Do you know your company needs a stronger communication strategy with your customers, but you’re not sure where to begin? If you're facing frequent customer complaints, stressed-out team members, and falling revenue, listen close...
The journey toward enhancing your customer communications can feel daunting. After all, communication is an art form. It’s never as simple as one person speaks, and another person follows. It requires deeply listening to what each person says and ensuring they feel heard and understood and have a path forward.
The rewards of great communication pay out. Through your communication, you can create a sense of trust and understanding with your customers, which puts you in the connection zone. Using the right words, you can create happier customers and higher revenue.
The wrong words on the other hand, can damage relationships and land you and your customers in the conflict zone. In the conflict zone, a customer's fight-or-flight response can become triggered, and it can be almost impossible to reach a solution that's favorable to both you and your customer.
To get you started on your journey toward stronger customer communications today, consider these 3 C’s:
Be Curious – Much of a person’s success as a communicator is determined by the quality of the questions he asks.
“Successful people ask better questions, and as a result, they get better answers.” - Tony Robbins, author, coach and motivational speaker
Along with helping you gather important information that moves conversations forward, asking powerful questions helps you…
And avoid miscommunication
You’ve probably heard the saying, “you don’t know what you don’t know.” If you’re not asking your customers for more information, clarification, or feedback, how do you know you and your customers are on the same page? You can avoid a lot of miscommunication – and gather useful information – by asking the right questions.
What Makes a Good Question?
While some customers are very vocal, others may be hesitant to voice their true feelings and concerns. A great way to open up a conversation with a customer is to ask a feeling question such as, “How are you feeling about your progress with the program?”
To help you determine the best feeling question to ask in your line of business, consider this simple three-step process:
Step 1: Identify who you are needing to talk to
Step 2: Identify the “elephant in the room.” What is the conversation you are struggling over with this person?
Step 3: Formulate your feeling question and ask it
Important: Make sure you’re listening closely to the person’s response and that you’re listening to learn. There is no point in asking your feeling question if you are not going to listen attentively to your customer and keep an open mind. If you enter all of your conversations with customers thinking you know everything already or that your plan is the only way forward, you’re not going to learn anything new or discover any alternative solutions.
Be Consistent – Consistency isn’t typically the first thing people identify as part of what makes an effective communicator. It’s like we don’t appreciate consistency until it’s gone.
When I provide communication training, I stress the importance of maintaining consistency in the information that is being shared and how it’s being shared. For instance, have you ever called a customer service hotline and talked to someone who told you one thing, and when you were transferred to a supervisor, the supervisor told you something completely different? How did you feel in that situation? Would you have felt more secure and more confident in their solutions if both representatives had been consistent?
Cohesive communication is important because it builds your customers’ trust and your company’s credibility. If your customers hear conflicting messages from different members of your team, they’re going to be confused and frustrated, and it's unlikely they’ll stay engaged with your company. That's because in order for many people to take action, they need to know you and your team are consistent and reliable.
Also important: The tone of your communications should be consistent across your team members. At my agency, our three-step communication strategy ensures everyone who interacts with our company is given the same positive experience. After all, leaving people happier at the end of our conversations than they were at the beginning is our brand promise.
Pro Tip: To develop a reputation of consistency for your customers, start by taking a hard look at your internal communications. Any inconsistencies in internal communication can ultimately lead to breakdowns with customers or clients.
According to author Roy T. Bennett:
“Consistency is the true foundation of trust. Either keep your promises or do not make them.” - Roy T. Bennett
Be Courteous – In business, connection is currency. What that means for you is, consider the feelings your words evoke with your customers. Many customers make decisions based on how they feel.
Consider the last time you perceived a salesperson as untrustworthy or inconsiderate. Did it give you pause and cause you to reconsider doing business with that person?
As a longtime business owner and communication strategist, I've found that the following can help you create deeper and stronger connections with your customers.
Using positive language that allows your customers to relax and communicates that you have their best interests in mind
Helping your customers feel heard and understood
Stating what you need or can do for your customers (talking in terms of solutions)
Communicating next steps
Showing flexibility and offering options
Above all, be courteous and thoughtful in all of your customer communications. Every interaction you have with your customers is an opportunity to create connection (or drive disconnection).
In the words of author and entrepreneur Seth Godin:
"The simplest customer service frustration question of all: 'Why isn’t this as important to you as it is to me?'" – Seth Godin
When you implement the strategies I described above, you communicate to your customers that they matter. When your customers don't feel heard or understood, it's unlikely they'll continue to engage with you.
Start Implementing the 3 C's
The next time you're in a customer conversation, slow down and apply these strategies. Then, come back and tell me what differences you see.
To learn more about creating happier customers and higher revenue and putting the 3 C's to work, book a free strategy call with me here.