Knowing how to communicate with customers: what’s important to know

How do I communicate with customers?

Good afternoon, my name is Ivan. I am from the company XFiveX Hosting. Just recently I published a text about how you can improve your website in order to increase sales. You can read the article here.

Today I would like to reflect on a similar topic, but from a different angle, namely: how to properly communicate with customers?

Many people who own their own business have websites that strongly support that business. A lot of customers come (and go) through the sites. That’s why how you or your employees communicate with potential customers in chat, tech support and so on is very important.

Communicating with customers is quite simple, but at the same time difficult. You need to find the golden mean in communication. It is necessary to be able to give qualified answers, but at the same time to see a human being in a client.

Skewed to one side or the other will be a boomerang. If you give one by one template answers – albeit professional – the client may have the impression that he is communicating with a bot. Agree, you too do not like it when you write somewhere, and you answer with abstruse prepared answers?

Sometimes there are answers of a different kind – with flippancy (I exaggerate). In order to communicate in that golden mean, in my opinion, you only need to follow a few rules. In addition to this, these rules will also discuss the best way to convey information to the client. Before I begin, I would like to emphasize one point: What I have written below is only my own personal observations when working with clients. I do not claim to be the absolute truth of the following.

If your client receives polite and thorough answers on a regular basis, this will increase the chances that they will tell their friends about you and write positive feedback, thus allowing the “word of mouth” to work. Plus, it will retain (among other things) your current customers. In any sales training material, you can learn that any customer wants to get emotions first and foremost. That is, even from renting a VPS (what our company does) comes the desire to get emotions. For example, his website emphasizes the status of his company. These emotions are very simple – the desire to feel valued.

So, I offer you a few basics that you can use to make the client feel that he is ACTUALLY important to you.

1. Greeting the client

Unfortunately, so many companies forget about such a simple rule as greeting. More than once I got a response from the bank or other places, where after my question to me the answer was, “Ivan, …”. That is, they didn’t even say hello to me, and it’s very simple. If this is the first time you are replying to a client, the correct way to do it in the first answer is as follows:

“Client’s name, hello!”

After that, it’s the answer itself.

If your communication with the client continues, then you can continue with one name.

Of course, this question should be considered in the context of the situation. At XFiveX, we communicate this way in tickets, but it doesn’t work very well in chat, where the communication takes place here and now. It looks ridiculous when every response starts with the customer’s name. It works in communication via email or in tickets. In general, where communication is not immediate.

2. Saying goodbye to the client

Do not forget to say goodbye to the client. In addition to the standard answer “If you have any questions – ask me” sometimes you can finish the conversation with your own words. And in this case it is appropriate to use phrases such as:

  • Have a nice day!
  • Have a great day!
  • Have a nice weekend!

And so on. I think you understand.

3. be polite.

When you communicate with the client, try to capture the essence of the conversation. If you ask the client a question and he answers it in detail, it’s important to thank him for the information provided.

4. Be lenient

Now we’re going to go behind the scenes of our company. One of our staff members said to the customer “You did this and that, so it is LOGICAL to assume that it won’t work. This answer was given to the client after his letter, where he said that he tried to solve the issue on his own. Alas, this has happened in our company as well. No one is perfect, but we strive. If you think about this answer, it begs the question: who makes sense? It makes sense to our employee, because he was trained for this, spent a lot of time studying and knows all the intricacies, but it does not make sense to the client. He just made an assumption, and he was made to feel stupid. No one likes that. Even if the client is talking nonsense you need to stay calm.

If you see that the client is clearly wrong, you can say “let’s try this one more way”.

I understand that this isn’t always possible, but if you can tell the client that his version doesn’t work so that he doesn’t feel that you’re smarter than he is, then you should do this.

Always communicate calmly with clients. You are smarter in YOUR field, that’s a fact, but don’t try to prove it to them.

5. Be empathic.

One of the tricks of successful client interactions is being able to “mirror” them. For example, a client writes you a large text. You read that text and take the basis from it. For example, the client writes that his site doesn’t open. And you might reply to him:

“Name, hello, I’m sorry that your site isn’t opening. We will do our best to fix the problem. Please clarify ……… Thank you! “

A feature like this lets the customer know that they have definitely been heard. “Mirroring” is not always appropriate. So it’s important not to overdo it here.

6. Be detailed

This point echoes the previous one. Write to the client about the work done. Not just “We did it – check it”, but “We rebooted your server. Check, please. Thank you! “. In general, do not forget to write “thank you” and “please” more often.

7. Be on the same page

Find a common language with clients. I’ve often seen clients write that they don’t understand the topic, but they don’t get on with it in a more straightforward and human way. If the client doesn’t understand the topic and there is an opportunity to write more simply, write. I will tell you a story as an example: our new client called me on the phone and said that he didn’t know how to make a request to the technical support. I went through the whole process with him step by step. That is, I was on the phone, I said to him: “Do you see on the left in your personal account so-and-so inscription? Click on it. Did you click on it? Now a window should open and in the first column you have to select. “.

You can also write very detailed instructions. If a client asks something, you can give a link to it. True, we personally have had cases where the client wrote that the instruction did not help him. Here it is important to be on the same page with him and explain in detail how and what to do.

I understand that the above are the basics that everyone seems to know. But if you or your employees are having trouble communicating with customers, try following these easy rules. It’s especially good to do if you don’t have too much customer traffic and have time to work with everyone fully. Sometimes there are force majeure situations when you need to quickly resolve a client’s issue, rather than curtsy (in our case, if something happened to the client’s site). Always be guided by the situation.

20 Commandments of good communication with the client

Is it possible to answer the client’s questions before he asks them? Speak to the client in a friendly way or in an official tone? In what time frame should you respond to questions in the mail? How do you make a client happy and repeatable?

We’ve hit a lot of bumps in our search for answers to these questions. The price of a mistake in communicating with the client can be too high and the rake you step on is sometimes golden. But as a result we have gained invaluable experience and developed a strategy for communicating with customers, which we now want to share.

Here is an excerpt from our internal document, which is obligatory for every manager-beginner in Alconost. So, here are the 20 commandments of quality communication with the customers:

General principles

Respond quickly Respond to customer emails quickly, ideally within one or two hours. If it takes some time to reply (e.g., the volume of the text for translation is to be calculated), you should reply immediately, confirm receipt of the letter and inform the customer about the expected time of reply. For example, “Thank you, we received your document. We should be able to give you a detailed quote within one day.

Fifth-grader Client Treat the client as a child who has little understanding of our work. Remember: what is obvious to us may not be at all obvious to the client. Describe every detail in detail, explain each of your actions, try not to use highly specialized terms.

Communicate with the client as with a friend A formal formal syllable with long, complicated sentences is bad. This style of communication alienates us from our customers. It’s also difficult to understand. Talk to customers as with friends over dinner. Simple phrases, short sentences. Relevant information plus a little humor. Without unreasonable familiarity and with respect. Before you say something to a client, think about whether or not you would say it in this exact wording to a friend.

As many questions, as many answers Often clients ask several questions in one email. But unfortunately, few of them format the questions as a numbered list. We need to do that job for them. Carefully “scan” the client’s email, isolate all the questions and answer them exactly in the order in which they were asked. Forgetting to answer any question is a minus to our karma.

Questions in a list If we have several questions to ask the client, it’s better to make them in a numbered list to make it easier for the client to isolate all the questions and answer each of them.

When describing the cost of the service, make it a rule to describe everything that is included in it, even the most obvious things. For example, the cost of video production includes developing a script, voice acting, and musical accompaniment.

Constant contact If a project lasts a long time and the client is no longer involved in it (for example, we have been sitting for a week and a half drawing graphics), it is important for us not to disappear, but to remind the client about ourselves every 3 days. It is best if these are intermediate results, which we certify with the client. But if there are no such results, it is enough to simply “I want to remind you that we are actively working on the graphics of the video, the result will be shown in X days. Constant contact is VERY important.

Progress report If the client asks you to do something in an e-mail – do not only fulfill the request, but also report on it in the response letter.

Emotions Even if the client makes inappropriate remarks, we never respond rudely. Instead, we should think about the reason for the client’s behavior and take steps to address it. Emotions should never take precedence over reason when dealing with customers.

Although all managers, interpreters and video managers have working and non-working hours, clients should not know about it: the entire company has no weekends, the service operates 24/7, we adjust to the client, not adjust the client to himself.

Smell from the kitchen And we also don’t need to tell the client about the details of our work: sick videomen, national holidays for the editor in Spain, snowstorms and power outages for translators in different parts of the world – all this smell of our kitchen should remain in it, the client doesn’t need it. The client only needs to know the result: how and when their problem will be resolved. Of course, in some cases you can’t do without explanations, make a decision individually based on your experience and the client’s feeling.

Empathy and WOW

Do more than it takes: earn WOW If you can easily do more than the client asks, by all means do it. The layout of a translation, a short version of a clip, a free voiceover of a couple of forgotten lines – all this costs us not much, but causes a sincere wow in the client’s heart. Decide on the threshold between “we can do it for free” and “it will increase the budget of the project” by yourself based on common sense, your knowledge of the client and the advice of older comrades.

Think for the customer Always try to put yourself in the customer’s shoes. “I think your product is more suited to how-to” or “I’d still recommend choosing the Brazilian version of Portuguese. Anticipate your customer’s needs and problems and suggest solutions: “You might still want to translate the keywords for your App Store page” or “I don’t think this video should be used for a Facebook ad.

One step ahead When analyzing your customer’s email, always try to anticipate their next question and answer it right away. The benefit of this approach is twofold: it reduces the number of emails, and the customer thinks, “Wow, these guys looked into my soul!” For example: the client asked about the cost of the video, and you answered him at once about the prices, the payment methods, and the stages of payment.

Do to the customer what you want other services to do to you.

Email communication

Seamless pickup If a colleague sends an email asking you to “pick up the client” – go through the entire correspondence history and pick up the client without him noticing that someone else has started his project. Try not to ask unnecessary questions that are answered in the correspondence. If you send an email to a colleague, make sure that the full, comprehensive story goes with the email, which will help the colleague seamlessly pick up the client.

You can’t change the subject of an email during correspondence. When filtering e-mails by subject, people read the whole correspondence history. If you change even one character in the subject, the e-mail will not be included into this filter and will be lost. At the same time, if the topic of the conversation has drastically changed in the process of correspondence with the client – start a new branch of correspondence with your topic. For example, you can not discuss questions on localization in the branch with the subject “finished video”.

Talking topic should be such, that after five years you can easily find a branch of correspondence by this topic.

Reply to all Very often there are several recipients in your correspondence at once. In that case be sure to reply to all at once (the reply to all button in your email client).

Resume and call to action At the end of each email you summarize your message and remind them what kind of action you would like the client to make. In this way you “lead” the client along the right path, you program his actions the way you want and in this way you make his life easier.

After the Skype conversation, be sure to send an email to the client with a summary of the conversation and the results you came to. This way the information stays in your correspondence history and is not lost.

Last Word Try to make sure that your letter is always the last one. Thank them for their fruitful collaboration, wish them success with their project, or wish them a good weekend.

Alconost localizes apps, games and websites into 60 languages. Native translators, linguistic testing, cloud platform with APIs, continuous localization, 24/7 project managers, any format of string resources.

We also make advertising and training videos – for websites, sales, image, advertising, training, teasers, expletives, trailers for Google Play and App Store.

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