6 Strategies for Approaching Customer Conversations Wisely

All good businesses work to understand their customers. Whether they’re tracking funnel metrics or seeking customer feedback, a business evolves to meet their demands.

Customer service is an excellent way to boost your marketing efforts, but we should treat it as an end in itself. It is very important to consider how your staff speaks to customers, the channels used and how the conversation looks.

Taking a holistic approach to customer conversations will position your business much better to deal with issues and maintain or expand your customer numbers. Let’s take a look at how to do this.

1. Use The Right Channels

Today’s customers have more channels than ever to communicate with your business. For customer service to be effective, we need to understand their nature. Then we can solve customers’ problems much more effectively as different channels allow messages in different formats and purposes.
communication levels
Image source: Dialog box

Generally speaking, we communicate with customers through five channels: live chat, email, social media, phone calls and text messaging. Live chat and social media are good for quick, simple queries or to get attention to a more important issue. Conversely, phone and email conversations are ideal for in-depth dialogue. Even if you can’t talk to customers via mobile, you can use mobile messaging to build customer loyalty.

You don’t have to use every channel, but understanding their quirks and expectations allows you to address concerns more effectively. It also helps you prioritize communication – live chat requires quick response while email can handle asynchronous conversations.

Remember, you and your customers can switch between channels. For example, you might see a negative comment about one of your products on Twitter and offer to discuss it more deeply by email. If necessary, you can also transfer customers to another staff member.

2. Use Technology Correctly

Technology helps us talk to our customers more effectively, but there are limits to what it can do. Get the latest innovations like chatbots. They are ideal for simple queries but struggle with anything more specific. Even if your services include a human element, impersonal elements (like tickets) can disappoint and turn your customers off.

Use technology to serve customers’ needs. When things get too complicated, you may want to set up chatbots to direct customers to a staff member. You can also automate tasks that don’t require human touch, like booking an appointment.

It’s a good idea to anticipate frequently asked questions and answer them in an FAQ or similar resource. If you need to explain more complex topics in small chunks, try looking at blogging platforms. Whatever you decide, it allows you to spend more time on meaty customer issues. It also accommodates people who like to find the answers themselves.

self-service
Image source: Zendesk

3. Track All Conversation

One of the things that frustrates a customer is having to explain the same problem to different people. If you need to transfer a client from one professional to another, everyone in the conversation should have access to the same information.

The best way to achieve this is with a CRM solution. You should be able to consolidate customer information and conversation history from multiple channels in one place. Make sure anyone who needs access can do it, including sales and support teams. Doing so will reduce customer dissatisfaction and enable your staff to work more efficiently.

If your customer service includes something sensitive or a large data file, choosing to fax virtually can make your job a little easier.

4. Consider Message Basics

In addition to your communication channels, you should also consider whether your responses meet the basic messaging criteria. Your staff will likely be familiar with common customer needs, but it still helps to think about the tricks of messaging.

All messages need to convey accurate information (and let coworkers take over or check messages as needed). They also need to address the specific concern for which context from the customer history is useful.

Even with lots of customer contexts, you may not be in the best position to address a particular query, so make sure your business has the appropriate messenger – can you transfer customers to the right person or to the right team if needed?

Another concern is timing, which has an impact on things beyond customer service. You’ll probably get more complex queries that need more time to resolve at certain times of the day. If so, allow time for support teams to deal with these issues and avoid scheduling other events (such as meetings) during this time frame. Customers who feel that their concerns are not being addressed will openly report this to their friends and connections.

Customer information
Image source: User brain

More generally, consider how you prioritize customer messages. For example, emails mentioning bugs, glitches, or similar issues should be answered first, while requests for information or plan change requests can wait.

If your staff has trouble answering questions quickly and accurately, consider outsourcing to a call center. This allows your staff to concentrate on tasks and do their best.

5. Consider the Customer’s Perspective

Of course, we must consider the customers themselves in our approach to speaking. Even if you’ve tried to anticipate common problems, some of your staff’s customer interactions will likely be stressful.

People they talk to may be impatient or condescending and want your staff to respond in the same way. In such a case, you can be sure that your customers will share their experiences with others, and as a result, you may lose potential customers.

Naturally, your staff are professionals and will not resort to such tactics, but an excellent way to defuse the situation is to put yourself in your customers’ shoes. Most likely, they didn’t mean to be insulting or belittling, and their response could be because they misinterpreted something or a genuine mistake in your business.

Encourage staff to listen to your customers’ side of the story. This will help them get the information they need to fix the problem. Don’t be afraid to ask questions or apologize if you’ve made a mistake somewhere. It’s not guaranteed to soften your customers, but you’ll have a fair chance to do so.

6. Be Diplomatic

There are times when the customer is at fault or focused on the wrong thing (like the perceived incompetence of your staff). It can be difficult to move the conversation in the right direction without actively conflicting with your client, and it’s unlikely to improve their mood.

Statistics on customer service
Image source: Proprofs

In this case, it’s a good idea to focus on the problem the client is facing and divert attention from what the client considers important. Staff should acknowledge the complaint, but then focus on guiding the customer back to the task at hand.

If nothing else, remember that retaining existing customers is preferable to looking for new ones. Attracting a new customer costs five times more than retaining the one you already have, so you need to spend time and money building trust and encouraging purchase. Care and attention now will save you money later.

Isn’t it time to put these six important tips to work?

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