Conversations are the strongest tool you have to build relationships between customers and your brand, so it’s important to come up with conversation starters for all sorts of occasions.
Before I get into why conversations are important, you need to understand one thing:
You never know when one conversation will lead to exponential growth for your company.
A lot of professionals think consumers like to work with brands that have the best products, pitches, or customer service. The truth is, people tend to care most about 2 completely different things:
- Convenience, and
- Existing relationships
We don’t care about finding the leading expert as much as we care about working with someone we trust, which, in most cases, means a person or brand we already have a relationship with.
That’s why conversation starters are so important. Because conversations build relationships, and relationships build businesses.
How do customer relationships build businesses?
You’ve been there. A problem comes up in your business meeting that needs outside help. So you chime in and say, “I know a guy, I’ll reach out to him when we’re done.”
Or you might suggest a particular brand whose blog posts you’ve read, or whose ads you’ve seen. You recommend a person or brand you’re familiar with, who you feel you can trust.
This is an incredibly powerful phenomenon! And you can use it to your advantage, both to get new customers and to strengthen relationships with existing customers.
I’ll show you how to do both in this article, but first, here’s some research you should know.
How important are customer communications?
People tend to work with other people and brands they already have relationships with. In fact, per research by Forrester, “Companies that excel at lead nurturing generate 50% more sales ready leads at 33% lower cost.”
In other words, brands who build relationships with prospects – through personalized email marketing, advertisements, and conversations – bring in more customers while reducing their cost per acquisition.
If you want more customers, building relationships is the clear path to success (and to beating your competitors). But the benefits don’t stop there.
According to a study by Aberdeen, nurtured leads – prospects you’ve built relationships with – make 47% larger purchases on average than prospects you haven’t built relationships with.
Conversations build relationships, and these relationships build businesses.
Did you know, according to Harvard Business Review, that it can be 5X to 25X cheaper to keep a customer than to get a new one? Or that a 5% increase in customer retention can increase your company’s revenue by up to 95%?
Clearly your existing customers matter. You’ve already invested time and resources into getting these customers, and it’s important to keep growing these relationships, because that’s how both of you get more value from each other.
But how do you keep building on these relationships? By having conversations! And to have conversations, you need conversation starters.
15 Unique Conversation Starters to Drive Customer Communications
We at Text Request are firm believers in starting conversations through text. (Go figure.)
Texting has been the most used form of communication for the last decade, and it’s usually the easiest way to reach people. Perhaps most importantly, texting is how friends and family further relationships.
That said, these conversation starters can all be used in:
- Text messages
- Personal emails
- Email campaigns
- Social media posts
- Phone calls
- And other ways you or your brand might communicate
What’s important is that you create conversations, and whichever channels work for your brand are the ones you should use. Now, let’s dive in!
1. “Can [I/we] help you with anything?”
This conversation starter does several things at once:
- It shows you care about the customer
- Suggests you can add more value, and
- Proves you’re proactive
It can easily fit within your customer success and support processes, too. Just chime in every few months with a quick “Hi, hope you’re well! Is there anything we can help you with?” and your relationships will start growing.
By sparking conversations like this, you’ll also open the door for customers to initiate conversations with you. And since any good relationship is a 2-way street, this adds a lot of value.
2. “Just saw [XYZ], thought you’d appreciate it.”
This is one of the more personable conversation starters you can use, because when you tell someone you were reminded of them, you also tell them 3 other things:
- You listened and paid attention during past conversations
- They’re not just another number to you, and
- Of all the people you know, you thought of them
Hundreds of things grab our attention every day. Something is bound to remind you of another conversation you’ve had. So when one thing reminds you of a customer (in a positive way), share it!
You can send them a text, email, or some other form of message. Your customers will appreciate it, and it will help build relationships that will, in turn, grow your company.
3. “We’ve got a new [promotion/event] just for you! Want in?”
Show your appreciation and create conversations by offering exclusive deals to customers. Doing so shows 2 things:
- Your brand is doing something awesome, and
- Each customer is someone special
If you’re hosting or sponsoring events, exclusive rates and packages encourage customers to get involved in the event.
Exclusive products and customer-only prices also encourage customers to come back and buy more from you.
Remember this is a conversation starter. Any promotional message will become more effective when you create room for people to respond, instead of just clicking a link.
When you have something new and exciting going on, use it as an excuse to offer exclusive opportunities for your customers. This will drive conversations, sales, and you relationships!
4. “Congrats on your big day!”
People appreciate recognition, which creates powerful opportunities for your brand to start conversations with customers.
Here are a few special situations where you can reach out to customers. Some can be scheduled in advance, others need more attention, but all are great conversation starters.
- Customer anniversaries or milestones
- Marriage anniversaries
- Professional milestones, like promotions
- Recent achievements, like degrees or press coverage
- Achievements for customer family members, like graduations or awards
These are the kinds of messages friends and family share with each other to create lasting connections, and they’ll help you grow your customer relationships, too.
5. “What do you think about this?”
How do you feel when someone asks for your opinion or advice? I’d bet you feel pretty good!
This conversation starter both compliments your customer and validates their abilities. It also leads to responses, because everyone wants to share the great thoughts you just complimented them for having.
So when can you ask for opinions?
- When releasing new products or features
- When you want candid feedback or reviews
- And when you want to know customers’ reactions to new ideas
You can’t implement every opinion, but you can use your customers to get candid insight into your products and services.
6. “It’s time to [schedule/renew].”
Depending on the work you do, you might see a customer multiple times a week or only once a year. In any case, it’s best practice to always have a next step or task assigned to each customer.
The task might be to set up their next appointment, renew their contract, or something that’s unique to your business. These check ups and renewals are great conversation starters, because they help you keep a running dialogue with customers that strengthen your relationships.
Plus, they naturally lead to more appointments and longer customer lifetimes, which are always good for business!
7. “What do you think about our new content?”
If you’re following today’s digital marketing basics, then you’re regularly creating and sharing content with your audiences. For those unfamiliar, “content” refers to things like:
- Blog posts
- Guest articles
- Social media posts
- Downloadable whitepapers, etc.
Every new piece of content is an opportunity to start conversations with your customers. All it takes is an email, text, or push notification saying, “Check out our new content! Let me know what you think about it.”
If any customers have previously requested the info that’s in your new content, you can reach out to those customers personally, too. Doing so proves several things:
- You pay attention when customers speak
- You implement customer suggestions
- You’re a company that keeps adding value
- And you appreciate feedback on your attempts to add value
These personal follow-ups are also largely what turn the sentiment from promotional to conversational.
8. “It’s been awhile, wanted to touch base.”
It’s good to have regular conversations with your customers, but, as a business, it can be difficult to keep conversations going. That’s exactly why this conversation starter is so good! Every few months, drop a line:
“Hey [Kim], I wanted to see how you were enjoying the service. Anything we can do for you?”
“Hey [Kim], it’s been awhile, and I wanted to check in. How do you like working with us? I want to make sure things are A+, and that we do everything we can for you.”
This conversation starter does 2 things very well.
- It makes sure your customers don’t forget about you, and
- It shows how much you care
Messages like these also allow you to get feedback early and often from customers, so that you can make changes before something bad happens, like a customer leaving you for your competitor.
In short, this conversation starter helps you avoid this worst case scenario and create better experiences.
9. “We’ll be [close by] on [date], want to grab coffee?
Depending on your business, this conversation starter could play out in 1 of 2 ways.
If you’re a small business with mostly local customers, being “close by” probably means being in the same neighborhood as one of your customers. In this case, you could reach out and say:
“Hey [John], I’m going to be in [your neighborhood] [Tuesday afternoon]. Want to grab coffee at [Stone Cup] [around 3]?”
Or, if you’re a business with customers all over the nation (or overseas), being “close by” could mean you’ll be in the same metro area for a time. In this case, you might say:
“Hey [John], we’ll be in [Denver] for a conference [the week of the 15th]. Any chance we could get together while I’m out?”
Sure it takes a little effort, but these are great opportunities to strengthen relationships with your customers, and can help you create great memories, too!
10. “Have you tried this [feature/product/option] yet?”
This line is great for starting conversations, and it might be even better at driving usage and sales. Customers are already turning to you for value. So, as opportunities present themselves, why not offer more?
Here are a few situations where you could use this conversation starter:
- Encouraging use of a new or untouched feature
- Informing customers about other services you offer
- Promoting new or different products the customer might like
These messages can boost your customer communications and increase your value per customer. When you’ve got something you think your customers might like, just ask them about it! “Have you tried this yet?”
11. “Would you like to be featured on our site?”
When a business reaches out to feature a customer, a new bond is instantly created. This recognition feels great, and what customer wouldn’t want that?
Featuring a customer can take at least 3 forms, each of which could prove just as valuable as the next.
- Case studies
- Guest blog posts
- And interviews
Case studies should highlight the customer, with why they love your company almost as a side note. You can still include how you solve their problems, but you’ll strengthen relationships by focusing on them first.
Asking a customer to share their knowledge on your site is a surefire way to start helpful conversations, and bring more value to everyone. These guest blog posts should highlight the customer’s expertise, as it relates to your brand and industry.
Interviews could be used for your content, or even for a guest post of your own on some other site! Reaching out to interview customers shows that you value them beyond just a source of revenue.
When you feature customers, they share that content. They share it with their friends and family, and if your customer is another business, they’ll probably share it with their customers, too.
Featuring customers is a great way to build relationships, and to start new relationships with the referrals they bring. So just ask if they’d like to be featured! Most will take you up on it, and they’ll all appreciate the opportunity.
12. “Which is better, A or B?”
When done well, polls can be some of the best conversation starters, both with current customers, and your general audience.
If you release a poll on social media, you could get a tirade of loyalists on both sides defending their preferred choice. And if you poll your current customers about potential company decisions or product features, you could learn what your customers actually want.
In both situations, you’re creating engagement and fostering conversations that lead to stronger relationships with your brand.
13. “We’re branching out towards [location/market]. Can I pick your brain?”
People generally want to help, so when opportunity knocks, ask for help!
Some of the best relationships are between mentees and mentors. When you’ve got the option to let one of your customers feel like a mentor, take advantage of it! There are at least 2 places where this can work:
- When opening a new office, and
- When learning about a market
Here are a couple of examples.
“Hey [Ashley], we’re considering an office space [near you guys]. Can I pick your brain about the area? Thanks!”
“Hey [Mark], we really like working with you, and are thinking about taking a more focused approach to [your industry]. Could you help me learn more about it?”
People love to offer their advice, so use these excuses to start conversations with your customers, and build relationships.
14. “What could we do better?”
We can’t improve unless we get feedback, and who better to give feedback than the people who work with us? This conversation starter does several things:
- It shows customers you care
- Proves you listen to customers
- Brings you quality recommendations, and
- Gives you a chance to address complaints
Every customer is interested in making their experiences better. This gives them the chance to do that through communication with your brand, which fosters customer relationships and brand loyalty.
Plus, it takes a lot of honesty to admit you’ve left room for improvement, and most people appreciate that level of candor.
15. “Thought you might like to connect with [So-and-So].”
Relationships are built through conversations, and the goal of networking is to build relationships. This conversation starter bridges the 2 concepts, and allows you to be a connector.
In most industries, your customers become a bank of contacts. So when someone has a need (whether they’re a customer or not), there’s a good chance you know someone else who can help.
You have the opportunity to connect them, which is both a conversation starter and a value add. Here’s an example you might use through email or text.
“Hey [Alan], I know you’re trying to learn more about [the staffing industry], and thought you might enjoy talking to [Alex]. She’s [run her own staffing firm for 10+ years]. Hope you 2 can find time to connect!”
A Final Word
People tend to work with other people and brands they’ve built relationships with, and they tend to spend more as those relationships strengthen.
Conversations are the most powerful tool at your disposal to foster relationships with your customers. And these 15 unique conversation starters give you ample opportunities to drive customer communications that boost your business!