Archive for February, 2012

5 Components of Communication That Can Affect the Profits of Your Business (Just One Missing Piece Could Jeopardize Your Business). — PART 2

In Part 1 of this blog and in my book, “Customer Service New Rules”, I explain the importance of communicating like an ambassador and being exceptional with your customer service. In Part 1 of this blog, I also explain how attitude and appearance are components of communication that can affect the success of your business.

In Part 2, I will discuss how posture, tone of voice and word choice are also components that affect your business.

POSTURE. A professional image creates a lasting impression on your customers, and big part contributor to that image comes from physical posture. Your customers will subconsciously draw a relationship between the posture you hold and how you feel about yourself. People with postures associated with positive emotions are more likely to invoke happy memories than those whose body language represents anger or sadness.

Improving your posture, such as holding your chin up and throwing your shoulders back, can actually help you feel better about yourself and elevate your internal mood. Employees can use this principle to adopt a positive stance during presentations or when engaged with customers.

Try it! Ask your employees to make a conscious decision on what kind of positive attitude they wish to hold toward a specific situation. As the employee adjusts their posture to fit their emotive stance, their mind will produce the feelings consistent with that which their posture implies. Everyone will quickly notice the impact.

TONE OF VOICE. Our inflection and the tone of voice that we use can communicate volumes to customers. We control our tone with the speed, direction, rhythm, pitch, smoothness, emphasis and tempo in which we choose to speak. From our tone of voice, customers can surmise if we are hurried, confident, angry, annoyed and much more. A key component to delivering exceptional customer service involves using a professional and sincere tone of voice. When customers hear your tone of voice on the other end of the line, they imagine the person behind the voice. If they like what they hear, chances are they will perceive you as knowledgeable and confident. If they don’t like your tone of voice, it makes them want to disconnect or speak to a supervisor. Your voice is a strong asset for helping customers to trust you.

WORD CHOICE. Another important component of communication is word choice. Customer service agents must remember a few guidelines about the words they choose to speak to customers.

One rule of exceptional customer service is that there are some things that must never be said to customers. When communicating with the customer, it is imperative to avoid saying, “I don’t know.” Customers want and expect you to know.

Another one of the biggest no-no’s is the word, no. Research has repeatedly shown that customers don’t want to hear the word, no, even when “no” is the accurate response. No customer wants to hear what they cannot have.

In addition to avoiding certain words, agents must always strive to state a positive before the negative when interacting with customers. Tell the customer in a positive way what you can do, not what you cannot do. I call this practice “reframing”. Dealing with customers in this manner will turn someone who is disappointed in your product or service into a cheerleader for your company. Of course, what you do is more important than what you say. But whether it’s good news, bad news, or simply passing on information, your choice of words will have a significant effect on the way the customer hears what you’re saying, and consequently the way they feel and react.

Lastly, when focusing on word choices, remember to keep it simple. Do not overwhelm the customer with too much information or confusing industry jargon, technical terms and acronyms.

Four Points to Remember:

  • Customer service is 80 percent attitude and 20 percent technique. It is very important to the success of a company that every single employee is focused on maintaining a positive attitude.
  • Never say “I don’t know” or “no” to a customer. If they ask you a question to which you do not know the answer, first say what you do know, such as, “I know that John will be able to answer that question for you. May I transfer your call to John?” You must always find a way around saying “no” right away in the conversation. If a customer asks for something that you cannot do, start by saying what you can do.
  • Asking effective questions improves the communication process. Empower your customer so that they ask for the help they need. Help them to help you believe in exceptional service.
  • Having a positive posture plays a role in effective communication. So long as you are positive and friendly, you will have customers who are loyal to you and your company.

Subscribe to this blog to automatically receive future updates. Or, pick up a copy of my book, “Customer Service New Rules,” for a more in-depth perspective on customer service

Visit my Web site, Global Learning Partners, Inc., for more information on how I can help your business!

February 15, 2012 at 7:18 pm Leave a comment

5 Components of Communication That Can Affect the Profits of Your Business (Just One Missing Piece Could Jeopardize Your Business). — PART 1

The word, ambassador, generally means the highest-ranking diplomat who represents their country or government and serves as its official representative. So, how does this word relate to customer service?

Customer service agents today must view and consider themselves as an official messenger and representative for the business in which they are employed. In other words, today’s customer service agent must be an “ambassador” with a mission and a strong purpose. A customer service ambassador must be able to communicate effectively with a diverse population that includes both customers and prospects. This is a skill that requires training.

In my book, “Customer Service New Rules“, I explain how effective communication is a catalyst for exceptional customer service. Both communication over the phone and face to face can be very complex. Everything we do conveys something. Whenever contact is made with a customer, communication occurs. A person’s body language and tone of voice are factors that convey more meaning than the words that they use. 70 to 90 percent of communication that is received by the listener/customer is screened out or reinterpreted.

Attitude, appearance, posture, tone of voice, and word choice are all factors that make-up a model for communication. All of these factors can contribute to the customer either having a positive or negative experience with your customer service agent.

In Part 1 of this blog, I am elaborating on two of these factors:

1. ATTITUDE. Attitude is a key element of communicating with internal and external customers. Customer service consists of 80 percent attitude and 20 percent technique. Customers expect to interact with positive, upbeat people. At the end of the day, an employee’s attitude has the potential to either make a boring job fun or a fun job boring. We are in control of our attitude. Because we are in control of our attitude, we must continually practice creating a positive inner dialogue. This especially true if you sometimes find your service to others to be a challenge.

2. APPEARANCE. We’ve all heard the saying, “You can’t judge a book by its cover.” Although this may be true, people still draw conclusions from preconceived notions about each other. Like it or not, your appearance sends a message! Your appearance subconsciously impacts and affects how you feel, thus impacting how you interact with your internal and external customers — even over the phone! Your appearance and the message it sends is critically important and needs to be appropriate for your position within the organization.

Are you following the organization’s dress code? Customers see you as the company. It does not matter if you are the receptionist, field representative or the hospital operator — you are the organization. Dress professionally for the position you hold within the organization. It will infuse motivation into your day.

Subscribe to this blog to automatically receive future updates. Or, pick up a copy of my book, “Customer Service New Rules”, for a more in-depth perspective on customer service.

Visit my Web site, Global Learning Partners, Inc., for more information on how I can help your business!

February 2, 2012 at 5:18 am Leave a comment


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