Customer communication has to do with the way you talk to customers, how you communicate ideas, opinions and strategies, and the unspoken language of listening. Poor customer communication can negatively affect sales, reputation and company culture.
Here are some things to keep in mind throughout all your communications with customers….
Listen More Than You Speak
No one enjoys being lectured to, unless they specifically signed up for a course on a topic they are interested in. If you are doing most of the talking in your customer communications, you’re doing it the wrong way. Customers want to be heard.
They need to express their side of the story in whatever way they choose. They may go about telling you their pain points in a round-a-bout fashion, but it pays to let them talk and listen carefully.
In their words, you will hear what their problems are, and discern how best you can help solve them. In any conversation with your customers, you should try to listen 70% of the time and speak only 30% of the time.
Don’t Place Blame
In the article, “The Go-Around and How We Communicate With our Customers,” the author discusses a concept called other-centered. This isn’t a new concept, but it’s one that should be kept in mind at all times.
In any given situation, there are multiple perspectives. Always remember the other person’s perspective, and never place blame.
Instead of this:
- A) “I’m sorry. The taxi driver didn’t know where he was going, and made me late to the restaurant.”
- B) “I’m sorry I’m late to the restaurant. I misjudged how long the taxi ride would take.”
Do you see the difference?
In both sentences, the taxi ride is mentioned, because that is the truth of the matter. The taxi ride took too long.
But in example A, the blame is being placed squarely on the taxi driver’s incompetence, insinuating that everything else was perfect. In example B, no one takes the blame.
Maybe the driver didn’t know his way, maybe traffic was jammed, or maybe a detour was needed.
In example B, any number of things could have caused the drive to be longer, and you had no way of knowing for sure the real cause.
This way of communicating is better because it’s more truthful, you are not the judge and jury of the rest of the world, and blame usually cannot logically fall to any one person at any time.
Don’t push your customers to make buying decisions. Everyone moves at their own pace; those who make more considered buying decisions are more likely to be loyal customers than those who make impulsive decisions.
Impulse buyers are more likely to request a refund. If you sense that a person is hesitating, suggest they think about it, and make them feel welcome to contact you with any questions they have before they get back to you about their final decision.
You can really make a dramatic change in your business when you improve your customer communication skills.
Once you’ve got the hang of it, think about offering communication training to all your staff.
About the Author: Kate Supino encourages better customer service with business advice.