Customer success depends on so many factors. Not only your product should meet customers’ expectations, but all brand touchpoints are supposed to be smooth and pleasant. Unfortunately, we cannot overrule the human factor and all companies have to deal with accidental bugs, complaints and grumpy customers. Here is where customer service communication comes in. Be it verbal or written, it is like the glue that spell all the differences between churn and loyalty, between dissatisfaction and success.
We prepared a list of rules Bitrix24 success team uses to communicate with customers. Some of them you’ve probably heard of, but we also share our “secret” gems. Applied to any human interaction, these rules will make you an effective communicator and level up customer service communication in any company.
Be an Active Kind of Listener
Because a customer in need wants to be heard, active listening is arguably one of the crucial support skills. First, you’ll want to eliminate all distractions, thus focusing solely and entirely on the customer. Then, you’ll listen to what they have to say, and repeat it in the form of a question. Paraphrasing
shows your concern, while simultaneously clarifying the customer’s message. Never assume, but ask and confirm.
Make It Fast and Professional
Be careful when asking questions, though. Since the customer’s time is of the essence here, there’s really no space for long Q&A rounds. You’re expected to know everything about your product, and a little something about your customers too, so never ask for information that you can acquire on your own.
Always Keep Them in the Loop
If you had to rely on somebody else for help, wouldn’t you want to stay in the loop? Wouldn’t an occasional don’t worry, I’m working on it bring you some peace of mind? That’s why regular updates are so important. Instead of annoyance, they offer reassurance.
Use Positive Language
Yes, the success of your interactions with customers depends on their mood, and there’s very little you can do about it. Still, what you can do is more than enough. By replacing negative statements with positive ones, you’re changing the whole perspective of the conversation.
This is, of course, of particular importance when the news is bad. Say I don’t know, I can’t, or it’s not available, and you’ll fail. But, flip those phrases into equally honest, but positive statements like I’ll find out, I’ll see if I can make that work, or it will be available soon, and it’ll be music for their ears.
This one’s about always going the proverbial extra mile for our customers and put the quality of human interaction in front of everything. Show that you do care about your customers, make them feel important and they will stick with your brand forever.
Don’t Forget to Ask for Feedback
Bill Gates once said, “Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning”. Pleasant or not, customer feedback helps you measure satisfaction, and improve both the service and the product.
Never Make Promises You Cannot Keep
Why would you, after all? You’d risk robbing your company of integrity, and you’d risk losing your job. However, this temptation is difficult to resist: big promises can easily turn unhappy customers into happy ones and settle any issue. Do your best to avoid it though - broken promises might lead to even more dissatisfied customers and legal claims.
Avoid Professional Jargon
The general rule of thumb is to speak as your customers do. We dare you to address their concerns in a formal manner, using nothing but technical jargon, but not to appear condescending or impersonal. It’s simply impossible! Choose conversation instead of correspondence, and keep it simple and sweet.
Explain Brand Terms and Use Them Consistently
You won’t be able to avoid brand terms, however, but that’s perfectly okay. Since your product has a language of its own, it’s actually advisable to use specific terms for tools and features. If explained beforehand and used consistently, brand terms can help you onboard new users with ease.
Neutralize customers’ defensive reaction
We are only humans after all. Some shortcomings of your product, different levels of understanding or even customer mistakes might trigger a defensive reaction on their side. It kills a constructive discussion and shuts the door on a positive outcome. First of all, don't fight fire with fire. There are several techniques which will help you neutralize a defensive reaction. The easiest one is to change the perspective. Compare 2 replies: “It’s impossible to help you because you cannot properly explain the problem” and “I would really appreciate if you could explain the problem in more details”. When clients do not feel any threat (real or imaginary) they are more open for the dialogue.
Save Your Words, Use Screenshots
A picture is worth a thousand words. A good screenshot or short screencast will allow you to explain intangible products and complicated procedures in only a few clicks. It’s quick, convenient, and oh-so easy.
Proofread Before You Hit Send
In case you use live chat or emails as a channel of communication, make sure to proofread every text before you hit send. Always check the message for factual mistakes and grammar, typos, and consistency.
Always Thank Them for Their Trust
Saying thank you is not patronizing. It has nothing to do with turning the other cheek, even when the customer’s feedback was harsh. Thank you is deeply human, and goes a long way in both personal and professional interactions. In customer service, it translates to – We appreciate you choosing us, and we’ll never break your trust. Oh, and we’re excited about hearing from you again in the future.
And, that’s always nice to hear, isn’t it?
There’s no good relationship without good communication, so keep working at it. You’ll need some practice and time, probably patience too, but you’ll eventually learn that, in heart of every customer lays the exact same thing – an eagerness to be heard, acknowledged, and understood. Sooner or later, you’ll find the right words to unlock it.