Customers’ patience with your communication has its limits. Here’s what takes them to the breaking point — that is the point at which they want to opt out and/or end the relationship.
More than 75% of customers have opted out of communication from a company within the last six months, according to a recent survey by West Interactive Services.
Why they stop
Why? In most cases, frequency is at fault.
Specifically, customers opted out because communication:
- was too frequent (45%)
- was irrelevant (30%)
- was redundant (13%)
- had too much information (6%)
- had never been requested (5%), and
- lacked a human touch (1%).
Customers are flooded with emails, text messages and direct mail from companies they do and don’t do business with, as well as their employers, friends and family. When they feel overwhelmed, the first thing they drop are those that add the least value to their professional and personal lives.
But you can remain a company and communicator of choice.
Here are four of the best ways to stay in touch with customers, keep them interested in your company and products, and nurture the relationship:
1. Give customers total control
In most cases, customers want to hear from you. They just don’t want to hear too often or in too many ways.
So, once customers agree to getting messages from you, let them choose if they want those via email, text and/or any other option you have. Let them choose how frequently they get information and the kind of information they get. Some may want to hear about your promotions. Others may just want tips on how to use or maximize your products.
For instance, The Wall Street Journal lets customers choose the subjects they want to know about and how often they receive email communications.
2. Remind them of your promises
Customers who say they want to hear from you likely already feel a connection with you. Treat them like friends and family by keeping your promises.
Include reminders and links in each of your messages on how they can change their preferences on frequency and type of communication.
If you promise that you won’t pass their information onto other parties, don’t ever do it. But if you have an opportunity that might interest customers that involves your business partner, you can always invite them to opt in to having their info shared at that point.
3. Keep it clean
Focus on one message each time you reach out. If you pack more than one message into an email, text or other blast of information, there’s a higher chance customers will hit delete or opt out from all future messages. One focused message will attract more interest than three related bits of information because it doesn’t overwhelm customers.
Also, customize a template to reflect your company, colors and fonts for your messages, and use it religiously. Include customers’ names and have all messages come from the same email address that is clearly linked to your company. Customers will recognize your messages and know what to expect.
4. Keep it relevant
Customers won’t keep receiving, opening and reading information from your company if it doesn’t answer their first question: What’s in it for me?
You want to segment customers into groups based on the products they use, information they request, geography, spending type — any or all demographics that will help you make their messages as pointed and personal as possible.
They will stay opted in as long as the messages are relevant to what they need at the moment. Messages need to reflect their most current issues, requests and interests. Rely on customer feedback and your latest sales and marketing data to fill your message with relevant information.
And make sure you don’t overdo it. Some companies have been known to send relevant information — but too much of it, because different messages are coming out of different areas of the company.
For example, The United Kingdom’s Institute of Civil Engineers did an audit of the communication that was going out to customers when opt outs skyrocketed. Too much was getting out to customers because different departments and individuals were sending information. So it streamlined messages, and view rates and engagement went up, while opt outs went down.