As customer care and service support professionals, how do we foster clear and concise communication while creating a framework of trust with our clients?
There are three simple ways to super-succeed in establishing clear communication and providing customer support. Try them out during your next customer interaction.
1. Know the Customer’s Worries, Fears and Goals
We can easily forget that everyone has worries, fears and goals that influence an interaction and communication from the get go. You may have a customer call your support line at 4:55 p.m. frantic that he can’t pull a report for all page edits on his website. He asks if you can get the report to him within the hour. In this case we could easily forget to humanize the process and become stressed at the urgent request.
But if we take the time to understand the customer’s urgency we will learn a thing or two. This customer could tell us that he’s been putting out fires all day and this is the topper of the day. He may tell us that he has a new boss who needs this report ASAP. Getting to know and understand the backstory of a customer’s need and experience will build your connection with them and cultivate open, effective communication.
When we are faced with a customer issue, we can easily jump right into playing Mr. or Ms. Fix It. We begin processing how and what we are going to do before the customer has even finished explaining why they are reaching out. Customers want to be heard. Take a deep breath and listen to all of the details, even if you think you know the answer. Listening is a key way that you demonstrate your attention to the customer—and that develops trust in the relationship. There will never be any harm in having “too much” information.
You’ve taken the time to understand the customer’s worries, you’ve listened to them describe the issue or situation and now it is time to piece it all together with validation. Validation is simply accurately reflecting back all the intel you’ve just gathered. Being able to reflect back the emotion, confusion or frustration of the customer—and summarize the issue—puts you both on the same team. If I say to our late-in-the-day caller, “Wow, the deadline you are up against sounds challenging. I understand that level of stress when trying to get a report to run. Here’s what we can do. . .” it lets him know that I’m on his side and I’m going to do what I can to help him out. It eases the stress so we can work toward a resolution. Validation is a powerful mechanism for squashing potential frustration, demonstrating care and building trust.
Remember that customers come seeking your help because they are lost. You are proving yourself to be the hero by how you treat the transaction—not just by providing the solution.
Now, carry on and make people happy.