How one company humanized their customer communications
Keep the pace. Manage the volume. Deliver the facts. “That’s how we get things done,” thought Kelly. Yet as a 20-year veteran Customer Communications Manager at a payroll software company, Kelly knew this approach was no longer enough to satisfy customers.
Understanding the problem
Kelly led a team of hardworking writers, all bright, motivated — and stuck. Entrenched in the tech- heavy details of their products and services, they cranked out multiple customer emails every week with admirable efficiency. The problem? The team was frazzled, and support calls were high with frustrated customers.
On top of that, the company’s warm fuzzy brand promise of “customers first” seemed noticeably absent in their accurate but perfunctory communications. They were outliers and something had to change — but how?
Seeing through new eyes
Kelly knew that to really “move the needle” to make meaningful changes, they needed an outside perspective. With the help of communication and training experts from Beyond the Arc, her team embarked on a journey to rethink their overall approach. From the very first workshop together, Kelly and her team could see the shift they needed to make – and now they just needed to get there.
Through a series of hands-on monthly workshops, the team tackled their key challenges by learning and practicing new ways to reflect customer empathy in their communications. Using our best practices and take-home tools applied to their own real-world content, Kelly’s team began honing new skills. Gradually their formal, jargony language melted away into warm and approachable messaging, with fresh new layouts to make even complex content easy to read.
Step by step, the team deepened their understanding and ownership of how their communications shape the customer experience. For example, through workshop activities, they focused on:
Helping customers feel valued and engaged by putting their needs first To gain a customer POV, the team learned to anticipate and answer top-of-mind questions customers might have.
Respecting the customer’s time by providing quick takeaways They explored new ways to organize and format content to improve readability and visual appeal, and help ensure key information stands out.
Building confidence with communications that feel like trusted conversations The team brainstormed how to express concepts in simpler, active language using a friendly, reassuring tone.
Each workshop built on the last, so the team could capitalize on their new skills and dig deeper on areas where they still struggled. How could they sound more reassuring through negative customer impacts? How could they breathe life into mundane service updates with more active language? Whatever the challenge, we found a creative way to help the team see through new eyes – the customer’s eyes.
And it worked.
Growing a more rewarding customer experience
After only a few months, the team were already glowing from their early successes. They felt more comfortable and confident, understanding how to simplify and humanize their customer communications to resonate better. Even Kelly’s boss chimed in that the workshops were paying off, as everyone began putting new ideas into action.
Over time, they began to see the bigger impact. In showcasing their success stories, the team shared how they transformed the language, look and feel of their communications, and how these improvements empowered both their everyday work and the business.
“Our new approach is getting buy-in from the support team. They said it’s now easier to help customers and is reducing calls.”
“We’re now more effective working with our internal partners, focusing less on features and more on benefits, so we communicate what our customers care about most.”
“We’re improving the customer experience – right away they’ll know what’s in it for them and how it’s relevant and helpful. That’s good for business.”