|Keeping it real with Windows 95 clip art.|
You customers may often feel the same way. Everyone wants to be heard and everyone wants to have their opinion valued, yet so many companies as so busy telling you about why they are great, that they often neglect paying attention to what the customer wants.
Here are five ways to make sure you do not make the same mistakes.
- Listen actively – This means allowing the customer to finish a complete sentence, without interrupting them. Make sure you allow them to completely finish their thoughts (even when they get off track), make eye contact, and ignore your instinct to answer some unasked question. I’m often struck by other parents who ask how my Ava, Lilly, or Lane eat/sleep/play and when I give an answer, they really are just waiting on their turn to talk and tell me about what their little Johnny or Suzy do.
- Jumping to conclusions – This goes hand-in-hand with listening actively. I used to do software support for a program, unfortunately named, “ManagER.” So whenever a customer would call the company and even breath the word manager (usually looking for some glassy-eyed supervisor), the call would get transferred to me. I got plenty of opportunities to listen actively then. Make sure you let the customer tell you all of their needs/problems before you offer solutions.
- Becoming distracted – One of the best tools we have for multi-tasking is our phone. One of the worst tools we have for multitasking is our phone.
- Using negative words – Instead of telling a customer “No, we don’t offer blue recliners anymore since nobody wants them,” say, “We do offer brown and green recliners and we can take a look at special ordering a blue recliner, just for you.” Also, replace “but” with “however” and replace “you can’t do that” with “we can do this.”
- Be specific – If you are a pool business and you tell a customer that you will get to their house “sometime next week” and clean their pool, understand they may be upset when you call Thursday morning to come over that evening. You may be there within your timeframe, but being vague may mean you are not within your customer’s timeframe.