By Hitesh Bhindi, Director of Professional Services at Smart Communications

When it comes to customer communications, it’s no surprise that today’s consumer is largely in control.  As expectations for more personal and meaningful interactions rise, companies are pressed to improve these conversations or risk losing out to the competition. Customers have been clear about how they expect companies to communicate with them. Our recent survey focused on recipients of communications from financial services, healthcare and insurance companies, revealed that 63 percent of consumers are likely to switch vendors if those expectations aren’t met. If your customer communications strategy needs a reboot, you’ve come to the right place. Here are the five most important elements for consumers to help drive more personalized communications.

Communications That Are Easy-to-Understand

Let’s be honest, no one wants to have to read a letter from their insurer or bank multiple times. While financial-service and insurance companies are especially known to have their own special, yet complex jargon, customers don’t want to have to navigate words that are difficult to decipher. So, the next time you sit down with your team to draft content for a new client-facing document, consider that nearly 50 percent of consumers stated they would be willing to switch to a new vendor if their current company’s communication is difficult to understand.

Relevant Communications

Customers prefer companies that treat them as individuals and 63 percent are even willing to share personal data if it leads to a more meaningful experience.  To continue making communications as relevant as possible, you need to have a complete view of your customers.  If your organization lacks the proper tools to collect and analyze key customer data, you’re going to have a difficult time delivering meaningful conversations. Luckily, there are ways to easily integrate multiple technologies together to simplify your efforts and personalize your customer communications.

Error-free Communications

Depending on your industry, having typos in your communication can cost your business. If a customer sees inaccurate or conflicting communication, it could result in a lack of confidence or satisfaction in your product or services.  And even worse, it could make you out of compliance. To build and establish trust with your customers, take time to periodically check and test your documents for typos, broken links, outdated information, consistent branding and more.

Communications That Are Well-Designed

Have you ever received an email that lacked a clear call-to-action or relevant information? These days, having poorly-designed communications is likely to turn off a few customers. While only 35 percent of consumers in both the U.S. and U.K. mentioned leaving a company if their communications are poorly designed, nearly 62 percent of U.S. respondents and 59 percent of U.K. respondents feel insurance companies do not provide well-designed communications.  The good news is there are quick steps you can take to improve the design of your communications. One way to spruce up your email communication strategy is to include visual elements such as video or branded images. These will break up the text making the message easier to digest. You can also invest in tools or platforms that provide multichannel templates that can help reduce the margin for errors, maintain corporate branding, and save time with less formatting and testing.

Consider Preferred Methods of Communication

In today’s multichannel world, consumers are bombarded with messages across various methods of communication – email, websites, SMS, direct mail and more. Companies that communicate with customers via their preferred methods will likely enjoy increased customer engagement and overall satisfaction. Not sure which channel(s) your customers prefer? Ask them!

Interested in learning more about how consumers want to be communicated with? Read our complete study, The State of Meaningful Customer Conversations: Consumer Perspectives on What They Expect, What They’re Currently Receiving and Why It Matters, here.