Writing By: Joanie Ogg CTC, MCC
Customer communication is so very important to the long-term success of our businesses. Not only is it important at the beginning stages of the relationship but it as equally as important throughout the life of your sales relationship with your valued customers. Being sincere and thoughtful when you provide information to your customers and during the entire process of communication from the first time you speak to them and throughout the entire process or lifetime of that customer relationship is paramount.
In this three part series, we are going to delve into some tips to guarantee you successful conversations with your customers.
PART ONE – Consistency is Key
Have you ever felt yourself communicating your bad mood over the phone or in an email communication with your customer? Let’s be honest with one another. I know for certain there are times I pick up the phone and probably sound short or frustrated. Every time I catch myself sounding that way, I cringe and wish I had not picked up the phone at all. I am certain it would have been better to just let it go to voicemail and call back when I was in a better frame of mind. I am not suggesting that we can always maintain the sugar sweet tone we want to put across, but we can make an effort to watch our tone and be consistent with our tone of voice.
- Which of these two sounds better? “ Ok, anything else?” or “Thanks, is there something else I can help with?” Clearly we all know the answer to that question. Being in the moment and not thinking about then next project on your to-do list is important. Be in the moment with the customer you are talking to at that moment.
The same rule applies to email communication. Be careful not to be brusque and seemingly short, but do be brief considering the value of their time. People tend to skip through long paragraphs and might miss something relevant and important. So work on using shorter sentences and paragraphs while still getting the message across. Using bullet points is also effective to bring attention to the areas you want to be they read.
- The time that elapses before you reply to a customer is so important as is your consistency in this specific area of communication. Do you typically reply to phone calls with a return call quickly? How quickly to you typically respond to emails? If you are like me and respond very quickly to emails and calls, your customers will begin to expect that from you. If suddenly they find you lagging in response time, they may feel concerned and perhaps even a bit miffed. So again, be consistent.
- Dale Carnegie said, “Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.” How true that statement is! Be sure to use your customer’s name in all communications if you have it. Also, make sure you have it right.
- Jokes are something that can easily translate well in person, but not so much so in writing or over then phone. They can often be misunderstood and if delivery is not perfect could be a bad move all the way around. My suggestion is to bypass the jokes, sarcasm or irony of any kind. That is unless you have a very close and personal relationship with your customer where these would be understood in vein they are shared.
- Ending a conversation on a positive note is simply mandatory! Make certain that you getting your customer to the place where they feel everything is all set and taken care. Here is a good example of an ending phrase that you can make your own. “That is excellent! I am so glad we have everything in order for you. Is there anything else I can help you with?” Don’t jump to the conclusion that the conversation or communication is over until you give them the opportunity to close it.
Next month we will delve into how to master potentially difficult conversations and communications between you and your customers. Let’s face it, no one is perfect and while we certainly try to do the best we can, there are times when your response to a challenging situation might make or break the relationship moving forward. See you next month!