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Effective Customer Communication Skills


Published on

How to communicate effectively with your customer using face to face, telephone and
written communication

Published in: Education
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Effective Customer Communication Skills

  1. 1. • At the end of this training session, you should be able to: • Identify the key components of effective communication • Note the do‟s and don‟ts of • Face to face communication • Telephone communication and • Written communication • Determine how to verify that your communication has been effective.
  2. 2. • Communicating Effectively with your Customer – • What does it entail?• Face to Face Communication with the Customer• Telephone Communication with the Customer• Written Communication with the Customer• Has Your Communication Been Effective?
  4. 4. • Communication is the art of transmitting • information, • ideas and • attitudes from one person to another.• Communication is the process of meaningful interaction among human beings
  5. 5. • Effective Communication . . . • It is two way. • It involves active listening. • It reflects the accountability of the speaker and listener. • It utilizes feedback. • It is clear. • It achieves one or more of the goals of communication
  6. 6. To get and give information To persuade To ensure understanding To get action To change behaviour
  7. 7. • Because we rely on Communication for everything • Have you ever • Received appreciation from your client? • Given information to a customer or colleague? • Received a pat at the back for excellent performance? • Smiled back at someone in response to a smile? • Answered a telephone call? • Written a report or letter to your customer? All these can only be achieved through COMMUNICATION
  8. 8. • Communication creates an image about you and your company as well• Excellent communication can build positive and long lasting relationships with customers
  9. 9. Visual Writing Image Body COMMUNICATE Speakinglanguage
  10. 10. Verbal The words we chooseMessages Must be brief, succinct, and organized, free of jargon and do not create resistance in the listenerPara-verbal How we say the wordsMessages It refers to the messages that we transmit through the tone, pitch, and pacing of our voices.Nonverbal Our body languageMessages They are the primary way that we communicate emotions Facial Expression Postures and Gestures
  11. 11. • Receiving messages requires• Involves concentration • Paying attention to the • Giving full and energy words and feelings that physical attention• Involves a are being expressed psychological • Maintaining eye contact to the speaker; connection with the with the customer • Being aware of speaker • Body awareness the speakers• Includes a desire and through the use of nonverbal willingness to try and gestures and see things from responsive expressions messages; anothers perspective – yes, okay, that‟s right• Requires that we etc. suspend judgment andActive evaluation Non Verballistening verbal
  12. 12. Rate of Faster rate of speech indicates anger or impatience Slower rate of speech indicates fatigue and disinterestSpeec These indications might be misleading however the averageh rate of speech should be 125-150 words per minuteTone 85% of verbal communication happens through our tone or attitude Energy portrays the Service Attitude Confidence portrays the Care for our CustomerChoice Be clear and concise do not repeat the sentences more than twice however, repeat it if requiredof Ensure proper sentence formation with correct tense andWords grammar, it makes you more confident
  13. 13. • Many of us think “ Communication” means just speaking• We think about • formulating sentences well, • using eloquent words or • being succinct or funny, but we usually never think about achieving the goals of our communication• Those who do realize it are probably the “most effective communicators”
  14. 14. Barriers to communication• Language• Values and beliefs• Sex/gender and age• Economic status• Educational level• Physical barriers• Attitude• Timing• Understanding of message• Trust
  16. 16. Most customers prefer face to face communication because it is the most effective.• These three basic factors in face-to-face communication carry the following percentages of impact in terms of effectiveness: • words 7% of impact • tone of voice 38% of
  17. 17. • Opens two-way communication• Allows for immediate response to • questions, • misinterpretations, • feedback, etc.• Takes advantage of voice and body language to deepen understanding of what is being communicated.
  18. 18. • Face to face is used: • when you have to share or give information that will affect the customer • when the information being communicated needs immediate attention • when you have to answer questions directly and immediately
  19. 19. • DO • give your customer your undivided attention • listen, • really listen, • give full attention • give your customer honest, direct and comprehensive information • treat your customer‟s ideas and concerns as critical and serious • Don‟t belittle their concerns
  20. 20. • DON‟T • tell your customer “what”, • tell them • “why, how, and the larger picture” • make the conversation one-way. • Invite responses -- discuss and debate • answer the phone or take a call when a customer is in your office or when talking to a customer. • If you really have to take the call apologize to the customer first before you do.
  21. 21. • DON‟T • wait too long to ask for or give feedback to your customer, gather information immediately • hold back bad news. Treat people as intelligent adults, they want to hear the truth
  22. 22. 1. Make an agenda and stick to it. • Send it out before the meeting, if possible2. Be clear about the reasons for and goals of the meeting3. Watch the time, do not overrun, stick to the agenda4. Add humor, allow for laughter, have fun • it leads to a much more productive meeting
  23. 23. • Poor Preparation• Ignored agenda• Poor time management• Lack of participation• Strong personalities• Lack of humor and fun• No/poor closing
  25. 25. • Think of the telephone as the office reception - the first place the customer visits.• Every call is a performance and you have a new audience every performance!• Have an objective in mind before you answer the phone, • ie „I want to help‟ - don‟t just answer it because its ringing.• Speak with enthusiasm, as if speaking to a friend. • Use inflection in your voice, lower the pitch. This conveys sincerity and confidentiality.• Smiling is the one type of „body language which translates well on the phone.
  26. 26. • Ensure that you don‟t bang the receiver into anything when picking up the call. • Your customer will hear if that happens and may read meaning into it• Answer the call within as few rings as possible.• Speak clearly, identify your company and yourself. • Don‟t start speaking before you put the receiver to your mouth.
  27. 27. • Mind Your Manners! • Don‟t grab a ringing phone because it shows impatience and lack of interest in the customer. • And other customers may be watching you… • Don‟t bang down the receiver • Don‟t stop in the middle of a conversation to ask a colleague a question • Try and stop „multi-tasking‟ whilst talking on the telephone. • This encourages you to find answers quickly and ensure that you give the caller 100% attention
  28. 28. • Mind Your Manners! • Try not to make comments about your callers to other staff - sooner or later another customer will hear you! • Never, ever, talk about customers in a derogatory manner
  29. 29. • Speak clearly, try and use the customer‟s name if you have it• Let them „hear‟ you smile• Provide information, especially numbers, slowly so the customer can write it down• Ask if there‟s anything else you can help with• Remember these are real people even though you can‟t see them
  30. 30. • When you don‟t know the answer… • Never say you don‟t know • Be Honest and say „I don‟t know but I‟ll try and find out” • Ask if you may put the caller on hold or take his number and promise to call him back• When an absent colleague will know the answer... • Always keep the customer informed as regards what you are doing • Explain how you are going to find out the information - if necessary, tell the customer when you will call him back • Never use negative language ie „um, er, I haven‟t a clue‟, „that‟s not my job • People are usually patient about waiting for an answer if they
  31. 31. • Answering Two Calls • If you are on a long call and another line/two lines are ringing...• If another line rings persistently • See if another colleague can answer the call • Ask the person you are speaking to if they mind if you answer the other telephone • Politely explain to the second caller that you are busy with another customer - take their details and promise to call them back as soon as possible • Go straight back to first caller • Apologise for the interruption • Thank him/her for their patience • Continue with the enquiry • REMEMBER to call back the second customer and apologise for the delay
  32. 32. • Vary your tone – it makes it more pleasant to listen to you and you don‟t sound monotonous.• Emphasize important words• Use the „dramatic‟ pause – ie. pause after important points. • This will stimulate attention and the customer will pay closer attention.
  33. 33. • Acknowledge the person‟s feelings and apologise – • „I‟m sorry that happened‟• Sympathise - „I understand how you feel‟• Accept 100% responsibility for the call• Prepare to help - „I‟ll try and help‟ - present a willing attitude. • Listen, jot down information, try not to interrupt. • Remain calm• Remember the customer isn‟t angry with you! • Don‟t take their hostility personal
  34. 34. • Summarise • State what action you are taking • Use customer‟s name if you have it • Ask if there‟s anything else you can do • Say thank you • Say good-bye • Try and let the customer hang up first
  36. 36. • Reports• Letters• Newsletters• Handwritten notes
  37. 37. • Creates a permanent record• Allows you to store information for future reference• Easily distributed• All recipients receive the same information• Necessary for legal and binding documentation
  38. 38. • May seem extremely formal• Must be well written, straightforward and concise• Written communications are usually not read right away
  39. 39. • DO -- realize it is not read as soon as it is received• DO -- make sure that there is enough time to prepare and send, and for the recipient to receive and digest• DO -- assess writing skills, if poor -- get help
  40. 40. • DO -- outline key points before producing a draft• DO -- always draft a written piece and then reduce all unnecessary language -- be brief• DO -- proof-read very carefully before any document is distributed
  41. 41. • DON‟T -- use this form of communication if writing is full of errors -- this reflects poorly on the writer• DON‟T -- use if communication is time sensitive. If immediate feedback is necessary -- use email
  43. 43. In most forms of communication, confusion & frustration are caused by failing to be specific …..Make it clear, brief and concise…..
  44. 44. • Ask questions• Use pauses• Spell out difficult words• Don‟t speak too quickly or use idioms• Summarise the information given at the end of the conversation
  45. 45. • Concentrate and avoid listening to other conversations at the desk• Acknowledge other waiting customers• Hold your tongue - don‟t ASSUME you know what the customer wants or jump to conclusions• Don‟t interrupt.• Ask questions and use conversation cues -• „Yes‟, „I see‟, „I understand‟.