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5 Ways to Communicate More Effectively With Your Customers

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Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Communicating effectively with customers is essential for the success of any organization. And in today’s connected world, consumers expect seamless and consistent experiences across all channels, from email and SMS text to social media and live chat. Omnichannel communications enable businesses to meet these expectations by providing a unified and integrated experience for their customers. This not only enhances the customer journey but also helps to build brand loyalty and trust.

Reaching the customer on the right channel with just the right message at just the right time is key to improving customer satisfaction. My company’s recent survey found that more than two-thirds (68%) of leaders of small and medium-sized businesses surveyed said access to an omnichannel platform was vital to their business’ success in the next 12 months.

Using an omnichannel platform allows a brand to capture all interactions with a customer and transition an exchange started on one platform to another. For example, a customer might reach out to a company’s support team on Twitter with a question about their account. The support team can respond to the customer’s tweet and provide them with the information they need immediately. If the customer needs further assistance, the support team can ask for the customer’s email address or phone number and continue the conversation through one of those channels. This allows the customer to choose the communication method that is most convenient for them, and it also allows the support team to provide a consistent, seamless experience across all channels.

For businesses, using an omnichannel platform that captures all communications with a customer, regardless of the platform used, can provide a single source of truth that makes it easy to access the information they need and receive timely and personalized responses to their queries — and customer satisfaction is a leading factor in customer engagement. By using a variety of channels, businesses can reach out to customers in the way they prefer and encourage them to engage with the brand.

Once you have the right technologies in place, however, how can you ensure that your content is resonating with customers? Here are five guidelines to keep in mind when creating content.

Related: 13 Ways to Grow Omnichannel Customer Engagement

1. Use clear and concise language

As a rule, when communicating with anyone — whether a colleague, client, prospect or customer — it’s important to use clear and concise language. Avoid using jargon or technical terms that might be confusing or difficult to understand. Instead, use simple, straightforward language that can be easily understood by everyone. In other words, don’t call it “a meaningful statistical downturn,” call it what it is: a recession.

2. Listen actively

Again, this is an essential skill for any communication, but for customer-facing brands, it is of utmost importance. Active listeners pay attention to what the other person is saying, asking questions to clarify their points and providing feedback to demonstrate that they are listening.

For brands, active listening can facilitate customer engagement and can potentially stave off a poor experience. Airlines and other travel brands are noted for their ability to address customer issues via social media. The use of social platforms, text and communication apps like SMS text and WhatsApp have become so prevalent in the industry that some have discontinued traditional phone support.

3. Communicate frequently

Regular communication is key to ensuring that your customers are engaged and up to speed on the latest products, services or special offers. Especially during busy or hectic periods — such as the run-up to the holidays for retailers or the summer travel season for the hospitality industry — it’s important to communicate freely to prevent misunderstandings, keep everyone informed and maintain customer satisfaction.

Related: 6 Pitfalls of Common Customer Communication Tactics

4. Use the right channels

As we stated earlier, choosing the right communication channels is also important for effective customer communications. In today’s digital world, there are many options to choose from — email, instant messaging, video conferencing, social media, SMS text — so it’s important to leverage the channels preferred by your customers and that are the most appropriate for the situation and information you are relaying.

5. Be open and transparent

Transparency is also crucial for effective customer communication. When communicating with customers — especially when sharing potentially negative news — it’s important to be open and transparent about what you are doing, why you are doing it and what the expected outcomes are. This can help build trust and foster loyalty.

Keeping the lines of communication open has never been more important for brands looking to maintain customer engagement and satisfaction. It also has never been easier. Customers and brands have a wide array of platforms on which to engage, depending on the situation and type of interaction. Regardless of the platform used, brands that communicate with customers clearly and frequently will reap the rewards through repeat business from loyal customers.

Related: How Technology Has Changed Business Communication

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Entrepreneurship

3 Ways to Boost Confidence

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“As a business owner, you’re going to face all sorts of challenges,” says business development consultant and Entrepreneur magazine writer Terry Rice. “But a lack of confidence will tank your chances of success faster than any real obstacle.”

So how do you shake off imposter syndrome when you’re attempting something new? Here are three ways to boost your confidence.

1. Realize confidence comes from past experiences, not pep talks. You don’t need motivational posters to remind yourself about what you can do. Jot down ten challenges that you’ve already won. Keep this list handy to remind yourself of what you’ve already accomplished and why you can take on new challenges.

2. Stop worrying about other people’s opinions. Most people are either rooting for you or ignoring you, so just focus on getting 1% better every day.

3. Learn to see failure as data. Think of every project, pitch, or sales call as an experiment. You’re testing something out, and if it works, great. If not, you’ve learned something and can improve your approach going forward.

Related: 60-Second Tip on Getting More Productive

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Layoffs Abound, But These Major Companies Are Still Hiring

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This year started off with massive layoffs — from Big Tech to real estate and beyond.

But it’s not all bad news.

Though many industries continue to brace for more job cuts, some of the most well-known companies are still hiring, per Insider.

Related: These Are the 2 Reasons Apple Has Avoided Mass Layoffs So Far

Economists remain optimistic about the 2023 job market, CNBC reported, noting that blue-collar workers may have more job security than white-collar employees. ZipRecruiter chief economist Julia Pollak told CNBC that despite headlines about mass layoffs, many companies “are starved for talent and leaving money on the table because they can’t run at full capacity.”

Related: Layoffs Affecting 1,600 Tech Workers a Day on Average in 2023

See Insider’s full list of hiring companies and the number of jobs they’re looking to fill below.

Chipotle: 15,000 jobs

Boeing: 10,000 jobs

United Airlines: 2,500 jobs

Airbus: 13,000 jobs

Alaska Airlines: 3,500 jobs

Bloomberg: 1,000 jobs

Moderna: 2,000 jobs

Palantir Technologies: A few hundred jobs

Binance: 15%-30% workforce increase

Hudson Tunnel Project: 72,000 jobs

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6 Ways to Celebrate Black History Month beyond February

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Celebrating Black History Month is a great way to honor the significant contributions African Americans have made throughout history. However, to create a truly equitable workplace and ensure that our employees feel seen, heard and valued daily, it’s essential to recognize Black history as an integral part of American history throughout the year.

Research shows that workplace diversity positively impacts employee engagement and productivity. In other words, creating an environment of inclusivity for all employees isn’t just the right thing to do, but it also makes good business sense. An authentic celebration of Black heritage throughout the year can help companies foster understanding and empathy among coworkers from different backgrounds. Such a celebration also allows employees to learn more about their colleagues’ experiences, promoting a deeper sense of community and understanding.

Related: It’s Black History Month. Here’s How to Show Black Employees You Care.

By recognizing Black history all year long, companies can show their employees they care while demonstrating a commitment to creating an environment where everyone feels seen, heard, valued and respected. Celebrating Black culture is one way to ensure all employees feel included in the workplace, no matter what month it is.

Here are six ways to be a better ally and celebrate Black History Month beyond February:

1. Celebrate authentic Black history and culture

Make sure that all employees have access to accurate and current information about the African-American experience and contributions throughout history. Encourage employees to learn more about the accomplishments of African Americans in a variety of fields — from science and engineering to art, music and literature.

How to implement it: Provide employees with a list of books, movies and articles by African Americans that tell the stories of African Americans throughout history. As opposed to non-African Americans telling the stories about African Americans (which has been the norm for too long).

Related: Be Intentional About Diversity

2. Plan authentic events

Celebrate Black History Month by planning events that make meaningful connections to the African-American experience. Invite guest speakers to share their unique perspectives on Black success stories and create opportunities for employees to engage in dialogue about important topics such as race, identity and inclusion.

How to implement it: Engage in an open dialogue with employees about the types of events they would like to participate in, such as movie screenings, group discussions and panel talks. Use their input to plan engaging activities focusing on Black culture and history.

Related: Here’s the No. 1 Question White Leaders Ask Me About Black History Month

3. Show authentic support

Show employees that their contributions are seen and valued by celebrating their success throughout the year. From recognition awards to career advancement opportunities, ensure you’re actively engaging with all of your employees so they know their work is appreciated.

How to implement it: Highlight employee achievements in company newsletters and recognize them at team meetings. These small gestures can go a long way in making your workplace more inclusive for everyone!

4. Host educational events

Consider hosting educational events such as lectures, workshops and brown bag lunches that focus on learning more about the roots of Black history in America. Provide professional development resources and opportunities for employees to engage in meaningful conversations around race, culture, and inclusion.

How to implement it: Invite experts in the fields of African American studies or Civil Rights to speak to employees about the history and legacy of Black people in America.

5. Incorporate inclusive resources into training

Include inclusive language, images, historical facts, etc., into all existing workplace diversity curriculums and training materials. Such a universal approach will help employees become more aware of the impact that race, gender and ethnicity have on daily workplace interactions.

How to implement it: Incorporate examples from Black history into existing diversity training materials such as videos, readings, and case studies. Ask employees for feedback about which resources would be most useful for learning more about Black history and culture.

6. Develop authentic mentorship programs

Invest in mentorship programs focusing on developing collaborations between African American employees and their colleagues of other ethnic backgrounds. Establish safe spaces where everyone can share their experiences openly and without judgment.

How to implement it: Create an inclusive environment through team-building exercises, cross-cultural conversations and networking events. Facilitate dialogue among employees of different backgrounds and encourage them to share their insights and ideas.

Celebrating Black History Month is an important way to remind everyone of the contributions African Americans have made to our society over the last several hundred years. Yet it’s also important that we recognize these achievements throughout the year in the workplace. By incorporating authentic resources into the workplace, employers can create a more inclusive atmosphere for all employees — no matter what month it is.

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