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Want to know which communication channels to use? Own the micro-moment!

People spend an average of nearly three hours a day (opens in new tab) looking at their mobile devices in the U.S. Younger users spend about 90 hours per month on smartphone apps and an additional 34-plus hours on tablets.

But it’s important to realise that it’s not all about apps: Keep in mind that a mobile device is an omni-channel communication tool that can receive messages via voice, text and social media platforms too.

So which platform should you choose to get the word out for your company? That’s a no-brainer: Use the channels your customers prefer. Here’s how to make that decision:

  1. Ask customers which channels they want you to use: It seems obvious (because it is), but many companies skip this step and just use what they have or what they can purchase. Purchased data is often outdated. Asking customers might be more labour intensive, but it’s worth it because you get the information directly from the source and will likely save time and resources on re-implementation down the road.
  2. Use the channels customers indicate as a preference: Again, it seems like a no-brainer, but using preferred channels can get complicated quickly because mobile isn’t a device anymore — it’s a lifestyle that enables communication on multiple platforms. That means preferences can change according to location, communication content, etc.
  3. Communicate using the appropriate channel for the message: If your house is on fire, you wouldn’t want to be notified via email. That kind of emergency should warrant a phone call. Similarly, the content you’re communicating will often dictate the appropriate channel, within the customer’s stated preferences. Use customer preferences and common sense as your guide.  

For companies that are reaching out to customers to make an offer or deliver service, it’s all about seizing the “micro-moment” — that instance in time when customers make decisions, whether that be to purchase a product or service or take an action. Reaching customers on the right channel is key because messages that arrive via the wrong channel are likely to be ignored.

To make sure you own the micro-moment, take a deep dive into how you communicate with customers now via a baseline audit. What channels are you using? Have you asked customers what their preferences are, and if so, how long ago? Did you ask for their permission to contact them? Asking for permission is important: It signals your respect for the customer’s privacy and establishes a two-way relationship.

It’s critical to keep your customer data up to date and obtain permission to contact customers using their preferred means of communication. A survey can be an excellent tool — one that collects data like contact information and preferences, and asks for permission to contact customers, is ideal. You can also use a survey to ask customers how they’d like to receive specific types of information.

But keep in mind that communication channels aren’t static: You’ll need to continuously assess how you’re communicating with customers and make changes as needed. It’s also important to be prepared to communicate with customers on their terms. If you’ve asked how they’d like to be contacted, make sure you’re ready to accommodate their preferences — whether voice, text or social media.

Above all else, keep in mind that you have to deliver value to customers every time you communicate with them. Once you get the right data and technology in place, you’ll be able to personalise messages and reach out to customers using the communication modes they prefer.

But never lose sight of the fact that the use of data and technology should make life better for customers. Keep that in mind, and you’ll own the micro-moment while cultivating lasting customer loyalty.

Tara Kelly, CEO of Splice (opens in new tab)

Image source: Shutterstock/violetkaipa