Exercising excellent communication skills with your customers may seem like an obvious initiative, but you’ll be surprised how many staff don’t actually hear the way they speak. A warm smile, eye contact and proof that you’re actively listening are key tools to communicate well, but when was the last time you really thought about exactly what you’re saying?
Keeping Good Vibes
Mistakes are unavoidable in business: running out of stock, faulty products and missing deliveries do happen. But using terms such as, “We don’t have that,” “I don’t know,” or “It’s not working,” will always be received negatively, despite how apologetic or upbeat your delivery may be.
In order to change your tone and expand your positive vocabulary, you need to put yourself in your customer’s shoes. Let’s say you’ve sold out of an item. Instead of telling the customer something negative like, “We’ve sold out,” re-frame your statement so the customer can see you’re making an effort to get them their wanted result. For example, “I can put an order into our warehouse now and your item will be here tomorrow!” is a much more positive statement with customer benefits and a clear action plan.
Here are some things to keep in mind the next time you’re breaking bad news:
1. The solution is the key, so make sure you emphasise exactly how you’re fixing the mistake.
2. Evolve your vernacular so you use words like “can” or “will” instead of “don’t”; “can’t” and “no”.
3. Make the statement “Let me find out for you” your new mantra when you’re not sure how to help the customer.
4. If the customer is having a grumble, don’t interrupt. Make sure you let them say their piece.
5. First impressions are everything.
6. Ensure you actively listen and don’t act like a brick wall!
7. Ensure you frame questions and statements in a positive light. For example, “You don’t have your delivery slip?” can be reworded as “Do you have your delivery slip?”
8. Speak in plain English and watch out for technical jargon and office colloquialisms.
9. Be clear as day and allow no room for miscommunication.
10. Pause before responding. This gives you a moment to gather your thoughts and truly understand your customer’s needs.
Positive communication has the power to create long-lasting relationships with your customers, and your business will be talked about positively for your excellent customer service. By making changes to your language, your demeanour and taking the time to actively listen, you can easily turn any negative interaction around and make your customer service reputation iconic.
Have you experienced exceptional communication from a business? We’d love to hear about it!