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Do you know the top 5 rules for how to talk with customers?

By Lisa Goldsberry

52033064_s.jpgPR tips to make your company a communications star

We all have personal anecdotes about poor customer service and businesses behaving badly. A business needs customers to like and trust it enough to make a purchase, so why do so many get it wrong? Often, the problem starts with simply the way employees talk with customers.

How you communicate with your customers can set the tone for your entire organization, whether it be through customer service on the phone, on social media or on a sales visit. Communication can mean the difference between turning a lead into an ambassador for your brand and creating a consumer review site nightmare. With these public relations tips, you can learn how to turn every interaction into a triumph.

What you need to know about customer communications

Unfortunately, you only have one chance to get it right. Studies show that more than 85 percent of customers will turn to a competitor if they are not happy with the customer service. And they don’t often give you a second chance to make a first impression.

Rule No.1: There’s a real, live person on the other end.

Although it’s easy to fall into the habit of seeing only computer screens and dollar signs, always remember that you are talking to another human being. Address the customer by name if possible and tell him yours. Common courtesies like “please,” “thank you” and “have a nice day” go a long way toward making your customer feel good. This is especially important when communicating by email or social media where you can’t see or hear your audience.

Rule No. 2: Don’t overcomplicate things.

Using jargon, little known legal terms or formal business-speak will turn people off. For example, don’t say “disambiguate” when what you mean is “to make things easier.” Conversational language and sincerity work much better than talking over someone’s head or pulling out the thesaurus when a simple “I’m sorry” will do. Also, in today’s busy world, it’s best to keep messages as short as possible.

Rule No. 3: Maintain a positive attitude.

We all know business can sometimes be frustrating and some customers are just not easy to deal with. Keeping a positive attitude can be particularly difficult when the customer is complaining, angry or wishing your product could do something it’s not made to do (“It would be so great if your toy made for toddlers could also be enjoyed by teenagers!”). Negative words such as “we don’t” and “no” do nothing to improve customer relations. Instead you can say something like, “Thanks for that suggestion, Carolyn. I will discuss it with our development team.”

Rule No. 4: Conversation is a two-way street.

You learn nothing if you do all the talking. Also, ask the right kinds of questions to keep the conversation going and get to the root of the customer’s issue. For instance, instead of telling the customer to contact you if he has other problems, ask if you successfully answered his question in the first place and what else you can do to keep him satisfied with your product.

Rule No. 5: Hire a PR firm to help you.

Good customer interactions don’t always get attention, but poor service and communications usually wind up on every review site and social media platform. In addition to handling promotions and crises, PR folks are communications experts and they can help you get it right.

At Axia Public Relations, we will help you find the right tone and develop the right messages to keep your audience coming back for more. Contact us or download our e-book Maximizing Your Public Relations Investment to learn how we can improve your company’s customer relations.

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Lisa-G-Color-SM.jpgLisa Goldsberry is a blogger for Axia Public Relations with more than 15 years of public relations experience. She specializes in business and technology PR. Lisa has worked for Axia since December 2013. Learn more about Lisa Goldsberry. Connect with Axia on Twitter @axiapr or tell us what you think in the comments below.







Featured image credit: 123rf.com

Topics: public relations, corporate communications, shared media

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