Customer relations begin and end with effective communication. There is no getting around the fact that every word, spoken or written, by a company is the cornerstone of that company’s success.
Effective Business Communication: Why Is It So Important?
Businesses communicate to find out customer needs and to show that they are listening and have the answer to those needs. It is as simple as that…in theory. The truth is that effective business communication requires a certain skill set to determine the customer needs and then deliver on that information.
The basic skill set requires a genuine concern for the customer and their request or issue. Smile and speak clearly with an upbeat tone. Be sure to offer help and act as if you are happy to be helping them. If more information is needed, be polite and ask using ‘Please’ and ‘Thank you, ‘never make demands.
Good Listening Skills Payoff
Listening well may be the true difference between successful communication and unsuccessful communication. A business needs to make sure that it is truly listening to the customer needs and desires and not just paying attention to what they think the customer wants. Use echoing whenever possible by listening to the customer and then repeating back to them what you heard as their request or issue. Take notes and make sure that you are knowledgeable about the company’s operations and the ways in which you can help the customers. This will allow you to not only deal with the situation or request at hand, but anticipate other needs or wants that may be related.
An upset customer is the most difficult to really talk to. Most times it is best to be patient and allow them to vent first. Really, what they are wanting is to be heard and to have their feelings validated. This is not personal, although the customer may use personal language. When a customer is angry, this is the time to really try and understand the details of the situation by listening carefully. Be cautious with your timing on using the echoing technique in these situations, as that may aggravate the customer even more.
Always apologize and let the customer know that you care and are here to help. It does not matter if there was no mistake made by you or your company, the customer needs to know that you care and are listening. Once you really understand the situation, you are then in a position to help and either explain what is going to happen next or make it right on the spot. You can validate their feelings and express sympathy by letting them know that you understand how frustrating the situation is and that you are sorry they are having these problems.
Try to come from where the customer is in any situation and you will succeed. Often, using good listening skills is a sure way to understand the customer and get to the bottom of their wants and desires. Once understanding has taken place, you can either explain the situation or take the necessary actions to satisfy the customer.
Practicing and utilizing effective business communication requires some patience and a genuine concern for finding out what the customer needs.
Peace & Prosperity,
photo credit: lidge_34