When it comes to communicating with clients and customers over the phone, it’s important that you know how to handle any type of situation with grace and respect. In this article, you will learn how to do just that.
#1 Do Not Interrupt
You should always be aware of when you might potentially interrupt a customer. They are going to be very upset if they are explaining a situation to you and you interrupt them to start offering a solution they may have already tried. If you feel you need to interrupt them, cut to the chase and tell them what you believe their main idea is. This way, they at least can confirm or correct you and save both of you a lot of time and hassle.
#2 Use Active Listening
Use active listening as part of your customer service as covered by Message Direct on their website. Did you ever get the feeling that when you were talking to someone you were actually talking to a brick wall? The person might have heard what you were saying but they gave no indication they did at all. Avoid doing that to your clients and customers on the phone. When you communicate with someone else, it’s imperative they know you are listening. For this reason, you should be involved and react to what they are saying by using the tips provided.
#3 Avoid Negativities
Asking negative questions can be confusing to a client or customer. If they can answer yes or no to a question and it still doesn’t give a clear indication of what they meant, then it’s a negative question.
#4 Be Sensitive About Differences in Knowledge
The odds are that your clients and customers are going to have less technical knowledge than you do. You need to be careful when you are explaining something to them. If you use an acronym, be sure you explain what it is. The same one can mean something different in a different context. Be careful you don’t make the mistake of talking over their head or talking down to them. Make sure you pay attention to how much knowledge they have when you speak to them.
#5 Explain Technical Concepts with Analogies
An excellent way to explain any technical idea is to use an analogy for that idea. While they do have some boundaries, analogies are helpful when you want to explain an unfamiliar idea with some familiar terms. For example, a firewall can be compared to a bank teller. When you go into the bank, you don’t just go to the vault and withdraw your money. Rather, you go to a window and the bank clerk confirms your identity before they withdraw your money. They are the ones who go to the vault and bring it back to you.
#6 Use Positive Rather than Negative Statements
Customers and clients are more interested in the representative’s capabilities rather than their limitations. They are interested in what you are able to do for them rather than what you cannot do for them. The way you say something to them will influence how you are perceived by them. You could be seen as a roadblock or seen as the bridge.
#7 Don’t Use Easily Misinterpreted Words and Phrases
Sometimes people will say something with an innocent intent, but the other person will take it the wrong way. You might mean to say one thing but the inflection or pronunciation you use will convey something completely different. For example, overusing the word ‘you’ can make people feel that they need to be defensive because they’re being threatened. Another issue might be the dual meaning of ‘you’. When spoken in the United States, ‘you’ could mean people in general, but in other countries, it might specifically mean that person.
In addition, never tell someone to calm down when you are speaking to them and they are upset. It might work on a few rare occasions, but it usually makes the situation worse.
In general, be sure you think before you speak to customers. You don’t always have to be diplomatic and polite. Sometimes you need to tell someone how it really is, but do consider the alternatives before you do that.
#8 Remember Technical Problems Include Emotional Responses
When a client or a customer has a technical issue, keep in mind that they are going to have an emotional reaction, too. These emotions might range from just annoyance to complete panic, depending on the importance of what they were doing. You don’t have to be a psychologist, but it’s imperative that you acknowledge and recognise those emotional reactions. If you just solve the problem and walk away, most of the time the client will still be upset.
In this case, try to relate to them in the situation.
#9 Anticipate Customer Questions or Objections
Try to think ahead about the customer’s potential objections to your solution so you can address them better.
For example, maybe you’re sending out a memo about the downloading of an application for their systems. Suppose that you have some customers who know just enough to be dangerous. You might have a customer who thinks they can solve the problem on their own, so be sure you outline why they need to update this application.
#10 Keep Your Customer Informed
Customers are going to be upset if you’re always keeping them in the dark about everything. They want to be in the know when it comes to what they’re using and how they can fix something. Tell them what you’re doing if you’re doing something to their computer while you’re on the phone with them. Tell them what needs to be done in order to correct the problem.
If a customer leaves a request using e-mail or a voicemail message, let them know you received it, even though you might be in the process of still handling it. Doing so gives them one less thing to worry about throughout their day.
Proper customer service can be what sets a business apart from their competition, so be sure you know the proper ways to handle a situation.