The Importance of Good Communication

Good communication is an extremely important aspect of any relationship, especially between a customer and a service rep, and offers the opportunity to improve your business and help your employees work consistently and effectively.

When customers call for help, they’re probably already frustrated and ready to be in control of their situation again. Here are some great methods to help them easily reach a resolution to their problem:

  • Listen – The most important part of proper communication is listening, even if it’s apparent what the customer’s going to say next. If they get off track, calmly ask questions to bring you both back to the issue at hand. If it’s still difficult to keep the customer on task, tell them “I understand how frustrating this is – do you have time for me to walk you through a couple trouble-shooting steps now?”
  • Understanding the Problem – If you need to take short concise notes in order to keep track of their call reasons, do so. This will help ensure that you are able to fully comprehend their frustration and help you start solving the problem. If they’re still having difficulty getting their point across, walk them through each complaint slowly, jotting down key phrases.
  • Summarize – Once you’ve ascertained the nature of their frustration, repeat back to them a quick synopsis of what you’ve heard – the issues at hand, what should be occurring instead, and the next step towards a solution. Pause every so often as you go over their grievances and ask them, “Did I understand this correctly?”
  • Conversation – Speak calmly and kindly. Raising your voice or quickening your speech will only elevate the situation and make it difficult for the two of you to communicate properly. If the customer becomes angry and verbally irate, never respond in kind. Take a deep breath, don’t take it personally, and lower your voice. Getting frustrated in return will affect your judgement and ability to stay clear; be persistent with a calm demeanor and tone, no matter how aggravated the customer becomes.
  • Empathy – While you don’t need to hear their life story or how their entire day has played out to feel sympathy, take 3 seconds and think about their frustration, and then acknowledge to them that you understand. Apologize for their situation, but don’t defend or blame anyone responsible with your company – it will only remind them of their irritation and hinder the trouble-shooting process.
  • The Solution – Once you’ve established the problems at hand, provide the customer with a quick summary of the next steps you’ll take to ensure as quick and easy a resolution as possible. Break it down into clear, concise steps, providing small amounts of info on what’s likely to take place in the problem-solving process. Thank them for being patient and understanding – even if you were the only one to do so.
  • Follow Through – Be helpful and pro-active, but DON’T make promises you’re unable keep. If you promise to call back, do so. Set up a time later that day/next day that’s convenient for both you and your customer, and be punctual. This conveys your desire to satisfy the customer and help resolve the issue.

Helping a customer through a problem can be stressful, but there are effective ways to lessen the stress and confusion of the interaction – take a deep breath, and remember this list of methods.