By Antonio Ezequiel Di Génova from Buenos Aires city, Argentina
Translated by Mara Sanfilippo from Paraná, Argentina.
When we communicate with somebody we do not only deliver a message, we also receive an answer, and then again we communicate in response to that answer. This cycle is carried out with words, gestures, thoughts and feelings.
Communications include the set of activities that develop with the purpose of informing and persuading, in a certain way, the people that constitute the target market of the company.
In general terms we can group two kinds of communication:
- Verbal communication
Is the one we express through the use of the word (oral and written):
Give the external client a warm greet. That will make the client feel welcomed.
Be precise. We should not use phrases like “I will do my best”. The client does not know what “your best” is.
Do not omit any detail. If you tell the client that the product costs X dollars, that is what he expects to be charged. If there are additional charges we have to tell him in advance.
Think before speaking. The more we know about the client, the better our understanding of him. If we think what we are going to say before we start talking, it will give us the possibility of conveying our message.
2. Non verbal communication
Communication encompasses much more than the words we use; these, in fact, constitute a channel that is relatively weak or has less impact when it comes to delivering and receiving messages. Recent studies show that in a discourse, a personal communication before a group of people, the 55% of the transmission impact is accomplished through body language and gestures, the 38% though the tone of voice, cadence, etc. and only the 7% though the content and meaning of the words.
Smiling, having a good posture, dressing properly and using the right gestures, which are examples of non verbal communication, will improve the customer satisfaction.
The use of the phone
One of the ways of coming into contact with the client is to use the phone. The way in which we establish the communication and the tone are really important. Before starting talking about the issue, we must initiate the conversation with the person on the other side of the line following these fundamental steps:
- Greet the interlocutor.
- Give the name of the company and position or department.
- Say your name.
- Provide assistance.
Before picking up the phone, there must be an enthusiastic attitude on the part of the person who answers.
Then we must listen carefully to find out what our interlocutor wants:
- Make a question or inquiry.
- Express an objection.
- Raise an issue.
Objections show the disagreement of the client who makes use of them to avoid or delay the purchase. We must answer objections, “not ignore them”, trying to use arguments that neutralize or minimize them.
A good telephone assistance has a series of requirements that must be fulfilled to achieve that goal.
- Understand all the phone functions.
- Answer the phone as soon as possible.
- Keep the microphone of the receiver aligned with the mouth and talk clearly.
- Avoid unnecessary noises.
- While talking on the phone, do not drink, eat or chew.
- Do not talk with third parties while taking a phone call.
- Ask for permission to make the client wait.
- Press the HOLD button when you make a client wait.
- Do not keep the client waiting for too long on the phone line. He could get irritated and fed up. And his attitude could be negative.
The ability of listening
One of the essential parts of communication is knowing how to listen. It goes beyond what we hear with our ears. It means listening with our minds.
We must listen to the facts and the feelings. People express themselves with both elements. For example: “The digital camera I bought broke during my vacation trip and I lost the opportunity to photograph landscapes and situations that I will never have the chance to repeat.”
The answer has to consider facts and feelings.
It is necessary to get actively involved in the conversation, to understand what the client is saying, and through gestures and words show him that we understand the situation and offer all the solutions included in the sale agreement.
While serving the client, we must not get distracted. We must not allow other employees, clients or things that are happening make us lose our focus. That shows the client that “he” is important and we are taking care of his problem.
We must wait until the client finishes talking before we formulate the answer. We must avoid interrupting the client and giving him a hasty answer. We must not lose a single word of what the client has to tell us.
We must not prejudge.
The ability of asking
In all cases we have to listen to what the client “says”, but also to what he “does not say” but implies.
Many times clients have difficulty to express themselves. Our responsibility is to get to the real issue. In what way? Inquiring. How? Making OPEN questions (such as: why do you think that…) or general questions or CLOSED (specific) questions (such as: then we are talking of a delivery scheduled for X day. Is it true?)
We use OPEN questions to:
- Establish needs
- Define problems
- Understand orders
- Obtain more information
We use CLOSED questions to:
- Clarify what has been said
- Make the client give his conformity
- Summarize a conversation or confirm an order
I propose you to comment below this article on how you achieve your effective listening and tell if you use my tips in your daily communication.
Mara Sanfilippo is a Literary, Technical and Scientific English Translator who graduated from “ISP Almirante Guillermo Brown”, Santa Fe. She works as a freelancer translator for particular clients, international companies and translation agencies. She offers translation services in several areas: business, legal, engineering, literary, subtitling, web pages, etc.) (from English to Spanish and vice-versa.). Currently she is taking the English Interpretation training programme.