Improving Verbal Communication with Customers

Improving Verbal Communication with Customers

Improving Verbal Communication with Customers

Many customer service representatives give little thought to the way that they sound to their customers. Typically, they have not received customer service skills training that addresses effective verbal communication. Similarly, they likely have not taken college or professional courses on effective interpersonal communication. The result is that they do not know how to improve their verbal communication with customers.

The following are three areas related to verbal communication that can have an impact on your success when you interact with your customers.

Articulation (sometimes called enunciation or pronunciation) refers to the clarity of your word usage. For example, if you tend to slur words (Whadju say? or I hafta go whitja) or cut off endings (goin’, doin’, gettin’, bein’), you can distort the meaning or frustrate some customers. This is especially true when communicating with customers who do not speak English well and with customers who view speech ability as an indication of educational achievement or your ability to assist them effectively. If you have a problem articulating well, practice by gripping a pencil horizontally between your teeth, reading sentences aloud, and forcing yourself to enunciate each word clearly. Over time, you will find that you slow down and form words more precisely. 

Pauses are another tool that you can use in verbal communication with customers. Pauses can have either a positive or negative impact depending on how you use them. From a positive standpoint, they can be used to allow a customer to reflect on what you just said, to indicate that you are waiting for a response, or to verbally punctuate a point you made or a sentence. The latter is done through intonation and inflection in the voice, or. On the negative side, you can irritate someone through the use of too many vocal pauses or interferences. The pauses might be audible sounds (“uh,” “er,” “um,” “uh-huh”) and are often used when you have doubts or are unsure of what you are saying, not being truthful, or nervous. They are sometimes called verbal fillers.

Silence is a form of implied communication that can be used in a number of ways, some more productive than others. Many customer service representatives have trouble dealing with silence in a conversation. This is unfortunate because silence is a good way to show respect or show that you are listening to the customer while he or she speaks. It is also a simple way to indicate that the other person should say something or contribute some information after you have asked a question.

The topic of interpersonal communication cannot be addressed adequately in a single post due to its complexity. There are many factors that impact it. For example, in addition to the way that you communicate, you have to consider factors related to your customers (e.g. example, age, gender, diversity factors, and education level).

To expand your knowledge of the topic of verbal communication with customers, I suggest that you view other posts in this blog, search the Internet, read books, and attend workshops on the subject.

Three Customer Relationship Building Tips

Three Customer Relationship Building Tips

Three Customer Relationship Building Tips

Building effective customer relationships are crucial to creating and maintaining customer loyalty.  Every member of an organization should be continually looking for ways that they individually can enhance the bond between customers and service providers. These efforts can lead to enhanced customer and brand loyalty.

The following are three simple tips that anyone can use to better manage customer relationships and build stronger levels of trust.

  1. If you seek trust; communicate it through your words and nonverbal cues.
  2. Always act in the best interest of your customers. Listen to them, ask questions, anticipate their needs, deliver what you promise, and exhibit high levels of professionalism in everything that you do whether your customers are present or not.
  3. Take the time to personalize your customer interactions and to make each customer feel special. Use a customer’s name often during an interaction, listen, smile, ask questions to show interest and strive to project a positive image. This can all lead to enhanced trust and helps ensure that the customer returns.

About Robert C. Lucas

Bob Lucas has been a trainer, presenter, customer service expert, and adult educator for over four decades. He has written hundreds of articles on training, writing, self-publishing, and workplace learning skills and issues. He is also an award-winning author who has written thirty-seven books on topics such as, writing, relationships, customer service, brain-based learning, and creative training strategies, interpersonal communication, diversity, and supervisory skills. Additionally, he has contributed articles, chapters, and activities to eighteen compilation books. Bob retired from the U.S. Marine Corps in 1991 after twenty-two years of active and reserve service.

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