know who your customers are. Don’t use humour which would only appeal to a small group of people, don’t risk using any message which may offend, and always be mindful of different religious and cultural perspectives when appealing to a broader segment of the local or international market.
2. Open The Communication Channel: Events And NetworkingThis category of communication is ‘up close and personal’ between you and the customer or potential client. The message may be specific, or non-specific relationship building communication. Some options within this category are:
- Client lunches
- Launch events
- Entertainment events
- Industry events (exhibitions, conferences etc.)
- Association or Institute gatherings
- Organised sporting competitions between companies
The point is, learn about your customers as much as you can, so they join in these events willingly and enthusiastically, so everybody gains something from it. Finally, events and networking are about communication, but what will be remembered is what is different, amusing, and interesting. Add value and your message will be remembered.
3. Involvement From Your Clients And CustomersEvents and networking functions involve your customers at some emotional level and build the relationship you have with them. However, communication that elicits involvement and follow-through communication from your customers is different, in that there is some notion of commitment to do business with you.
Specific tools to communicate with involvement from customers and clients are:
- Surveys and questionnaires
- New product / service test programs
- Writing up testimonials from your customers
- Case studies on your customers’ businesses and their relationships with you and your business
- Ask customers for feedback on new developments, such as your web site
4. Follow Through CommunicationOne-off communication is not enough. One-off communication does not build relationships. A message can be conveyed by communicating it only once, but will it be remembered? How many times have you seen yet another ad on television and not known who the advertiser was because it didn’t register? The message needs to be clear, repeated, and followed up. Ideally it should also be humorous, of interest or value, and have some differentiating factor.
Don’t stop communicating:
- Thank your clients
- Send notes of congratulations when appropriate
- Send information in which they may be interested
- Send them leads
- Follow up on your survey
- Follow up on the new product or service launch
- Send them a copy of your first newsletter, brochure, etc.
- Proactively call them once in a while to touch base and ask how they are, and how business is