A simple error in communication can be the clincher that loses you an
important sale, and more importantly, a lifetime customer. Effective
communicating is one of the most important aspects of having a
successful business. Black History Month is nearly here, so be prepared
with these 7 easy ways to opening up better communication with your
#1 - Never Interrupt Never, ever interrupt others, particularly your customers. They’ll be particularly upset if, while they’re explaining a problem, you interrupt them and start offering a solution. If you feel you have to interrupt, at least cut to the chase and tell the other person what you think his or her main idea was. That way, the other person at least can confirm or correct you, and in either situation can save time.
#2 - Actively Listen Did you ever get the feeling, when talking to someone, that you were just talking to a wall? The person may have heard you but gave no indication of it at all. Avoid doing the same thing. When communicating with others, it’s just as important that people be aware that you’re listening as it is that you’re actually listening. For that reason, be involved with and react to what the other person is saying, either with a nod, or an “I see,” or a paraphrase of the other person’s statements. You’ll strengthen your own understanding and make a much better impression.
#3: Use analogies to explain concepts A
good way to explain a technical idea is to use an analogy. Though they
have limitations, analogies are helpful in explaining an unfamiliar idea
in terms of a familiar one.
#4: Use positive statements instead of negative ones
Your customers are more interested in your capabilities than in your
limitations. The way you say things to them influences how they perceive
you and your business. You can be seen as a roadblock or you can be
seen as a partner. Instead of saying "I can't help you unless you can
pay with a credit card" say, "Do you have a credit card you'd like to
use?" and be creative about ways you can offer solutions. Here’s another
reason to avoid negative statements. Have you ever experienced gaps of
silence in your telephone calls, where the conversation breaks up?
Usually it happens when using a cell phone. If the gap occurs as you’re
saying “not,” your recipient could get the opposite message from what
#5: Be careful of misinterpreted words and phrases
Sometimes we say something with innocent intent, but the other person
misinterprets it. We mean to say one thing, but our pronunciation or
inflection causes us to convey something else. Be especially careful of
the word “you.” Overusing this word can make the person you’re talking
to feel defensive or threatened. Instead of saying, “You need to speak
louder,” try saying, “I’m having trouble hearing.” Another issue
involves the dual meaning of “you.” Unlike other languages, English uses
the same word to refer to an actual person (for example, the person
you’re talking to) as well as to a hypothetical person. Suppose you said
to someone, “You never know what’s going to happen next,” and meant to
equate “you” with “people in general.” The other person might think
you’re referring to him or her specifically and take offense. A better
alternative might be, “It’s really unpredictable here.” If someone is
upset, one of the absolute worst things to say is “calm down.” It might
work one half of one percent of the time, but as a rule all it does is
make things worse.
#6: Remember that purchase problems involve emotional reactions
When customers have a purchase problem (for example, UPS is running
their order a day late because of weather problems), keep in mind that
they’ll almost always have an emotional reaction as well. Those emotions
can range from simple annoyance to outright panic, depending on the
importance of the product and the time element involved. It's important
to acknowledge and recognize these emotional reactions. If all you do is
solve the problem and walk away, chances are the customer will still be
upset. In these cases, simply saying something like, “I know this is
really hard for you” or “I hate when that happens to me” can help the
customer feel better about the situation and possibly feel more positive
about you. Always remember to apologize if their issue has anything to
do with you or your business. Treat their problem, however small it may
seem to you, like it is a big deal and that it isn't something that
happens often. Be surprised that there was a problem, that way the
customer will realize this isn't a problem they will have to continue
dealing with if they are your customer.
#7: Keep the customer informed There's an interesting fact about the production of mushrooms. While they are growing, mushrooms are kept in a dark building and are covered with fertilizer. Don't treat your customers the same way. Here's what I mean: Keep your customers informed of developments involving them, particularly with regard to any order issues or developments with their purchase. If a customer leaves you a request by e-mail, let the customer know you received it, even if you are still in the process of handling it. Doing so gives the customer one less matter to worry about.