5 Ideas to Improve The Way You to Talk to Customers

woman working in call center

The biggest problem with the customer experience in most companies is how employees talk to customers. All too often, employees come across as indifferent, cold, uncaring, rushed or rude. This employee “attitude problem” can be the tipping point that sends customers to the competition. This attitude problem is what drives customers to tweet and blog about a poor customer experience.

The great news is, with the right training and strategy, employees can learn how to soften tones, truly convey empathy, make customers feel taken care of and even make memorable personal emotional connections with customers. Here are 5 tips to get you started on the right track for how to talk to your customers.

1. Acknowledge customer concern, when appropriate 

This helps you convey empathy and compassion and it helps you make an emotional connection

▪       “I can understand how frustrating it is when _________”

▪       “I realize how complicated it is to …..”

▪       “I cannot imagine how upsetting it is to …..”

▪       “I know how confusing it must be when….”

2. Yield to customers

Be careful not to over talk or interrupt customers. Interrupting is perceived as rude. Three pointers for yielding to customers:

  • Allow customers to finish sentences

  • If you accidentally interrupt a caller, apologize

  • Even when you know within a second or two that the call will need to be transferred, allow the caller to finish their statement before making the transfer

Here’s a 2-minute video that you can show your employees if you notice a problem with interrupting or over talking customers

3. Try not to correct customers 

Even when customers are wrong, it’s best not to correct them. Telling customers they are wrong can put them on the defensive and make interactions tense. If the matter over which the customer is wrong is not critical, try to let the little wrong slide.

4. Speak in complete sentences

When you speak in complete sentences you sound friendlier and “warmer”. Always speak in complete sentences with customers. Instead of saying, “Last name?” say “Can I please have your last name?”

Here’s a short video on the what and why of speaking in complete sentences

5. Pace your customer 

Try to meet your customer where she is and pace her needs. If your customer is asking lots of questions, sounding confused or frustrated, or continues to ask for clarification, you have an opportunity to pace. You can pace this customer by taking the time to slowly cover every detail and by checking to ensure you are clear and understood. When speaking with a customer who sounds busy or savvy, you can pace this customer by getting right to the point and giving them what they need quickly and efficiently.

Now you can give your employees even more great skills for delivering the best customer experience. Sign up for my newsletter if you don’t get it already – and learn specific tips, approaches and phrases to help your employees deliver a delightful and friendly customer experience.

6 Things We Can Learn About the Chat Customer Experience from Amazon.com

Yesterday I had to reach out to Amazon.com for customer support for my daughter’s Kindle Fire. I chose Chat for my support and I’m so glad I did, because I received refreshingly great service that made me say, “Now that’s Beyond WOW!”

Amazon.com Chat

Click the image to see my chat conversation

6 things  impressed me and made me say “WOW!” 

1. It was a holiday (Memorial Day) and the Chat representatives were working. 

This was super convenient for me as a consumer on my day off.

2. The Representative, Adrian, said, “Before we get started, how are you today Myra?”   

What a nice and warm touch! Right off the bat, I knew I was dealing with a thinking and empowered person and not a person simply following a script. Asking me how I was doing allowed Adrian to establish rapport with me and it set the tone for a positive interaction. Not only did Adrian ask how I was doing, but when I replied that I was doing well, he said, “I’m really glad to hear you’re doing really well.” That’s Beyond WOW!

3. The transaction moved quickly because Adrian was knowledgeable. 

Adrian quickly identified my problem, he asked relevant questions and there was very little delay between my answers and his next question or statement. So often customers are frustrated with Chat customer service because Representatives take a very long time to reply.

4. He wrote in a casual, conversational tone. 

When Adrian determined the root problem, he said, “Well Myra, it looks like the device needs to be replaced.” His casual and friendly tone helped him continue the rapport he established in the first few seconds and it helped him to build trust with me. The entire chat interaction featured a warm, casual and friendly tone.

5. Adrian gave me options and time to consider my options. 

My daughter’s Kindle Fire is no longer under warranty, but Adrian quickly gave me options and he even sent those options to me via email. There was no rush to make a decision, he assured me.

6. I got up from my computer feeling enriched. 

Yes, enriched. One of my goals for every keynote I deliver and every training session I host is to enrich the lives of my audience members. I want to add value to people’s lives. I want to inspire them, give them concrete tools they can use. I want my audience to be better and their organizations to be better because of their time with me. Adrian gave me the feeling I want my clients to feel. I felt blessed to have experienced such good and refreshing service from him. I felt inspired to work harder at creating rapport with my clients. I also felt inspired to share my reaction to Adrian with my blog readers. I literally got up from my computer feeling enriched.

I hope my experience with Amazon.com chat inspires you. Take a close look at transcripts from your chat customer service interactions. Do they sound robotic or rote? Would anyone walk away from a chat with your employees and say, “Now that’s Beyond WOW”? If your current chat customer experience isn’t as fast, friendly and convenient as it possibly can be, you have an opportunity to make it better. Commit to taking one step within the next 21 days to make your chat customer experience the best it possibly can be.

Now you  easily can get strategies, examples and templates for delivering an outstanding customer experience over chat. Download my Extremely Essential Skills for Chat Agents video and get examples from Nordstrom, Zappos, QVC and more – plus get best practices from my 5-year study of best practices for the chat customer experience.