The Two Types of Customers to Consider When Improving SMB Communication


Improving the customer experience continues to be a hot topic moving into
2017. However, as companies strive to improve their offerings and
engagement with consumers, they often overlook the relationship between
internal communications and its effect on end users. The best way to
appreciate this is by looking at a company’s employees as internal

An employee seeking information from another part of that
company should have a positive experience, just like an external customer.
There are steps that small businesses can take to improve communications to
each of these critical constituents, the internal and external customer,
that leads to significant improvements in organizational efficiency and
better engagement.

Improving the Internal Customer Experience (Information Management)

An often-overlooked component of customer engagement is the internal
communication that serves as the foundation of the external end user
experience. For small businesses in particular, shaving off time on
remedial tasks that could easily be done through automation, like the
creation of proposals and sales quotes, is critical. It leads to an
improvement in team morale, which keeps employees more engaged and can also
boost customer satisfaction.

Improvements in internal communications can
also improve the bottom line. An
SMB communications study posited that
poor internal communications cost businesses more than $26,000 per
employee in lost efficiency.

Engage with customers in real-time across every channel, no matter the medium. Use visitor tracking and email analytics to know what your customers are seeing.

A major pain point of organizational inefficiency is the sharing of
information. Relying on legacy communication methods in 2017 is comparable
to building a high rise on a faulty foundation. Sooner or later it’s going
to be a major problem – and for many companies it already is.

by IDC found that a knowledge worker spends about 2.5 hours per day, or
roughly 30% of the workday, searching for information. Similarly, another
report from
found employees spend an average of 1.8 hours every day (9.3 hours per
week) searching and gathering information.

Put another way, this is
equivalent to a business hiring 5 employees but only 4 show up to work.

Modern communication systems can reduce the time spent looking for
information. Incorporating a customer communication management system that
links to your CRM dashboard and ECM platform can simplify the processes
behind managing an enormous amount of information, and finding what you
need. A stand-alone ECM platform will capture data and route it internally,
but this process doesn’t get to the customer.

Similarly, a CRM platform
will house a lot of important customer information, but it won’t be
automatically placed in all the appropriate communication materials for
distribution. These segmented systems create room for errors and confusion
that consume valuable time. In fact, research by
found that by 2018, the rapid creation and retrieval of relevant content
(KM) will be the key attribute of leading enterprises.

Improving the External Customer Experience (Omnichannel communication)

Speeding up company workflow is the first step toward matching increasing
demands of instant information, but there is also the importance of
extending the experience to external clients. Customers want information
when and where they need it.

This is especially true of complex businesses
like banking and insurance, where consumers feel like they are forced to
engage with their providers. According to a
PWC report, 86% of banking customers want responsive customer service. Their demands
aren’t complicated in theory, but providing them on a large scale can be

The best way to satisfy this expectation is through
omnichannel communication, offering complete continuity across any channel
whether it is SMS, email, web, phone, social media or in-person. New forms
of communication mean more places businesses must optimize content for. A
poll found that sending and receiving text messages is the most prevalent
form of communication for Americans younger than 50 and they prefer to
receive information from brands via SMS.

Omnichannel appeases the customers’ need for expediency, and saves
employees time by reducing manual interventions associated with outbound
customer communication. On average, it takes employees
64 seconds
to get back to a task after reading and responding to an email. When there
are hundreds or thousands of emails coming through, it can be a constant
source of interruption.

Omnichannel communication that is an extension to
internal communication processes, like data capture, information routing
and placement in external-facing communication materials, helps complete
this arduous cycle, where workers can access all pertinent information at a
moment’s notice. This automation greatly reduces repetition in customer
service, which is a common cause of frustration for customers and also
increases human error.

An increasing number of companies are turning to investments in technology
to provide better customer experience.
forecasted worldwide IT spending to reach $3.5 trillion this year with over
$1.4 billion spent sorely on communications services. Although they
delegate considerable budget on IT systems, SMBs must be strategic about
how they funnel the investment in both internal and external communications
to be successful.


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