Whether you are working for a private business or a nonprofit organization, effective communication will always play an integral role in your overall success at your company. At the end of the day, it is no secret that many hiring managers and recruiters are looking for qualified candidates that are already equipped with strong verbal and nonverbal communication skills. The reason why is that during the day-to-day operations within the office, you will be required to constantly communicate across a wide range of departments. While many companies will invest a large amount of their time, money, and resources into strong and viable communication, it is imperative that you reflect and internalize your own personal strengths and weaknesses with this overall skill. This type of reflective mentality will allow you to identify your own personal and professional flaws that you can alter to be a more confident and effective worker at your office. Remember, rock stars are not born; they are made. All you need to do is take that first step and the rest will come to you.
Now, for this particular editorial, I would like to speak more loudly on improving the customer service communication than internal communication within the office. If you would like to learn more about how to effectively communicate as manager or supervisor, you can visit my previous blog here: Scott Storick, Managerial Communication.
When we talk about client communication and customer services, we are initially talking about confidence and control. For this to be translated appropriately, you have to of course gauge the overall perspective of the client. Remember, good communication is about putting yourself in the position of your clients. Don’t be afraid to ask those overarching questions like: Why do they want to talk? What are they interested in talking about? Is this going to be a delightful experience or an absolute nightmare? By evaluating the overall situation in a holistic manner, you will be able to better prepare your side with the necessary information and tools your client or customer will want to hear. The worst thing you want to do to yourself is find yourself blindsided with various questions about numbers and progress and not having a strong and sufficient answer to back up your claims.
Now during the course of conference calls and emails, you want to make sure you are providing a sufficient amount of information to the table. Much of my advice to clients is based on being informed, and for good reason. All of us gravitate toward that one person who always seems to have the answer. It is that idea of being one step ahead of the game that gives the person you are talking to the necessary reassurance and trust that you are working with them than with their money. One of the things I like to do is of course provide some engagement task with my own personal clients. This type of information not only challenges your clients to think, but also have them explore new intellectual territory. By establishing that type of conversation, you will be able to ultimately build that much need trust for your future relationship with that person.
Now during this process, as much as you want to take control of the situation, you also want to be attentive and observant to their needs. For many of these calls, your client will contact you because of a misunderstanding within the contract or a miscommunication with the number of products delivered. My advice is simple; just listen. Humanizing many of your calls can help diminish any negative emotions coming into these customer service meetings. It will also give you a chance to control the situation even if you do not have the answer. For many of these cases, customers and clients just want to vent their frustration. Once that is all said and done, you are able to provide them with the necessary information to move forward into a better place.
The last piece of advice is more to do with you than anything. Be confident in your own personal abilities. At the end of the day, you are the expert on the call. If you weren’t, they wouldn’t be calling you for your help. By internalizing that one small piece of information, you will be able to remove those barriers and improve your abilities with customer communication. Just think of it like this. How would you react if you were in their situation? In the grand scheme of things, you would probably react the same. All you need to do is calmly and respectfully control the discussion so that you can move it into a more informative and effective call.