What is the best communication style to use with your customer?
Most definitely we should because no-one is normal. Everyone is different and we all have our own style which makes us normal. But, have you noticed how most people we meet like to do things in their own way. That’s normal too and that’s why we should pay attention to our customers and their communication style.
Recognising customer communication styles
Think back to when you met or were introduced? Was it at networking? In the pub? How did they follow up with you? Perhaps their first contact came via Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter. Did they phone, text or email you? There could be some good clues here.
Along with the introverts and extraverts, there are people who like to be in a team, people who are happy in their own company and others on the move all day. You may have customers who won’t answer their phone, or some who call you and won’t leave a message. Some like lots of detail, others just want the highlights.
I’m all about getting people paid on time, one of the ways this happens is in the way we communicate.
“Often, I find an email doesn’t work so I love to pick up the phone and have a conversation which often leads to solving a different problem”.
Written vs verbal
I have a couple of clients who love long, chatty phone calls and value face to face time. If you’re not sure what your customer’s style is, then you could just ask or simply pay attention to the little things.
Sometimes it’s worth arranging an initial face to face meeting before transitioning to email and phone to build the relationship with the client.
Should I mirror my customer?
When you have a good rapport with somebody, it happens naturally. Somewhere deep down in our neurons, us humans are conditioned for this. But, should you consciously mirror your customer’s style?
“To win at rock, paper, scissors try closing your eyes. It could help you to control an unconscious urge to imitate your opponent.” Richard Cook – University College London
Tone of message – be positive
Let’s say a that customer you’ve been waiting for gets in touch with you about a new project. You are ever so happy but worried if you have time to take it on.
Don’t say, “I am so busy, I can’t fit you in until next month shall we talk next week. With positive language, you would say: “Let’s meet/have a call and scope out the work, your deadline. I could then prepare out the proposal and have it sent to you by Friday”.
Think about how you respond to customer questions. We don’t always know the answer to everything but how would it make your customer feel if he asked something about your service and you said, “I dunno”.
It’s much better to say something like, “good point. Let me find out for you”, or “can you tell me a little more about that”.
Tone of voice – clarity and energy
Remember my blog post about whether you should make the calls whilst lying, sitting or standing.and how your posture has an impact on how you come across. If you are on the phone, do you believe that if the customer can’t see you it’s alright to stay in your pyjamas and do the call from your sofa in front of the telly?
When you call your client, your conversation will leave a much better impression if you are confident and your voice has energy, clarity and a bit of authority.
Some people like lots of detail, others just want the top level. You can do both. If you’re doing a proposal, put a summary at the top, like what, why, how and when, then put all the detail below. That way, you’re meeting the needs of both types of people.
I help a lot of people get their invoices paid on time and one of the things they ask me is when is the best time to call to chase an invoice.
In this case, it’s not about them, it’s about YOU. When picking up the phone to chase overdue invoices, it comes down to when is YOUR best time, not the best time for the client.
Most people hate confrontation which is why we sometimes avoid having conversations because we know it’s going to be difficult.
I covered this in an earlier blog with 5 ways to deal with tough customers and avoid confrontation.
Get customers talking
Build a good relationship and even the busy and shy ones like to talk so get people talking about themselves
People love to be remembered, love to talk about people and are passionate when talking about themselves.
People will remember you because you remembered them. You remembered a fact about them.
Worrying about cash flow becomes a burden. It’s stressful being concerned about paying your own bills. You can’t concentrate on building your business and giving your customers a great experience.
Led by Rachael, The Cashflow Queen, the Cashflow College is your access to Rachael’s over 20 years’ experience in getting paid on time, the processes and procedures you need in place to help this happen and the techniques needed to empower you to do this every time you raise an invoice.