11 tips for clear written communication

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Since much of customer service is now conducted via live chat or social media, ensuring your teams are properly trained in written communication best practices is critical to your success. When your staff can not only educate and serve your customers, but also engage with them in meaningful ways, you are much more likely to build a loyal following who will want to recommend you to their family and friends.

According to members of Council for Young EntrepreneursKeeping these 11 tips in mind when engaging with customers in writing can help ensure that your communication is clear, helpful and likely to earn you the trust and loyalty of your customers.

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1. Keep responses short and direct

Customer service professionals should fight the urge to respond in a way that sounds like their spoken voice, as this can lead to long sentences, overly politeness, and tons of rambling sentences. In a world of hashtags and snappy slogans, it’s best to keep your message short and direct to avoid misunderstandings. Text that takes longer than 20 seconds to read can be overlooked and the main point lost. – Heather Francis, Increase funding

2. Repeat customer requests to them

You must always repeat the customer’s request. Adding a layer of clarity allows the customer to make corrections if necessary. If they don’t have corrections, you can continue to understand their concern correctly. Summarizing the conversation is also helpful. Several single sentences are sent in succession with chat messages, so say something like “To summarize your concern…” and then repeat it to the customer. – Mary Harcourt, CosmoGlo

3. Use Tools to view your message

Don’t send anything without reading it and checking for ways it could reasonably (or frankly unreasonably) be misunderstood. Support yourself with a spell checker and editor tools. Writing was never a solo endeavor. This was always done in consultation with the editors. Use tools that help you be your own editor. If something is at stake, for example an email to a shareholder, send it to someone you trust. – Tyler Bray, TK Trailer Parts

4. Learn from past interactions

Learn from best practices from previous interactions. These real-world examples of effective communication serve as a foundation for crafting clear messages and setting the right tone for various issues in future engagements. I highly recommend going through these examples with your team as they will encourage collaborative learning and the development of improved communication strategies. – Alfredo Atanacio, Uassist.ME

5. Send customers detailed manuals and articles

Compiling detailed help articles to send to customers to support more technical customer service requests can be helpful in maintaining clear communication. Guides can help you respond faster (because you don’t have to type out a 10-step process every time) and give customers something to refer to if the problem reoccurs. – Diana Goodwin, MarketBox

6. Use plain language

Avoid jargon and technical terms when communicating with your customers. Not everyone has the in-depth knowledge to understand these words, and the last thing you want is to make your customers feel stupid for asking something. Use plain language to explain concepts and ideas. – Samuel Thimothy, OneIMS

7. Add bullets to break up the text

Long comments are hard to read and easy to misinterpret. Instead, make it simple for customers by spoon-feeding them the most important points like bullets. This is also likely to be a useful resource for other fans and followers who need information that provides concise answers and is easy to identify. – Firas Kittaneh, Amerisleep mattress

8. Use the ‘BLUF’ approach

To ensure clear and helpful written communication in customer service, you must use the “BLUF” (Bottom Line Up Front) approach. With this approach, you first present the most important information or solution, followed by any necessary details. This technique improves the clarity, efficiency and readability of your texts, making it easier for customers to take action based on your response. – Vikas Agrawal, Infobrandz

9. Standardize your processes

It is essential that you create standard operating procedures and train your teams to streamline your communication. The problems can differ per company, as can the solutions. So identify the problems, brainstorm to find the best possible solutions and standardize your processes. This keeps loopholes to an absolute minimum and ensures great customer service. – Stephanie Wells, Formidable shapes

10. Have real people standing by

Make sure you have a live human available when using chatbots. While chatbots can quickly answer basic questions and address concerns, there may be times when a customer has a specific question and would like to talk to a representative. Be sure to establish regular times when representatives are available and respond to weekend or holiday messages. – Duran Inc, Optimal7

11. Send a report of the conversation afterwards

One way to ensure you communicate effectively with customers is to send a report of the conversation to their email address. Many consumers may feel that a representative was not clear when they simply do not fully remember the conversation. An automated log of the interaction can remove confusion and make it easier for customers to find value in your advice. – John Turner, SeedProd LLC