Pretty much everything is done online these days; you launch your business through a website, you use social media to market it, and you cultivate beneficial relationships through email and instant messaging. However, building relationships online can be a bit tricky — all the social cues that you read to gauge whether a meeting is going well are no longer available to you. Without body language to indicate how a customer or prospective business partner is responding to your proposal, you have no way of knowing if their emails are really favourable, and vice versa. It’s more important than ever that you develop good communication skills, and here are a few tools that can help you build good relationships with clients and partners.
A good IT system
Although there are a lot of apps out there to help you stay in touch with business partners, and to help customers stay in touch with you, a good IT system should never be underestimated. There’s a limited chance that your contacts will have certain apps for encrypted communication, but everyone will have an email address and a phone line.
The last thing you need when you’re trying to launch a business is for the computers to go down, so make sure you have a good IT support team at hand to fix any bugs or viruses. Having IT support will provide more freedom to focus on building your relationship, and your tech guys can keep your IT services and Cloud backup services up to date to keep up with your expanding business.
Most social media sites have an instant messaging function, but using these to communicate in the workplace can be distracting. Instead, use software such as Slack, Hipchat, Voxer, or Campfire to instantly pass work updates to your partners. You can use each of these programmes to share files, start conversations, and automate tasks.
They have none of the distractions of a social media, and they are far quicker than writing an email and waiting for a response. These apps also make collaboration easier, allowing you to meet your goals sooner.
It’s best not to use social media to touch base with your business partners on a regular basis, but you can’t ignore that this is a form of communication that most of your customers would use as a first point of contact. Companies that include a social media page on their website offer customers a direct line of communication to their customer service department.
If you have a social media page for your business and you make good use of the messenger function on the site, you can respond to customer queries quickly and efficiently. Customer service is vital to all businesses, but particularly growing ones because their reviews can make or break your company’s future.
If you manage to create an outstanding customer service communications and response team, and thus nail the relationship between you and your customers, you will have a loyal customer base for life.