You can build the greatest powder coat shop in the world, and you’re sure to go far with high-end equipment, a team of experts, and work that speaks for itself, but at the end of the day, none of that matters if you struggle in communicating with customers.
Importance of Effective Communication with Customers
Communicating with customers is a core aspect of running any business and an integral aspect of any consumer relationship. Repeat customers and referrals drive growth and create regular income, both of which are vital for businesses in any creative industry.
Communicating with customers does more than simply act as a means to provide updates, answer questions about your projects, and otherwise keep customers in the loop. Consistent communication gives customers the sense that you value their business and have established an infrastructure that is designed to take care of them.
The human element is certainly effective, but most shops have neither the time nor the budget to put their artists on customer service duty or hire more than a few new staff members to make it happen. Practical methods that leverage modern technologies and automation create great results at a fraction of the cost and help your shop stand out.
Overview of Different Communication Methods in a Powder Coat Shop
Modern business demands more than the face-to-face element when communicating with customers, as wonderful as that approach can be for long-term relationships. Your powder coat shop, like any other business, can benefit from a variety of communication methods that are tailored to the needs of its customer base that are as diverse as the projects brought to your door.
Implementing Tracking IDs for Projects
ID numbers for projects may or may not be a new approach for you, as many shops refer to projects informally — by client, subject, or requirements — and everyone involved still knows what’s discussed. However, unique, formal identifiers attached to each project can allow anyone to access information about the project across filing systems and customer relationship management software.
Benefits of Using Tracking IDs
Project information that is easily accessible — you can pull it up in seconds when you talk to a customer on the phone, for instance — builds transparency and trust. Your customers have a glimpse into your shop’s inner workings that proves you took steps to reduce potential errors or mistakes.
Efficient Tracking of Projects
When each project has a unique ID, you can easily track its progress from one stage to the next. A system that lists each project ID and where it sits in the pipeline (even something as simple as a spreadsheet) can help you identify work bottlenecks and anticipate completion dates that you can communicate to customers, which means they can check on things without making phone calls that you might not have time to take.
How to Create and Assign Tracking IDs
You can use project management software tools to enter project details and generate an ID that is automatically shared with the customer via email. You can also use automated emails to provide regular updates.
Integrating Tracking IDs with Customer Communication Tools
Some ID systems can interface with your existing email structure or send emails and texts on their own, so you can enter updates into the system and send customers emails automatically.
An essential tool for communicating with customers, automated email gives your shop a consistent and efficient way to keep them in the loop while you save time.
Advantages of Using Automated Emails
Saving time is the primary advantage of automated emails. Work simply gets done faster, and your customers stay happy. Instead of manually drafting and sending updates to each customer, you can send messages at predetermined project stages to keep everyone updated in a few clicks.
In addition, the uniform format and tone of your automated emails will ensure your customers receive communications that are consistent with your preferred image and attitude.
Setting Up Automated Email Systems
Choose a platform designed for the scale of your business operations with a pricing plan that works for your income. Once purchased, you can craft email templates for individual project stages that ensure consistency in tone, as mentioned above, and also help you keep communicating with customers concisely, clearly, and informatively.
Key Stages for Sending Automated Emails
When you begin, send your customers information about their project to confirm that you’ve received their product and are ready to start work. Regular updates throughout the process inform customers how you treat their items, how efficiently you work, and when they can expect a project completion email to finish things off. The final projection completion email notifies customers that they can collect their items and provides instructions on how to do so.
Live Chat for Instant Support
For customers with burning questions but who can’t or won’t use a phone, live chat services through your website can provide quick answers in a familiar format.
Benefits of Offering Live Chat Support
The benefits of live chat support revolve around speed. Customers can get answers and support in real-time as opposed to needing to communicate via emails that you may not have time to answer.
An automated response can also answer customer questions for you to get simple answers across right away. For complicated questions, communicating with your customers through chat allows your team to juggle multiple questions and get answers out efficiently, and informed and updated customers are happy customers, of course.
Best Practices for Providing Live Chat Support
Live chats are valuable tools for communicating with customers both conveniently and efficiently, but to make the most of your communication investment, you must ensure that your staff is trained in this new form of correspondence. They must use concise, professional language when communicating with customers to ensure they provide immediate information.
The chat should also set expectations with customers right away: Inform them that they are speaking with an automated system that can provide some basic answers instantly or notify them that an employee has arrived. A typing indicator is a small element that can go a long way when communicating with customers.
Integrated Text Messaging
Integrated text messages provide an alternative or additional communication method for your customers.
Advantages of Using Integrated Text Messaging
When communicating with customers through integrated text messaging, immediate updates are sent to customers’ mobile phones, which they always have on them. These instantaneous responses create a closer connection that you can use to put a more personal touch into communicating with customers.
That said, communicating with customers through integrated text messaging must remain a clear and concise practice, and the messages should also come at the appropriate time. While you can send emails anytime, a late-night or early-morning text alert will disrupt a customer’s day and damage your relationship. Consider sending texts during normal business hours instead. Deliver the necessary information in the text, then move on.
Gain an Edge Over Your Competitors
Communicating with customers is one of the most important aspects of any business. Consider additional modern tools to automate time-consuming processes and give your powder coat shop a technological edge over its competition while maintaining the personal touch.