What You Need to Know About Communicating with Your Customers

By Vakerie Manso
In today’s highly competitive environment your customers receive messages from hundreds of sources every day. How are you going to stand out from the crowd? Do your existing and potential customers truly receive your messages? If you do the same thing this year as you did last year you will achieve the same results. Are you satisfied with last year’s results?

If the answer to any of these questions is no or I’m not sure and you desire an increase in business then let’s look at some new and tried and true approaches to improving your communication with your customers.

When you embark on a journey it is impossible to get where you want to go without a destination in mind. It’s also more efficient and effective to have a map or a good understanding of the route. Your communication plan is the route or map for effective communication with your prospective and existing customers.

Your communication plan will contain much of the following:

Goals and Objectives—A written description of what you plan to achieve with both the overall plan and each individual campaign. Identify Target Groups–Keep in mind that the programs you execute for prospective customers will most likely be different than those you run for existing customers.

In addition you may have sub-groups (opticians, optometrists, ophthalmologists, retail orientation, or primary care.

Develop Key Messages—Key messages are the concepts you want your targets to remember from this communication campaign. These messages will be woven through all of the communications materials as well as any training.

Develop Activities (Tactics)—These activities are the actual steps to be implemented. If the goal is to add one premium product to twenty percent of your customers, activities might include: develop a five minute training program for sales reps; develop premium product fact sheets; outline an E-Campaign. Calendar of Events—This time map ensures you and everyone in your organization knows when to develop, communicate internally and then execute the individual marketing, promotional and public relations components.

Determine Evaluation tools—Each activity should be evaluated to determine its effectiveness. There are many ways to determine a communication campaign’s success such as tracking hits on your Web site, counting responses via survey cards and/or tracking an increase in sales. Develop Budget—Each component of your plan has some cost. Conduct your research and develop your budget.

Your communication plan provides the roadmap. Here are some tips on three electronic components you might employ. Marketing via e-mail is an effective means of communicating with existing and prospective customers. The benefits of e-mail marketing are: The messages may be personalized. This is one-to-one marketing at its best; the process is dynamic as both you and the recipient participate; and very quick and cost effective. Newsletters, either electronic or hard copy, should be sent at least once per quarter (monthly or bi-monthly is better). Use a consistent format. Familiarity will drive the readers to their areas of interest. Create a dialogue by running contests or asking for specific feedback and rewarding the participation. A well designed Web site is an exceptional communication tool. You can display both product and service information.

Valerie Manso is the President of Manso Management Resources, Inc. A training and development company focused on the ophthalmic industry. valmanso@aol.com, (707) 632-9603

CURRENT ISSUE


May/June LabTalk 2017