Mastering Customer Communications

Weronika Masternak

Weronika Masternak

24 min read
Mar 5, 2024

People generally fall into two categories regarding email management: those who dedicate time each day to filter through their inbox, clearing out unwanted ads and newsletters to focus on the important messages, and those who simply ignore the growing pile of unread emails.

As stated in the report about customer service published by Hubspot, around 40% of people acknowledge having at least 50 unread emails, highlighting the challenge of grabbing someone’s attention in today’s digital clutter.

A study by Salesforce shed some light on a crucial insight: 88% of consumers believe how a company interacts with them is as important as the products they offer. If companies want to keep their audience engaged and ensure their emails are read, they need to tailor their communication to truly resonate with their audience. It’s about making every email feel like it’s speaking directly to the recipient, ensuring important messages are not just sent but read and appreciated.

This shift underscores a broader transformation in customer communication management and strategies. It’s no longer sufficient to rely on generic, impersonal interactions. Instead, there’s a pressing need to understand each customer’s unique preferences and experiences and to craft communications that connect on a personal level.

So, I’m here to show you how to shake things up a bit with your customer chats. I’m going to dive into some amazing tools and ways of doing activities that’ll help turn those interactions into something special. I’m all about using tech to make things feel more personal, not less.

Let’s figure out how to make your messages stand out so you’re not just another notification that gets swiped away. It’s all about building those genuine connections that make people stick around and even look forward to hearing from you.

Types of customer communications

There are a variety of ways to communicate with customers, and understanding the different types of customer communications is important for creating a positive customer experience. Businesses have many options for connecting with their customers from email to social media and phone calls to in-person interactions. 

And you, how well do you understand your customers?

In this part, I’ll explore the different types of customer communications and the benefits and challenges of each.

Transactional communications

These are the messages a business sends to its customers while making a purchase. These messages can be anything from telling the customer that their order has been confirmed or shipped, sending them a bill, or helping them reset their password. The main goal is to give vital information to help the customer have a smooth and satisfying experience.

Promotional communications

These messages are what businesses send out to catch people’s attention with deals, new offerings, or special discounts. Methods like emails, texts, or social media posts are popular for encouraging more purchases and getting the word out about their brand to customers.

Informational communications

These updates keep customers in the loop about the latest happenings at the company, new product debuts, or service adjustments. Newsletters and press releases are commonly used to keep the audience engaged and well-informed about the company’s activities.

Relationship communications

Companies send these personal touches to make people feel valued, such as birthday wishes or appreciation notes for continued loyalty. They might also reach out with satisfaction surveys or tailored messages. The goal is to nurture loyalty and a sense of belonging among the community of users.

Feedback and support communications

This category facilitates a dialogue. Whether individuals need assistance, wish to express concerns, or offer suggestions, this is managed through customer service interactions, support inquiries, or requests for feedback. It’s vital for refining services and ensuring customer contentment.

Crisis communications

These communications are critical for managing perceptions in times of trouble, like during a disruption of services or a reputational challenge. Providing updates, handling backlash, or issuing formal statements aim to reduce harm, preserve trust, and inform stakeholders about ongoing developments.

Automated communications

These are the automated messages sent in response to certain actions taken by users, such as signing up, reminders about subscription renewals, or alerts regarding uncompleted shopping carts. They streamline communication efforts while ensuring messages are timely and pertinent.

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Automations in HelpDesk

Social media communications

Engaging with followers on platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn through posts, direct messaging, and comments is crucial for visibility and customer engagement, and it provides an informal channel for customer service inquiries.

Necessary for adhering to legal standards, these communications might include updates to service terms, privacy policy modifications, or legal advisories. Despite their formal tone, they’re essential for clarity, transparency, and maintaining a compliant relationship with the user base.

Types of customer communications

Understanding communication styles

Communication style is your unique way of interacting or expressing yourself, both with and without words. You share ideas, understand them, and others get them from you. This idea isn’t just about what you say — it’s also about how you say it, how you write, how you move, and even how you talk to people, like in person or through text messages.

Messaging guidelines

Identifying the main messages involves understanding the core points you or your organization aim to communicate across different platforms. This process includes defining mission statements, value propositions, or key brand messages essential to your identity.

For instance, a messaging guideline might state, “Our communications should always emphasize innovation, customer satisfaction, and sustainability.” This serves as a constant reminder to incorporate these themes in all messages.

Ensuring coherence across all communication channels is crucial. This approach maintains a consistent message, whether it’s conveyed through email, social media, print media, or in person. By following the example guideline, every communication would highlight how the organization leads with innovation, prioritizes customer satisfaction, and commits to sustainability, ensuring that the audience receives the same fundamental message, regardless of the engagement method.

Tone of voice

Diving into the world of communication, there are a bunch of different styles that fit various situations. Think of it this way: you have your professional style, which is about keeping things formal and showing respect. It’s the go-to for business meetings or dealing with official topics, crucial for establishing a reliable and respectable brand voice.

Then, there’s the friendly style, which is exactly what it sounds like. It’s warm, welcoming, and perfect for chatting with customers or hanging out in less formal settings. This style is key for relationship building, making customers feel valued and heard, embodying an approach that prioritizes their needs and experiences.

And don’t forget about the informative style – this one’s all about getting straight to the point and making sure everyone’s on the same page with clear, easy-to-understand info, especially handy when you’re teaching something new or explaining the nitty-gritty details of a topic. It reinforces the brand voice as knowledgeable and trustworthy, ensuring that the information provided meets the customer’s needs in a concise and effective manner.

When it comes to picking the right tone for chatting with customers, it’s all about reading the room – or the situation, to be more precise. The tone you go with can make or break your message. Say you’re drafting something official or dealing with legal aspects; a formal tone is your best bet to keep things professional and show you mean business. But if you’re aiming to make someone feel at ease, like in customer service, opting for a friendly tone can really make a difference, fostering positive relationships and ensuring a customer-centric communication strategy.

It’s about making the conversation feel like a breeze and ensuring the person on the other end feels heard and appreciated. Choosing between these different vibes isn’t just a random decision — it’s about what will work best in that moment, considering what you’re talking about and who you’re talking to. 

Getting this mix right means your message isn’t just heard. It’s also felt in the way you intended.

The difference between message guidelines and tone of voice

Communication styles in various formats

Written communication

When you jot down your thoughts, whether you’re composing an email, sending a text message, drafting a blog post, or even scribbling on a sticky note, you’re engaging in the art of written communication. This form of communication is fundamental in both your personal and professional life, providing a concrete record of your exchanges and reflections. It’s especially crucial in customer service etiquette, where clarity and understanding are paramount.

This method of communication excels when precision is key and when you aim to eliminate any chance of the telephone game effect — that is, when the original message becomes distorted by the time it reaches the final recipient. Your goal in written communication, enhanced by your knowledge of communication skills, is to maintain absolute clarity. Whether you’re outlining instructions, disseminating news, or narrating a story, your focus should be on ensuring your message is conveyed with no ambiguity. Mastery of spelling and grammar plays a significant role in making sure your intended message is not misunderstood or lost in translation.

Verbal communication

Now, let’s talk about talking. Verbal communication is all about the spoken word — those face-to-face conversations, phone chats, video calls, or even public speaking gigs. It’s dynamic, allowing instant feedback and adjustments based on the conversation’s flow. Your voice carries more than just words — it brings emotion, emphasis, and personality.

Verbal exchanges are great for brainstorming sessions, heartfelt conversations, or any scenario where the back-and-forth can really bring ideas to life. Plus, those non-verbal cues — smiles, nods, the raise of an eyebrow — add layers to the dialogue, enriching the communication experience.

Digital communication

In today’s conditions, digital communication is like the air you breathe — everywhere and essential. From emails that keep your work moving to social media posts that share slices of your lives, texting for quick updates, or video calls that shrink distances between us. This landscape allows you to mix words with multimedia, making messages more engaging and expressive.

But with great power comes great responsibility.

Navigating the digital space, especially within customer service apps, means being mindful of how you come across, respecting privacy, and understanding the balance between being informal and professional, depending on the context. Adhering to best practices in customer service apps includes promptly responding to inquiries, personalizing communication, ensuring privacy and security, and constantly seeking feedback for improvement. 

Feedback and adaptation

Feedback and adaptation are the dynamic duo of effective communication. Feedback is the response you get — it could be a direct reply, a like on your post, or an unspoken reaction during a conversation. It’s invaluable because it gives you a glimpse into whether your message landed as intended or if it veered off course. 

Adaptation is your ability to take that feedback and use it to tweak your approach. It could be simplifying your language, being more direct, or incorporating more visuals into your presentations. It’s about fine-tuning your communication to better connect with your audience, ensuring your message is heard and resonates.

Various formats of communication styles

Basic communication styles for customer communications

Let’s cut to the chase and discuss the four most important communication styles.

Passive communication

Passive communication involves individuals refraining from openly expressing their opinions, desires, or emotions. It’s like when someone holds back from speaking up, maybe out of fear of confrontation or a desire to avoid rocking the boat. In customer interactions, this can lead to important information not being conveyed effectively, as the communicator may hesitate to assert themselves. 

Consequently, customers might not receive the assistance or guidance they require, leading to potential frustration or dissatisfaction with the service provided.

Aggressive communication

On the flip side, aggressive communication is characterized by a forceful and often confrontational approach. It’s when someone comes on strong, using a tone that might be perceived as hostile or overly assertive. When dealing with customers, employing an aggressive style can evoke feelings of intimidation or discomfort, potentially causing them to feel alienated or disrespected.

Building and maintaining positive customer relationships becomes challenging under such circumstances, as the aggressive demeanor may deter them from seeking further assistance or making future purchases.

Passive-aggressive communication

Now, passive-aggressive communication is a blend between passive and aggressive styles. Instead of openly expressing their frustrations or concerns, individuals may resort to indirect methods, such as sarcasm or subtle jabs. This can be particularly confusing in customer interactions, as the underlying hostility isn’t expressed directly, making it challenging to address and resolve issues effectively. 

The ambiguity of this style can hinder the process of maintaining a satisfactory customer experience…

Assertive communication

Finally, assertive communication strikes a balance between being respectful and forthright. It’s about expressing thoughts, needs, and boundaries clearly and confidently without being overly passive or aggressive. When interacting with customers assertively, individuals convey their messages with sincerity and tact, fostering open dialogue and mutual understanding.

This approach not only facilitates effective problem-solving but also contributes to the establishment of trust-based relationships with customers. By promoting clear communication and respectful interaction, assertive communication enhances customer satisfaction and loyalty in the long run.

Basic communication styles for customer communications

Customer communication management tools

Customer communications management (CCM) is an all-in-one system that lets you create, send, and receive customer outbound communications and documents. Customer communication management tools combine communication from many different places into one location. The CCM system will track and record all outbound communications, whether written or sent electronically.

Benefits of CCM solutions

Adopting a unified customer communication management approach offers many key advantages. Here are some of the benefits of CCM solutions:

Enhanced personalization

CCM solutions empower businesses to tailor their communication strategies to individual customer preferences. Organizations can deliver targeted messages and offers that resonate with each customer segment by leveraging data analytics and customer insights. This level of personalization strengthens customer relationships and drives increased engagement and loyalty over time.

For example, an ecommerce retailer can utilize CCM software to send targeted product recommendations based on a customer’s browsing history and purchase behavior.

Streamlined operations

Gone are the days of disparate communication channels and disjointed workflows. With CCM solutions, businesses can consolidate all customer interactions into a single, integrated platform. This centralization streamlines operations, reduces administrative overhead, and ensures consistent messaging across channels. Teams can collaborate more effectively, leading to improved productivity and faster response times to customer inquiries.

Take, for instance, a multinational corporation managing customer inquiries across multiple regions and languages. By implementing a CCM platform that integrates various communication channels such as email, social media, and live chat, the company can streamline its customer service operations, reduce response times, and ensure consistent support across all touchpoints.

Actionable insights

CCM solutions provide businesses with invaluable insights into customer behavior and preferences. Organizations can comprehensively understand the customer journey by analyzing data from various touchpoints. This enables them to identify trends, anticipate needs, and proactively address customer concerns. With this knowledge, businesses can fine-tune their customer communication strategies to better meet expectations and drive long-term loyalty.

For instance, a hospitality chain can leverage CCM analytics to identify trends in guest feedback across different properties and use this data to make informed decisions about service improvements and marketing campaigns.

Elevated customer experience

In today’s hyper-competitive market, delivering a superior customer experience is paramount. CCM solutions play a pivotal role in this endeavor by facilitating seamless interactions and personalized engagements. Whether through automated messaging, targeted promotions, or proactive support, businesses can ensure that every customer touchpoint is frictionless and memorable. By prioritizing the customer experience, organizations can differentiate themselves from competitors and cultivate a loyal customer base that serves as advocates for their brand.

Take, for example, a telecommunications company that implements an omnichannel CCM solution to provide consistent support across web, mobile app, and phone interactions. The company enhances customer satisfaction and loyalty by offering a cohesive experience across all touchpoints, ultimately driving revenue growth.

Competitive advantage

Delivering superior customer experiences sets businesses apart from their rivals. By investing in CCM solutions, organizations can differentiate themselves by offering personalized, efficient, and memorable interactions.

For instance, a financial institution adopting an AI-powered CCM platform can automate routine inquiries, freeing agents to focus on more complex customer needs. This enhances operational efficiency and positions the company as a leader in customer service innovation.

Benefits of Customer communication management solutions

What’s the difference between CRM and CCM?

Customer relationship management (CRM) and CCM are both critical components of a company’s interaction with its customers, but they focus on different aspects of the customer relationship.

Customer Relationship Management

Purpose: CRM software is designed to manage a company’s interactions with current and potential customers. It uses data analysis of customers’ history with a company to improve business relationships, specifically focusing on customer retention and ultimately driving sales growth.

Features: CRM systems compile data from a range of different customer communication channels, including a company’s website, telephone, email, live chat, marketing materials, and more recently, social media. They allow businesses to learn more about their target audiences and how to best cater to their needs, thus improving the effectiveness of future interactions.

Functionality: Typically, CRM focuses on automating and integrating sales, marketing, and customer support. It’s about understanding the sales pipeline, managing customer interactions, tracking leads, and facilitating communications that encourage customer loyalty and aid in customer retention.

Customer Communications Management

Purpose: As previously mentioned, CCM is a strategy and a set of software applications designed to help companies with customer communications management across a wide range of mediums, including printed documents, emails, web pages, and text messages. The goal is to create a consistent and effective communication experience for the customer, no matter how they interact with a company.

Features: CCM tools are used to personalize the communication experience, ensuring that messages are relevant to the individual recipient. They help in creating, distributing, and evaluating the effectiveness of various types of communication, ensuring compliance with brand and regulatory standards.

Functionality: CCM focuses on outbound marketing, billing, and documentation communications. It’s about ensuring that each customer receives information in their preferred format and channel, improving the customer experience through personalized and consistent communications.

Key differences

Focus Area: CRM is focused on managing the company’s relationships with its customers and improving business interactions. In contrast, CCM focuses on managing outbound communications to customers, ensuring that the message is consistent, personalized, and delivered through the preferred channel.

Functionality: CRM integrates sales, marketing, and customer service functionalities. CCM, however, concentrates on creating and streamlining the delivery of outbound communications.

Goal: The ultimate goal of CRM is to improve business relationships to grow a business, while CCM aims to enhance the customer experience through effective and personalized communication.

The difference between CRM and CCM

Overview of customer communication platforms

Communication platforms are crucial for customer engagement. From CRM tools to chatbots, these tools make connecting and building relationships easier for people.

CRM systems

Organize customer data for personalized interactions and relationship management.

Live chat systems

Provide real-time support, fostering instant customer-agent communication.

Email support platforms

Facilitate email-based interactions for efficient query resolution and multiple communication channels.

Social media management tools

Manage and analyze social interactions, ensuring a strong online presence.

Help desk and ticketing systems

Streamline issue resolution, tracking and prioritizing customer cases efficiently.

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HelpDesk main dashboard

Community forums and Q&A platforms

Encourage better customer relationships and collaboration, offering a space for discussions and queries.

Feedback and survey tools

Gather valuable customer insights first, enhancing understanding of customer’s preferences and experiences.

Chatbots and AI assistants

Automate routine tasks, providing quick responses and personalized interactions.

Voice and video call platforms

Enable real-time communication, fostering more personal interactions between business leaders.

Unified communication platforms

Integrate various communication channels for seamless collaboration enterprise resource planning and customer engagement.

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Messaging apps

Utilize platforms like WhatsApp for direct, instant communication with customers.

Text (SMS) messaging services

Send concise, targeted messages for efficient communication.

Knowledge base and FAQ platforms

Provide self-help resources, reducing customer queries through informative content.

Self-service portals

Empower customers to find solutions independently, enhancing user experience.

Collaboration and project management tools

Facilitate internal teamwork for efficient communication and project execution.

Omnichannel communication platforms

Integrate multiple channels, providing a unified customer experience.

Customer data platforms (CDP)

Centralize customer data, enhancing personalization and targeted communication.

Automated phone systems (IVR)

Streamline phone-based customer interactions through automated response systems.

Push notification services

Send instant updates, keeping customers informed and engaged.

Customer loyalty platforms

Reward loyal customers, fostering retention and better customer relationships.

Webinar and online event platforms

Host virtual events, expanding reach and communication opportunities.

Direct mail platforms

Combine traditional and e-mail marketing for targeted, personalized communication. This integrated approach ensures messages reach audiences effectively through both physical and digital channels.

Customer advocacy and referral programs

Encourage customers to advocate and refer customers spend you, amplifying positive brand communication.

Overview of customer communication platforms

Customer lifecycle and communication at each stage

The customer journey is like a thrilling adventure, with different stages requiring smart communication strategies. From grabbing attention in the awareness phase to keeping customers happy after they’ve made a purchase, each step comes with its own opportunities and hurdles.

In this section, I’ll address how to nurture your audience so that they realize the goals you planned (unconsciously!).

So, get ready to map your customer journey to boost customer engagement and resilience. It’s going to be quite the ride!

Awareness stage

In the awareness stage, the focus is on grabbing attention and sparking interest in what you offer. This involves finding effective ways to connect with customers, such as through social media, content creation, or collaborations with influencers.

Consideration stage

As customers start considering their options, providing personalized and relevant information is crucial to help them make informed decisions. This could include sending targeted emails, offering product recommendations, or providing educational content.

Purchase stage

When customers are ready to make a purchase, the goal is to make the process as seamless as possible. This might involve offering discounts or special deals to incentivize purchases and ensuring a user-friendly buying experience.

Post-purchase stage

After a purchase is made, it’s important to maintain communication and foster loyalty. This could include sending thank-you messages, soliciting feedback, and offering exclusive promotions to encourage repeat business.

Risk assessment

During times of crisis or unexpected issues, it’s essential to assess the situation thoroughly. This involves evaluating the potential impact on customers and the business, identifying key stakeholders, and developing strategies to mitigate risks and maintain trust.

Customer journey scheme

Team structure and responsibilities in customer communications management

Whether it’s through emails, social media, or good old-fashioned phone calls, businesses rely on clear and engaging communication to connect with their audience, address their needs, and build lasting relationships.

Behind every successful communication strategy lies a dedicated team of professionals working tirelessly to ensure that every interaction with customers is seamless, informative, and memorable. From crafting compelling content to providing timely support, each member plays a vital role in shaping the overall customer experience.

Let’s take a closer look at the key roles and responsibilities within a customer communications team, exploring how these individuals work together to deliver exceptional service and foster meaningful connections with customers.

Customer communications manager

Think of the customer communications manager or director as the quarterback of your communication game plan. They’re the ones calling the shots, overseeing everything from your email campaigns to your social media strategy. They work closely with other teams to make sure your messaging is on point and resonates with your audience.

Plus, they’re always keeping an eye on the feedback to fine-tune your approach.

Customer communications specialists

These are the professionals who bring your communication plans to life. They’re crafting catchy emails, engaging social media posts, and informative blog articles you love to read. They’re also the friendly faces behind your customer service responses, making sure your questions are answered quickly and accurately.

Social media managers/community managers

Your social media gurus! They’re the ones chatting with you on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. They are there to answer your questions, address your concerns, and keep up with the latest trends to keep your content fresh and engaging.

Customer service team representatives

You know those friendly voices you hear when you give us a call? That’s a customer support team in action. They’re here to help with anything your customers need, whether troubleshooting a problem or offering some friendly advice.

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Data analysts

These are the behind-the-scenes pros crunching the numbers to help us better understand what you want and need. They analyze all the feedback and conduct customer data collection to identify trends and opportunities for improvement, ensuring you’re always giving the best possible experience.

Graphic designers/content creators

The creative minds behind your eye-catching visuals and engaging content. They’re the ones making sure your emails, social media posts, and website look as good as they sound, keeping people coming back for more.

PR/communications specialists

Our PR pros are the ones making sure your brand is shining bright in the public eye. They handle everything from press releases to crisis communication, making sure your messaging is always on point and in line with your brand values.

Feedback and survey specialists

Last, but not least, there’s the feedback and surveys team. They ask for your input and listen closely to what you have to say. Customer feedback helps you understand what you’re doing right and where you can do better, so you can keep improving the experience.

Together, these awesome professionals make up your customer communications management team, working hard to keep people informed, engaged, and happy.

Team structure in customer communications management

Metrics and KPIs for measuring communication effectiveness

Effective communication is the cornerstone of successful interactions and relationships, whether in business, marketing, or interpersonal connections. You must not only convey their messages but also ensure that they resonate with their intended audience. To gauge the effectiveness of communication efforts, it’s essential to employ metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs) that provide tangible insights into audience engagement, response, and satisfaction. 

By systematically measuring and analyzing these metrics, you can refine their communication strategies, optimize engagement, and ultimately achieve their objectives.

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In this part, I’ll delve into some of the crucial metrics and KPIs for measuring support and communication effectiveness, shedding light on how each metric contributes to a comprehensive understanding of communication performance and impact.

Open rates

Conversion rates

Customer satisfaction scores

Click-through rates

Metrics and KPIs for measuring communication effectiveness

Communicate with people to learn and grow

You’re now equipped with strategies for initiating impactful customer communications. However, you might be pondering the initial steps and the most efficient utilization of resources in the realm of business communication tools. 

Begin by discovering a user-friendly and easily deployable customer communication management tool. If uncertain about a particular application, explore its pricing structures and capitalize on any available free trial offers. 

Our customer service platform, HelpDesk, serves as an excellent starting point for customer service management. This tool seamlessly integrates with email, streamlining your customer interactions and eliminating the need to juggle between multiple platforms.

An effective customer communication strategy is fundamental to bolstering revenue streams. Utilize this comprehensive guide to refine the processes within your organization!

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