When we communicate with customers, there are four key stages that we should progress through. These are…
Open & Initiate
Be prepared – Anticipate the needs of the customer, with information already to hand.
Welcome – Greet customers professionally and convey a positive attitude through your tone of voice, body language and general demeanour.
Position – Where you are contacting the customer, explain the purpose and benefit to them and check that they understand and agree to the conversation. Where you are being contacted by the customer, provide a clear response to acknowledge their needs and ensure you are best placed to help them.
Listen – Remember the facts conveyed by the customer and the feelings behind their message. Ensure you note their concerns and are able to understand and appreciate their requirements.
Ask – Question customer effectively to understand their situation and what is important to them.
Restate – Ensure customer realises you understand what is being said and agree to what is being asked where relevant
Solutions & Options
Offer Information and options – Give customer information that helps them. Provide options and choices. Use explanations that are clear and free from jargon.
Set expectations – Be clear with the customer about what you can and cannot do. Be specific.
Explore further needs and gain agreement – Ask good questions. Try to assess level of agreement. Promote the available solutions.
Confirm & Close
Ask for a decision – Ensure you clearly, precisely and confidently ask for a commitment from the customer.
Summarise and check – Review the key points with the customer and check that they are happy.
Thank them – Make your customers feel important by leaving a positive message.
Follow up – Do what you said you would do. If someone else deals with the customer further on, ensure the transition is smooth and all information is passed on.
By following this clear structure, you will ensure all of your customers receive a positive experience each and every time they communicate with you. The process is simple and the tasks within it can be learnt and applied quite easily.