When you remove complexity, your content is easier to understand so customers get the right message, at the right time, and in the right context. Every organization can benefit from the clarity that plain language brings to customer interactions, and the improvements it can make to the customer experience.
What is customer experience?
In today’s consumer-led environment it’s never been more important to be able to define customer experience and include it in your organization strategy. Customer experience is all of the touchpoints that people hit along the customer journey – marketing, sales, and sales support. There are many points along this route, including branding and adverts, in-store sales staff, website or app, and after-care team. How your brand interacts with consumers at these points has a significant impact on whether they turn into customers, and indeed, loyal customers.
What do we mean by clarity in communication?
Clarity is essential to clear communication and plain language underpins it. Plain language unlocks products and services for a wide range of customers, regardless of their literacy or education levels. Clear communication is easily understood by the majority of people. It informs people in a straightforward way, with no room for misunderstanding. Clear communication typically uses short sentences, simple words, does not contain jargon and gets to the point quickly. The goal of clear communication is to improve or enhance the customer experience. Your customers will see that you are communicating with them in an accessible and transparent way. This type of interaction goes a long way towards boosting customer experience management.
What is the cost of unclear communication?
Unclear or poor communication is bad for business. From wasting employee time and limiting employee engagement to losing sales and customers. Former Forrester Research senior VP and best-selling author, Josh Bernoff, studied the cost implications of bad business writing. He found that poor writing imposes what he calls a multibillion-dollar “tax” on US organizations. “America is spending 6% of total wages on time wasted attempting to get meaning out of poorly written material. Every company, every manager, every professional pays this tax, which consumes $396 billion of our national income.”
This is a jaw-dropping amount of money. But the worrying thing here is that this is just the cost of wasted time. Now imagine adding in the cost of lost business and sales, customer churn, customer service queries as a result of poor communication, and bad reviews. Suddenly the true cost of unclear messaging becomes even more serious.
But there is good news. Overhauling your communication strategy can be done and the rewards of changing your approach to customer communication are clear.
9 reasons why clarity is key to enhancing your customer experience
Communication is central to the customer experience. Customers want to feel valued and organizations make them feel valued by telling them. Simple communications, and delivering clear messages make for solid customer experience management. The rewards of enhancing your customer experience are obvious: 75% of customers said they will spend more on a company that offers a great customer experience over cheaper competitors.
Encourages customer loyalty
Satisfied customers are more likely to become loyal customers. Those who feel valued and informed are happy to stay with your brand. Good, clear communication fosters that feeling of appreciation. It ensures customers are kept up to date, have ready access to the information they need, can navigate and understand the information, and believe they have an open and transparent relationship with your brand.
Reduces customer frustration
Today’s consumer is busy. They don’t want to spend unnecessary time trying to understand the overly-complicated instructions on their new flat-pack coffee table. Clear information at all points across the customer journey means your customers are never confused. Instructions are clear, web copy is intuitive, product care is informative, and consumer rights information is obvious. All of this leads to happy customers.
Removes friction points
The customer journey needs to be smooth. Any sticking points can lead to loss of sales or poor reviews. Clarity in communication can help to smooth out any rough edges in the customer experience. With clear messaging you can direct customers easily to where they need to go, ensuring there are no problem points or obstacles where they don’t understand something. This smooth journey leads to a more streamlined customer experience.
Decreases product problems
The main goals of any product should be that it works and is easy to use. This is where clear messaging has a huge part to play. Advertising and marketing collateral should give a clear representation of the product – this is what you get. That clarity of messaging should follow through into the actual product and how it works. And then, if there are any issues with the product they need to be communicated clearly, outlining the problem and what the customer needs to do next. With consistent communication across the product journey, organizations can keep issues to a minimum.
Reduces wasted time
If customers are provided with clear messaging around your organization, product or service they will have fewer reasons to call your customer service team. Over half of consumers say the main reason they cannot resolve an issue on their own is because there is too little information online. Making easy-to-understand information readily available to your customers will reduce the number of calls you receive and free up your customer service team to add to the customer experience.
Happy customers will talk about your product or service with their friends and families. That’s important as today’s consumer relies heavily on word-of-mouth recommendations. In fact, nearly three quarters of consumers (74%) identify word of mouth referrals as a major influencer in their purchasing decisions. By enhancing your customer experience with good communication you are directly impacting future sales by ensuring you get those positive recommendations.
Boosts competitive advantage
Good customer experience is one of the most significant assets an organization can have. According to a Zendesk study, 87% of American respondents said great customer service influenced them, and American Express research revealed that consumers are happy to spend up to 17% more to get that positive experience. At the end of the day, customers want to feel valued, and when organizations deliver a poor customer experience, people often choose to switch brands.
We’ve highlighted how much poor communication or lack of clarity in communication is costing businesses. Making simple changes to your communications strategy can make big differences, quickly. Productivity increases, sales increase, customers stick around, you gain a competitive advantage, and your customer service team are not inundated with basic queries you could have answered with clearer messaging.
8 plain language tips to improve the clarity of your communications
- Keep sentences short: Don’t overfill your sentences. Break longer sentences into two or three shorter ones.
- Use simple words: Don’t use overly long or complicated words. The simpler, the better.
- Avoid jargon: Committee or tech speak isn’t widely accessible. Appeal to a wider audience with straightforward vocabulary.
- Assume people are reading from phone screens: Consumers today are using their phones for all kinds of brand interactions. With smaller screens, it’s even more important to keep your sentences and words short and simple.
- Lead with key information: Don’t hide your main point in the middle of your message. Ensure it is front and center so people don’t need to search for it.
- Write for people who have limited time: Get to the point quickly. Assume people are in a hurry and need pertinent information right away.
- Establish a review process: Build an internal process where key messaging is reviewed prior to publication.
- Be consistent: All communication decisions, from tone of voice to basic grammar, should be the same across all your communication channels.
How can VT Writer help ensure your message is clear?
Using software to help you align internal communications can transform how your organization communicates. Language analysis solutions like VT Writer provide instant measurable and scalable feedback to ensure consistency in your communications at an individual and organizational level.
VT Writer ensures that communication is clear and consistent and uses plain language as standard.
- Flags jargon and complexity. VT Writer helps to simplify content and communications and helps to ensure you have a single tone of voice across the entire organization.
- Measures the readability and usability of content at scale. VT Writer highlights Watch Words specific to your role or industry and suggests improvements to sentence length, grade level, and passive voice. Over time, these prompts train content creators in your organization to write with clarity and consistency.
Clear, accessible communication is the foundation of a good customer experience. In an age where the customer is central to an organization’s success, customer experience has never been more important. With simple, accurate and transparent communications, organizations can dramatically enhance their customer experience and ensure their customers feel valued.