Communicating with Customers

In light of last night’s Customer Retention broadcast I thought I would post this today.

This post supports the first video blog in our series. I wanted to take my own advice and present information to you, the reader, in visual, verbal and written format. Communication is of vital importance when it comes to customer satisfaction. Most participants of the SSA tell me that communication is the single most important aspect in terms of profitability, repeat customers, and high levels of customer satisfaction. I agree with them.

I also believe that communication is important in terms of dealing with technicians in the shop, managing employees, and in creating relationships with vendors. So what is communication? Often communication is defined as moving information from one place to another or the exchange of information. Although I can’t argue with these definitions I think there is an important aspect that gets left out. In order for there to be “good” communication there must be both a sender of information and a receiver of information. In your world, you are most often the sender of information. The customer is the receiver of the information.

There will not be good communication if the sender of information does not consider:

  • How will the intended receiver like the information provided.
  • What the receiver needs to do with the information.

As a sender you must provide information in verbal, visual, and written formats. As we discuss in the Service Counter Selling Skills class this is to meet the needs of as many different learning styles as you can. You often won’t know your customer’s learning style (unless of course you ask) and therefore you must structure your half of the information exchange to support more than one learning style.

As a sender you must also consider the language you are using. Not only are you speaking English, Spanish, French, or some other language, but you are using local dialects and most likely an accent. Your customers may be locals, or they may be from far away and struggle every day to adapt to your language. Be sure that you are not using slang, jargon, “shop talk”, or terms that are technical in nature. Try to keep your language simple, easy-to-understand, and not rushed. Avoid using abbreviations in written communication. Avoid talking too fast in verbal communication. And always avoid assumptions!

There is a lot more to quality communication, but for the next week focus on presenting verbally, visually, and in writing. Keep it simple, watch your language, and clarify assumptions!

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