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A customer conversation

Posted by Tom Croft - Head of Marketing at PHMG on

Communication is key to the way we build relationships, and it’s only by conversing that we develop lasting bonds with those around us. The same applies to you and your customers – so the way you speak to your audience is crucial. More than ever before, it’s vital that this conversation is always friendly, direct and truly customer-centric. There are many elements to consider in achieving this, whether it be the language, voice or the channel you hold the conversation in. But above all, your communication must connect with the consumer in a way that delivers the most personable, professional impression of your brand.

The first consideration when speaking to your customer should be the words you use. The style and tone of written and spoken communication reflects your brand identity, marking you out as relaxed or corporate… progressive or traditional… an envelope-pushing agency or a trusted financial expert. And as the marketing climate becomes increasingly international, global considerations also come into play. This isn’t merely about the language you communicate in, but the differences in both culture and vocabulary. English may well be a global language, but it’s important to be aware that there are colloquialisms, phrases and sayings within this that wouldn’t be understood on an international scale. The content or themes of different campaigns should be culturally relevant to a worldwide audience – and this can be difficult for marketers to master. When Proctor & Gamble launched Pampers in Japan, they were puzzled by disappointing sales – until they realised that the stork featured on their packaging wasn’t connected with babies in their frame of reference. Conversely, drinks brand Johnny Walker ticked every box with their ‘Keep walking’ campaign. Understanding that advancement is a universal goal, they sustained this theme yet localised phrasing and terminology for different markets – and saw successful results in 120 countries.  

While the conversation itself requires utmost consideration, the channel in which you choose to hold it is equally important – especially in a world where multiple avenues for communication are available. We’ve seen an increasing shift towards digital channels, as buyers continue to consume media on smartphones, laptops, tablets and other devices. This led to the rise in chatbots, allowing for brands to have a much more direct, immediate and personal online conversation with their audience. Yet despite these relatively new channels, traditional modes of communication shouldn’t be forgotten – particularly the telephone. This age-old tool still endures as the most personal way for customers to get in touch with a business, but it isn’t just the connection time that offers companies an opportunity to speak directly to their customers. Introducing an audio branding production to time on-hold reaches out to callers in a channel they may not expect. By using the wait time as a platform to deliver interesting, engaging company information, you clearly show that you’re working to make their experience all the more personal and professional.

Spoken channels like audio branding bring another consideration in communication: voice. The speaker reveals just as much about a business’ personality as the tone or type of language they choose to use, so it’s key that they make the right selection – it may be experienced and mature, youthful and chatty or deep and authoritative. But most importantly, the voice artist becomes a human representation of a company that listeners can directly relate to. If they speak with warmth, sincerity, clarity and reassurance, customers are all the more likely to connect with them – resulting in a stronger affinity with the brand.

When communicating with your customers, your message should be culturally relevant, verbally accurate and employed in the right medium. With these three considerations in mind, you’ll put your customers first in the conversation – creating a strong connection that results in brand loyalty. And with audio branding maintaining this focus on customer centricity, you’ll guarantee the most positive, professional experience of your brand in a vital communicative channel.




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