Finding out and using your customer’s preferred method of communication is huge. I’ve seen it make or break a relationship more times than I can count.
Just recently, I had a client, Sally, share a story about how it nearly ruined a relationship. Sally had been working with a customer that required a lot of updates as they worked on her project. Happy to oblige, Sally had been talking on the phone with the customer three to four times a week.
You can imagine Sally’s surprise when her supervisor pulled her in and shared that the customer had complained that they weren't receiving any updates. Sally had been updating them on a regular basis, more frequently than most of Sally’s customers. However, Sally had not been using her customer’s preferred method of communication, email.
So whose fault was it? The customer’s for not sharing that preferred method ahead of time? Or Sally’s for not finding it out and using it?
We often have much more of the customer care process in our control, if we’ll just be proactive. If part of Sally’s process was to ask what the preferred method of communication was, she could have avoided the entire situation.
You may have heard a client tell you, “We never hear from you,” when you know you just talked to someone there yesterday! In their minds, it could be all about emails. Or maybe they want you to touch base on the phone. Or they even may prefer that you swing by in person.
Understanding how your customers prefer to communicate is extremely important. Sometimes that sounds simple, but it’s a behavior you have to change.
First, you have to remember to start asking. That may be difficult enough. But after that, you need to take steps to meet the preference or work out a compromise that suits the customers needs.
Remember, we all come into every communication situation with our expectations, and with the other party’s expectations. If you don’t find out their expectations, it’s your fault, not theirs.
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There is a hidden sales force within your company right now...
Where can you find this hidden sales force? In the customer service department.