Clients are the most important elements for contemporary enterprises. In marketing terminology, such approach is called client orientation. This attitude is a contradiction to earlier marketing concepts, namely: product orientation and production orientation. Clients and their needs should be of utmost importance to every modern enterprise.
Every element of an enterprise should be so constructed as to fulfill the needs of a target client group. It is well known that a company should be highly flexible as the needs and expectations of consumers change rapidly and frequently. Effective communication with clients is a key element in the process of adjustment to new situations on the market. There is a cohesive list of practical hints on how the communication processes between clients and companies should look like. This article aims at presenting those hints.
Some basic conditions
Every company aims at making communication between it and its clients as effective as possible at all times. It is unacceptable to have any distortions in communication or any other problems that could make this process ineffective. The difficult art of listening to others, using body language appropriately, and asking questions all play a very important role in the process of communication between a company and its clients. It is essential to an enterprise’s success that its employees, especially those who are responsible for direct contacts with clients, learn the abovementioned skills. Clients who interact with a company do it in hope that they will be listened to, that the employees will express an understanding for their needs and problems, and that the metaphorical cure for their problems shall be found cooperatively. Generally speaking, clients want companies to approach them in an individual manner and with great attention.
One – company initiative
Employees who work at customer service points should express a high degree of initiative. Contemporary clients prove to be so demanding that active listening is no longer enough. It is highly welcomed to have employees who show some initiative when faced by their clients. A good employee should posses the ability to step into his or her clients’ shoes, see the problem from their perspective and propose some solutions or upgrades. There is no doubt that an employee should first carefully listen to clients and ask them some additional questions that will adequately depict their situation. In fact, many clients have their own ideas on how to solve their problems or satisfy their needs. They can simply expect a company to make those wishes real. However, if employees’ suggestions prove to be better than the ones proposed by the client, the company will most probably gain another loyal customer. Furthermore, this client will not only be satisfied by how he was treated, he will simply be delighted.
Two – cast away all misunderstandings
There is no room for any misunderstandings in the field of communication between clients and companies. Such conditions can lead to unpleasant situations which may result in clients’ withdrawal from any interaction with a company. A client cannot feel cheated by the company, and he cannot feel that he lost something due to the interaction. The truth is that it is not difficult for such a situation to appear. One wrong word or sentence can be the cause of a company’s loss. A loyal client can simply turn towards some other company. Employees should avoid using complicated language or too much technical vocabulary, as clients might not understand the message, or they might pretend they know what we are talking about when they do not. It is best to use simple, short sentences that leave little room for interpretation. It is worth noting that short sentences are easier to memorize and understand. Customer service employees, tradesmen, and salesmen should have good diction. It is unacceptable for them to talk in an unclear way, or as if they were talking to themselves.
Three – choose your words wisely
Using a language that is not fully understood by our listener is a very common mistake in communication that leaves clients confused. It is hard to estimate at first glance whether or not a client has the ability to understand the complicated professional jargon that company employees use. Using complicated terminology is an act of ignorance towards a client, and this is not something we want in the process of communication. There is no room in company-client relations for showing off how competent someone is in a given field, or for boasting about the amount of technical vocabulary one knows. This is a serious communication mistake that should be avoided. It is best to use a relatively simple, but at the same time correct language when talking to clients. On the other hand, we cannot treat clients as if they were mentally handicapped or immature, as such approach can offend them.
Four – make breaks
A constant flow of words coming out of a salesman’s or other customer service employee’s mouth is not a desired communication element. During a conversation, it is worth to give clients a few seconds to allow them to think about what they heard and remember the most important points. Key elements in employee’s speech are worth stressing so that they will be better memorized by clients. While repetitions are to be avoided in written messages to our clients, in real life conversations the most important pieces of information should be repeated. We can formulate them a bit differently to be sure that we were understood correctly.
Five – ask additional questions
During a conversation with a client, it is good to make sure that he or she properly identifies the information we provide. In order to make that happen we should ask some additional questions. By doing so, we will know that clients acquired the information correctly. Many clients are embarrassed to ask salesmen questions, as they do not want to be perceived as inattentive, or as people with absolutely no knowledge of a given subject. It is even better if a salesman asks the most basic questions. It will relieve the client from unnecessary stress.
Six – make the client like you
If we want to create the best possible atmosphere in our conversation with a client, it is worth to praise him or her for something. It is enough to tell someone that he made the best possible choice by buying a particular product. Even if a client does not buy anything, it is good to praise him for being careful in making decisions. In such a case, there is a high degree of probability that the person will consider all the pros and cons and return to us in order to buy some product.
Seven – make the client remember as much as possible
People who talk with salesmen or service staff tend to have selective memory. Knowing this, it is worth to consider how we present a given product. Clients will not remember everything we say even if the information we provide is of great importance. It is easier to memorize images than numerical data. When communicating with a client, we should talk and provide pictures. Every piece of information should be supported by an image. Such method of presentation makes it easier for a client to memorize the parameters of a device or some other product. It is worth to present as creative and as dynamic images as possible, regardless of the product we offer. Generally speaking, people are better at remembering images than facts.
Eight – limit the amount of information you provide
It is a mistake to provide the client with huge amounts of information at a single occasion. We cannot overload our client with data and product parameters, as he will not be able to memorize all that information. It is inappropriate to talk about all the advantages of a product at one time, even if all those advantages are equally important. Data should be adjusted to clients. If our client is a person who has extensive knowledge in a given field, we can provide more technical information. Otherwise, it is best to avoid that. Tradesmen should create lists of advantages of a given product which can be most important for specific types of clients. They should become the key points on which product presentations should be based. Generally speaking, it is advised to provide clients with no more than five advantages at a time.
The rule of limited information applies also when providing the client with alternative means of fulfilling his or her needs. The more choices there are, the harder it is to make a decision. It is best to provide a client with two or three products to choose from.
Ten – the adjustment to client’s personality
A salesman should have the ability to adjust his or her behavior to clients’ needs in order to make them feel as the most important people during the interaction. Clients like to buy products from people who are of similar character. Therefore, the ability to fluently shift from one attitude to another is something very important for a salesman. A talkative client will feel best with a talkative salesman. Similarly, a shy person will appreciate a rather straightforward seller.
By following the hints found in this article, it is possible to create the best possible patterns of communication between clients and companies. Clients have certain models when it comes to making choices. The proper identification of those models leads to success in communication. Every time a client interacts with a seller, he should feel as the most important person, and that his needs are the seller’s highest priority. Thanks to this approach, communication will be problem-free and, what is most important, effective.
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