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Martine Farrugia
Written by

Martine Farrugia
Ditch the retro recommendations for a far fresher approach.

Figure it out

Researching tips on customer satisfaction can be a minefield. You’ll be dodging jargon and metaphor bombs for hours and still be left none the wiser. You need to know how to keep your customers happy, so you’ll be forgiven for feeling irritated when you’re served up suggestions about the ‘customer corridor of delight’ or some snazzy graph labelled with words like ‘detractors’ and ‘promoters’. What do they even mean?!

 

Here’s some straightforward advice with a ‘no silly terminology’ guarantee.

1. When talking to customers by letter, email or phone use straightforward language and avoid industry chat. Just because Linda from Marketing says things like ‘touch base’ and ‘sending in the S.W.A.T Team’ it doesn’t mean your customers will thank you for it. There’s a fine line between being on trend and being annoying. outré creative solemnly swears to never tell you that we’ll be “onboarding for optimum bouncebackability”, we’ll just let you know that we’re going to “have a workshop with your staff to re-familiarise them with the brand”.

Annoying jargon example

 

2. Don’t use boring customer survey reports. Customers love it when you make things easy for them because everyone is busy and has better things to do. A well-designed and concise survey with a couple clever questions will deliver far more accurate results than survey that drones on longer than Les Mis. Use a number scale from 1 to 5 instead of some lengthy bore asking if they’re extremely satisfied, very satisfied, somewhat satisfied, often satisfied, occasionally satisfied… sorry I zoned out there.

 

3. Repetition isn’t sexy and no one likes a nag. You can enforce your message without echoing it over and over. Say it once, say it clearly and position it properly. Repetition isn’t sexy (do you see what I mean?).

Annoying repetition example

 

4. Personalise the customer experience. There’s nothing worse than a generic email, but unless you have a team of scribes in head office they’re pretty much inevitable. To make them seem less robotic, use a personalised format. Greet your customers by their first name. Use their car model or house name, depending on what’s relevant to your business. Let’s take a look at the difference:

Example of personalised messaging
Which letter would you prefer to receive?

 

5. Find an easy way to explain complicated processes. If a customer doesn’t understand what you’re doing or how you calculate things, they won’t trust you. They’ll resort to calling to demand answers and this will clog up your customer service centre, which doesn’t help anybody. At outré creative we spend a lot of time decoding our clients’ text into easily understood messages.

Communicating clearly to customers flow diagram
It’s important to get your communications right first time, otherwise your customers will have to go through unnecessary steps before getting from A to B. This means more frustration for them, and more expenses for you.

For example,

“We will be conducting assessments and repairs in your area. The work will take an indeterminate amount of time and we will suspend electricity for a limited period during the process.”

Should become

“We need to check that everything is working correctly in your area which will mean a short power cut. We’re not sure how long it will take but we’ll work as quickly as possible.”

Which one didn’t you have to read twice?

 

6. Your website needs to send out a clear call to action within a five second glance. If visitors don’t immediately know what you’re selling, they won’t stick around to find out. The website MUST also be clean and clear. A responsive website will adjust to the screen utilised, so it looks sleek on a laptop, tablet or smartphone. Distorted websites are the hairy back of the IT world.

Al Rayan Bank Website
Our fully responsive and interactive online forms for Al Rayan Bank. Our redesigns increased conversions by 30% on the launch day alone.

 

7. Your contact forms must be streamlined. If you require customers to provide too much information, they won’t bother. Increasing form fields will decease conversion. Utilise responsive forms to eliminate mistakes and create a far more pleasant user experience. For example, if you’re asking customers to fill in their date of birth, a responsive form will detect errors and disallow them from entering the date in any way other that your backend system understands it. This means a more accurate database.

 

8. Don’t be afraid of social media. It can be an awesome way to show your personality and engage with your customers on a real level. Of course, you need to make sure you’re staying true to your audience with an appropriate tone and style. If you’re speaking to a more mature audience it wouldn’t be appropriate for you to discuss selfies or tweet about #tbt. outré creative has seen far too many times how the wrong tone can alienate or even anger customers.

 

9. Embrace multimedia. Not all customers learn best through reading. Some people just like looking at the pictures. Images, videos, or interactive guides help them understand what you’re trying to say. Bear in mind that customers are looking through your comms in their down time, so keep things light and fun where possible.

 

10. Email still wins the race for the most effective communication tool with 59% of the vote. Invest in your email layout and style, in the same way that your website must be clean, your emails should follow the same cues. Ever opened an email with cramped text and a random image smack bang in the middle? I bet it got deleted it as fast as that text from your persistent ex. Take a good look at what you’re sending out and ask yourself; Do they look appealing? Would I read this? If the answer is no, it’s time to redesign.

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