5 Tips for Productive Customer Interaction
1. This is a Relationship, Not a Sale
If you can build a relationship with people then their truly is nothing you can’t accomplish. On the other hand, you need relationships if you are going to survive. You cannot think about the close before you think about the opening. The opening is all about listening and engaging with the customer and learning as much as possible.
“Emotions account for over 50% of an experience.” (Colin Shaw, The DNA of Customer Experience)
A long-term relationship means repeat business. It’s much cheaper to keep a customer than to find a new one. Valued customers feel that their relationship is a personal one. When you make each customer feel special, they will remain loyal and likely increase their business with you. It is important to think like the customer because the difference between being the customer and waiting on a customer is amazing.
2. Listen Very Carefully
You do not capitalize on a customer interaction by telling them everything to know about the product. Rather, it is important to listen between the lines and collect information that they might not say, but infer. True feelings will be uncovered and you will have a better chance to capitalize.
“Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” (Stephen Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People)
Spend more time listening than talking because it may be a few minutes until you understand what the customer really wants. They will feel valued and willing to move closer to their goal, and your goal as well.
3. Using Open-Ended Questions
Instead of asking, “Do you enjoy this product,” rephrase it saying, “What do you like the most about this product.”
By asking a question that requires a more detailed answer, the other person has to elaborate and offer as much information as possible. It has been said that when asked a “yes or no” question, responders will give a yes answer over 75 percent of the time. In other words, nobody likes to say no. This means that the customer is less likely to give a true answer. This is a very powerful technique should be used when talking to anyone, not just a customer.
4. Timely Responses
Very few things annoy customers more than believing you are not being responsive. There is obviously a reason why they are talking to you. It is your job to find that reason and fulfill it.
“A responsive business is a likeable business and the business that will still exist in five years.” (Dave Kerpen, Likeable Media)
5. Prepare if Possible
Knowledge is power! If you have time before meeting with the customer, prepare yourself with materials. You want customers to be aware of the current status of the product. Some people feel that meetings are lost productivity. This is certainly not the case. Customers will learn that you can be relied upon to convey important information, even if it is not good news. The customer will learn to trust your word and will be calmer and more receptive as a result.