Have you ever had a moment of panic after placing an order online?
Wait, did I choose my shipping address, or Mom’s?
Did I go with the black skates, or the metallic blue ones?
I remembered to add the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack to my cart, right?
Then, thankfully, reassurance arrives in the form of a confirmation email. Phew. You’re well on your way to a soon-to-be-legendary roller disco retirement party!
Likewise, a well-timed call or email can provide reassurance to your customers. Using these everyday communication tools in a complementary fashion shows clients you’re thorough and thoughtful, without adding hours to your already heavy workload. Here are three ways to improve your customer relationships by integrating calls and emails:
Add email follow-ups to your repertoire. Regardless of whether you forgot to mention something or discussed a topic to death, a follow-up email is the perfect complement to a telephone conversation. Use follow-up messages to reiterate key information (Here’s a link to the website we talked about), or share additional information (I thought you might find these resources helpful). Even when you don’t have anything to add, a quick message builds rapport. Two or three lines of type can work wonders!
It was great to talk to you today! Feel free to call or email any time. Hope you have a great time at the game this weekend!
Use templates for common topics. While a “nice talking to you” follow-up email may take just a few seconds to draft and send, more involved topics likely require a bit more time and effort. When you find yourself covering the same topics over and over with your clients, email templates may be a good solution. If you can set aside time to write a collection of templates, great, but if not, just save the next email you write addressing a common topic, and tweak it for future recipients. No more time wasted searching for the perfect words to write what you’ve written countless times before!
Know when to call. What if a client emails you rather than calling—you should email them back, right? Not always. While it’s pretty safe to assume a client who emails you would prefer an email response, sometimes it pays to pick up the phone. If you find yourself fretting over an email reply for an inordinate amount of time, a phone call might be in order. It’s always best to call a client when you need to say “no,” or when the chance of misunderstanding seems high. When you need to be sure your client really gets what you’re trying to convey, a conversation definitely wins out over a complicated message. The tone of your emails may be consistently impeccable, but nothing beats a friendly voice when the stakes are high.
What if you reach voicemail when making this all-too-pivotal call? Leave a friendly voicemail message, and—you guessed it!—send a follow up email:
Thank you for emailing me! I’d love to talk about this over the phone if possible. Is there a time that works well for you?
They may seem like small touchpoints, but conscientious calls and emails can go a long in establishing trust with your clients. Here’s to thoughtful communication!