As a home Internet business owner, you are in charge of effective communications with your clients.
Good clear communications lead to happy clients who feel their questions have been answered and their needs taken seriously.
Happy customers mean customers who are more likely to stay and do business with you, making sound business communications good for your reputation and your profits.
What can you do to improve your client communications?
Brush Up on Your Listening Skills
Have you ever talked to someone who you just know isn’t really listening? Frustrating, isn’t it?
That’s why it’s vital that your customers feel you have truly listened to them. Your customers should hang up the phone or close the email feeling like their concerns have been heard.
Make use of active listening skills, such as repeating back what customers say, to be sure that you understand their issue.
Ask questions that will help further your understanding, and show that you have empathy for them.
Lastly, choose your time carefully though – interrupting your customers will come across as rude and uncaring, so avoid it if you can.
Have a Clear Aim in Mind
As the article “5 Lessons About Business Communications” points out, it’s useful to know before you start what you would like someone to do with the information you give them. Think carefully about the action you would like them to take after talking to you.
For customers this could range from trying a different approach to solving a problem, to letting you know whether or not they are satisfied with what you are saying.
When you have a clear aim in mind, you can communicate that clearly, leaving you both with a clear understanding of what has been said, and what happens next.
Mind the Knowledge Gap
It’s easy to assume that just because you understand something, your customers will too. However, this isn’t necessarily the case, especially if you are talking about technology such as ordering online, or about an electronic product.
When talking to your customers, phrase things in a way that is clear and easy to understand according to their knowledge level.
That way, they won’t feel like you’re talking a different language, and you won’t feel frustrated by their lack of understanding.
Choose Your Words Carefully
It really is true that words have power.
Whether talking on the telephone, or communicating on social media, the words you choose really matter.
The way you phrase things can make a difference between whether your customers see you as helpful and empathetic, or patronizing and confrontational.
For example, be wary of statements such as “you need to do this” or “I can’t help you unless you do this”.
Instead, try saying “Let’s try this first and see what happens”, or “this would be really helpful”.
Be mindful too of technical terms and slang which may be confusing for customers who lack your technical knowledge, or those who don’t speak English as a first language.
Stay in Touch
Good communications aren’t just a one-time event.
Keeping in touch with your customers will show them that you care about them and value their custom in the long term, not just on the day they get in touch with you.
After dealing with a customer, whether to sell something, answer a question or handle a complaint, be sure to do a follow up a few days later, and then again in the future if need be. Check in with them to find out if their issues are resolved and they’re happy with your service.
Strong business communications will boost your customer service and help you to solve customers’ issues in a timely and helpful manner.
Your customers will feel truly heard and your reputation will be strengthened as a result.
Photo credit: Image courtesy of renjith krishnan at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
About the Author: Tristan Anwyn writes on a wide variety of topics, including branding, inbound marketing, business communications and social media.