Effective business communication starts from the first contact with a potential customer and extends throughout the lifetime of the relationship. This requires a balance between efficiency, which benefits you – but not necessarily the consumer – and effectiveness, which benefits both parties.

Clearly, marketing is about driving sales through advertising and brand promotion, but primarily, it’s about consistent storytelling. Communicating effectively from the outset plays a huge part in building trust. Your communication should be focused on ensuring that the customer feels genuinely valued at every stage of the customer journey. After the sale, it’s vital that you check your customer is satisfied rather than merely assuming that they are. Once again, personalised communications are essential in eliciting feedback.

Business communication channels

Spend some time analysing which of your communication channels works for which demographic or consumer group and focus accordingly. Key channels include:

Live Chat

You can answer questions and solve your customers’ problems instantaneously, without them having to endure repetitive hold music or automated call handling with multiple annoying menus. Moreover, if customers need to wait, they can be engaging in other online activities simultaneously. The downside is that this channel can be fairly resource-intensive.

Phone Support

As with live chat, phone support is regarded as a major drain on resources. However, the need for phone support is generally considered a necessary expense for most companies and if your other channels are handled correctly, it can be used as the last port of call for issues that cannot be resolved by other means.

Email

Having a professional business email address and email support is vital to any e-commerce business. To improve it, you could invest in a ticketing system, so that ongoing communication with the same customer is managed in an efficient and consistent manner. Email is all too easy to mis-use. We all receive poorly personalised email communications from firms from which we have had prior contact. Ensure your email communications are accurate, relevant and appropriate to your audience at all times.

Expectation management

Although the content of your e-commerce site and, indeed, of your marketing communications cannot be tailored to the individual customer, its influence cannot be understated. It is important to have an original voice and a unique story to tell, one that relates to your demographic and seeks to empathise and solve your customers’ problems.

At the same time, all marketing and on-page communications should be wholly consistent, not only with your brand values, but factually. The strongest businesses demonstrating significant growth are those with a wholly consistent voice and positioning. Precisely the same tenets apply to the tone and content of your business blog and, indeed, your social media presence, all of which should reinforce your static on-site and marketing messages, providing further insight and value to the customer.

Consistency results in improved expectation management and a better overall customer journey and experience. It will also reduce any communications associated with re-aligning customer expectations that may have been mis-set as a result of inconsistent or ambiguous communication.

Ultimately, effective, efficient business communication starts from customer’s first exposure to your brand and continues all the way through to post-sale and on an ongoing basis.