Customer relations start and end with effective communication. There is no getting around the fact that every expression spoken or written by a company is the cornerstone of that company’s success.
Exactly why is communication with customers so essential? Businesses communicate to find out customer needs in order to show that they are listening and have the answer to those needs. It’s as simple as that…in theory. The truth is that effective communication requires a certain expertise to determine what the customer needs and then deliver on that information.
The fundamental skill set requires a genuine concern for that customer and their request or issue. Be sure that your content on your website is friendly, clear and easy to understand. Whether in person, over the phone or in email or chat messages, be sure to offer help and behave as if you are happy to be helping them. If more info is needed, be polite and ask saying ‘Please’ and ‘Thank you,” never make demands.
Listening well could be the true difference between successful communication and unsuccessful communication. A business needs to make certain that it is truly hearing the customer’s needs and desires and not just paying attention to what they think the client want. Use Echoing whenever possible by listening to the customer and then repeating back to them what you heard as their request or issue. This, again, is true whether you are dealing with a customer over the phone, in a chat session, via email or in person.
Take notes and make sure that you are knowledgeable about the company’s operations and also know the best ways to help or if it is even possible to help the customer. This will assist you to not only deal with the specific situation or request at hand, but anticipate other needs or wants which may be related.
An upset customer is the most the most difficult to deal with. Usually it’s best to have patience and allow them to vent first. Really, what they’re wanting is to be heard and to have their feelings validated. This is not personal, although the customer may use personal language. Whenever a customer is angry, this may be the time for you to really attempt to understand the facts of the particular situation by listening carefully. Be careful with your timing on using the echoing technique in these situations, as that could aggravate the client more.
Always apologize and let the customer realize that you care and are here to help. It doesn’t matter whether or not if there was no mistake made by you or your organization, the customer has to know that you care and are listening. Once you really understand the situation, you’re then in a situation to help and either explain what’s going to happen next or make it right then and there. You are able to validate their feelings and also express sympathy by letting them know that you’re certain how frustrating the situation is and that you’re sorry they are having these problems.
Try to come from where the customer is in any situation and you will succeed. Often, being attentive is the best way to understand the client and get to the bottom of their wants and desires. Once understanding has taken place, you can either explain the problem or go ahead and take necessary actions to appease the customer.
Practicing and using effective communication requires some patience and a genuine concern for finding out what the customer needs.
Market ’till it hurts!