As the head of marketing communication in a digital economy, you’re tasked with the challenge of integrating traditional and new communication channels to meet the instantaneous, customer-centric demands of the digital age.
If you feel that your current client communication strategy is outdated, doesn’t deliver quality ROI nor serve your housing association and its clients efficiently, then you probably need to increase the leverage of your digital channels.
Here’s a quick overview on how to tweak your online client communication strategy and improve customer relationships while retaining your brand value and authenticity:
Understand Your Customers
Different generations have varying communication preferences. A recent study showed that Generation X prefer communicating via email, whereas millennials spend 30% of each day on social media. Any digital communication you adopt should be based on the channels your customers feel most comfortable with.
For example, the Financial Times wanted to inspire younger audience engagement. They adopted a multi-channel approachand delivered messages through mobile video and digital outdoor displays. As a result, visits from their younger audience doubled on their mobile site. They understood that to engage effectively, they needed to target them using the correct channel.
Increase your Digital Leverage
We live in a digital world, but that doesn’t mean billboard advertising is completely ineffective, or that telecommunication has no place in your client communication strategy. However, the more technology becomes intertwined with our everyday lives, the more businesses are forced to integrate digital channels to meet the expectations of tech-savvy consumers.
You should have an integrated communication strategy that utilises both off and online communication. For example, Pizza Hut now accepts orders through Twitter and Facebook messenger. Customers can still place orders over the phone, but Pizza Hut knows that digital communication, in this instance, is cheaper and more efficient for both parties.
Consistency is Key
Whether you’re using social media, podcasts or automated email campaigns, you need to be consistent in tone, messaging and delivery when implementing your client communication strategy. If you’re communicating across different social media platforms, make sure your avatars and SEO keywords are the same.
Your clients should be able to immediately identify your brand and know what to expect from your online interactions. Remember: regular communication cultivates client relationships and increases trust, which, in the long-run, builds a strong reputation.
Make Things Authentic
Maintain honest and genuine dialogue with your clients when interacting online—there’s no need to sound robotic. Clients want to feel valued, so you need to reinforce that you care about their needs. Social media allows you to personalise communication with your audience in a way that traditional communication like radio adverts or flyers can’t.
Look at H&M, for example. They have a Twitter customer account offering support in 20 different languages. Their account acts like a customer-care line: it’s friendly, helpful and informative, but without the need to physically dial in. Furthermore, if you view their general UK Twitter account, you’ll notice they consistently communicate with their customers using emojis. This shows that they’ve found a suitable, casual tone of engagement for their target audience.
To implement a successful client communication strategy, you need to factor in context and relevance. A handy tip: it’s easy to stay relevant when you’re helpful. You can create customised content for specific buyer personas or reshare content from reliable sources.
You might decide to create content around DIY house tips addressing common concerns relevant to your clients. If it’s good content, your audience will reshare it and indirectly market your company on their behalf.
The hardware store B&Q is a great example—their blog shares inspiring home improvement content that homeowners find relevant, and their store sells products needed for DIY.
Innovate and Be Different
People are drawn to insightful and entertaining content that expands their knowledge. For instance, if you’re improving your social media presence, think about how you might use it as a communication tool for valuable information.
In the early 2000s, McDonald’s Canada launched a social media campaign allowing customers to ask questions about their food processes online by posting queries on their website. McDonald’s promised to answer, provided customers reposted their question via social media. This was a clever way to gain customer confidence and gave the fast food outlet increased exposure.
Digital communication affects all organisations from the private to the public sector. According to The Guardian, mobile internet browsing overtook laptop browsing worldwide in 2016, which is a clear indication that businesses need to update their communication strategy to meet global communication demands.
If your housing association is looking to move towards instant online communication channels, then we’d encourage you to download our ebook, Channel Shift & Increasing Efficiency - the How-to Guide, where you’ll learn how to get started with digital channel shift.