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.