The Words War: How to communicate with your customers effectively
In a society being gradually gained by consumption, businesses offering products or services are literally in a real war. In 2014, 82% of customers gave up on business services due to bad customer service experience, which led them to improve their customer support service. The customer support is a skill which requires lot of time to develop, and to be good at it, you need to know which attitude to adopt in specific situations and be able to master tone of voice and word choice is a must. We should always bear in mind that, the small things we say can make a big difference and above all, « the heart of a great customer service is a great communication ».
A lot of words, expressions or phrases we use seem trivial to us but it can be more dangerous than we think. For example, saying « I will » to a customer only gives the impression that you are making promises and this is not what they want to hear. They want to know what is being done instead of what is planning to be done. Taking actions on the spot should be your first reflex and then later on come up with better solutions.
Most of the time, customers have more than one questions in their mind but they are not comfortable enough to ask, fearing that they might sound stupid. Yet, a good customer support should ensure that customers are clear in their mind and they can do so by inviting for further conversation, saying: « What else can I do for you ? » or « Please do not hesitate to ask questions? » and if ever a customer apologizes for asking questions, ensure that she/he does not feel sorry or embarrassed and understands that you are happy to be at their service.
Also, you often have to say « No » to customers, but as a customer support the best way of saying so, is to give the reason behind your « No ». As soon as the customers understand the « Why », they tend to be more lenient.
Since the beginning, we are dealing with words or phrases that should be avoided whenever we are engaging a conversation with a customer. Language plays a big role when you have to communicate. For example saying « we have to » instead of « you have to » will make the customers feel supported and that their problems are yours as well. Yet, turning negative words into positive ones is part of the deal, saying « I’m unable to » instead of « I cannot » gives the impression that certainly, you are not able to do something right now, but you are taking note of the request, your customer will hence be more reassured.
An additional, but not necessary, action that can be taken is to create a support lexicon for the customer support team. Now, what is a support lexicon? It is simply a document comprises of useful words or phrases that can be used when dealing with a customer and some tips on how to behave in specific situations. This can undoubtedly help in educating the whole team.
Yet, a customer support does not only communicate with customers through face-to-face interaction, they can also communicate via emails and the way we respond to an email as well implies some rules. Words used in an email can be determinant. For example saying « just checking in » or « just have a look » gives your email a taste of uncertainty. This might give to customers the feeling that you are not even sure of what you are saying. Just like saying « actually » in your mail might give the impression that you have no idea of what is happening in your workplace. Yet, it can be used in an email, but not more than once.
Another needless word that we often used in emails is « hopefully ». We tend to think that this is word that can beautify our way of saying things but instead we are only showing that we are not really able to handle the situation and that we are basing things on hope. Then last but not least saying « sorry », apologizing to someone implies a bigger deal than you think, especially in an email. It may sounds weird but you do not have to say sorry for every single thing under the pretext that the client is and doing so will only portray you as the guilty one while you are not. This is the reason why we need to think twice before replying « sorry » to a customer. For example, if one of your product is not working properly just say: « We did not expect that this will happen, however we are proposing you to do…. ». Ask for forgiveness only when it is necessary.
Do you need help in setting up a good online cloud based customer support system to be used by your employees to better communicate with your customers? Talk to us, we’ll be happy to share our experience of using https://www.intercom.com/ to do that for us.
January 27, 2018