Better service communication helps customers and the business
Article

Better service communication helps customers and the business

Take aways
  • Clear and relevant communication improves customer satisfaction.
  • Effective communication minimises service failures and boosts business performance.
  • Effective communication requires the entire organisation to listen to customers.

Effective service communication conveys simple and clear messages, and focuses on what and when customers need to know. These messages manage customer expectations by narrowing information gap, therefore improving satisfaction. The more informed the customers, the less likely the service fails. Organisations should fully utilise various channels to educate their customers how to stay informed.

In all sectors businesses fail to communicate their service

People are often frustrated by brand promises that do not live up to the actual service experience. Failed service communication is always the culprit. An effective communication about a service incorporates the customer context, and improves customer experience by narrowing the gap between expectations and the actual experience. Unfortunately, not many organisations are committed to crafting the best service messages.

People are often frustrated by brand promises that do not live up to the actual service experience. Failed service communication is always the culprit. An effective communication about a service incorporates the customer context, and improves customer experience by narrowing the gap between expectations and the actual experience. Unfortunately, not many organisations are committed to crafting the best service messages.

Tailor messages to the customer context

Service communication problems could occur in any sector. Businesses often fail to provide their customers with relevant information at the right time. Communication must be tailored to the customer context, which is what customers need to know before, during and after a process or a transaction. Effective communication prevents many service failures from happening.

Capitalising on TfL's experience and committed staff's expertise ensured the project's success.

Jargons lead to service breakdowns

Sometimes, services break down because customers are confused by the jargons and the complexity of the products. Ordinary customers as well as frontline staff may not fully understand an insurance policy or an energy bill, if the information is not presented in an everyday language. Customers do not really know what they are getting into, and that causes service breakdowns.

Tell customers what they need to know

Oftentimes, customers arrive at a train station or airport to find out their trips are delayed or cancelled. Instead of offering information that enables customers to make better decisions, businesses often blast their customers with sales offers and marketing messages. While marketing campaigns have their place to attract more sales, it is equally important to inform and educate the customers what they need to know in setting up and using the service.

Companies spend 2% of their marketing budget on actively maintaining relationship with existing customers.

Strip away irrelevant details

Complicated information on technical processes is irrelevant to the customers. When there are many enquiries to the call centre, it may indicate that the messages being communicated are too complex and require more explaining.

Communicating is more than informing

Service communication includes enquiry, response and feedback. The goal is to make customers feel they are taken care of. In order to provide customers with relevant information, you need to know where they are in the customer lifecycle, as well as what happens before they contact you. For instance, subscribers to a new service need information that is different from people who are switching or reconfiguring services. To do this well, you must listen and respond to the customers, and not provide information outside their context.Good timing, customer context and acknowledgement are fundamental drivers of service communication. An eye contact (such as an ‘I’ll be right with you’ glance from a waiter in a busy restaurant), a status update on a delayed flight, or a track and trace number for an online purchase are all proactive information for customers. But to take it to the next level, businesses must be able to respond to more relevant questions like “when will I be helped/depart/receive?”, as that turns information into communication. Service communication at this level creates outstanding service experience.

Boost financial performance

The effect of excellent service communication is not limited to fewer service failures. It also offers opportunities to grow the customer base. Communicating at the right time, using a simple and effective language and eliminating unnecessary complexity are likely to boost both the topline and bottomline of any business.