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Rules for Effective Customer Service Communication

Sometimes communicating with clients is like sprinting through a minefield. Especially when you work in support. To increase the chances of success, it is enough to remember the main rules of effective dialogue. Let's talk about them.

Important Notes

Иллюстрация, показывающая проблемы отсутствия омниканальности
1. The material is written for support - those who communicate with frustrated, angry and simply confused customers every day. If you work in sales, it is probably better to look for another text.

2. Let's be honest: there are only two key rules of customer communication. The first is to remember the context of the dialogue, the second is to understand how the client sees the situation. The rest - derivatives of the sub-rules that will help to navigate in different situations.

3. In this text there will be a minimum of edification, but many examples.

4. Obvious tips from the series «Ask Leading Questions» and «Find Need» cut without regret.

Have a good read!

General rules of communication with clients

Complexity:
Universal rules that are appropriate in almost any context.

Introduce yourself and make a nice impression

In support, you don't write when everything is fine. It's complicated communication, because the client is excited and wants to solve the problem quickly. One inappropriate phrase - and the dialogue will become multiplied. But we do not want to complicate your life, right?

The solution is to show the client that he got into the «safe harbor». The basic rules will help:
— to introduce oneself;
— to keep courtesy;
— dive into the request;
— don't wait too long.

For example, the following:
— Hello, I do not have a shift open at the cashier!

— Good afternoon! My name is Andrei. Tell the serial number of the cashier - 10 digits on the end of the case. I'll check how it shows up in the system.

— 192837465

Listen actively (even during correspondence)

The client wants to be heard, so active listening is one of the most important support skills. This also applies to correspondence, because the intentions of the person are not always obvious.

The trick is: not much to listen to, you need to demonstrate this to the client. Listen to him and repeat what is said in the form of a question. Rephrasing shows interest and at the same time clarifies the meaning of the query. Do not assume, but ask and confirm.
No
Yes
— My app doesn't work.

—What doesn't work exactly?

— The App.

— What do you mean? Explain more.

— The App!!!! The application does not work!! What else can I explain!?

— My App doesn't work.

— What doesn't work exactly?

— The App.

— What do you mean? Explain more.

— The App!!!! The application does not work!! What else can I explain!?

— Tell us step by step what happens. Here you went to the app, clicked «create payment», what happened then?

The main thing - the applicant should not feel stupid. He is under stress, he is not easy. Therefore, it is better to rephrase it clearly, otherwise the person may get confused.

Don't keep the client in the dark

It is dangerous for the client to remain in the dark. It happens that his request is small and solved in 10 minutes. In such a situation, no difficulties arise. Another thing - when the problem stretches for several hours or even a day. In such scenarios, it is important to keep the client informed of events.

Sometimes timing is difficult. It seems better to hide them than to deceive them. In fact, it is a malicious thought: the client perceives the company's behavior as an abdication of responsibility for solving the problem.
— Your app is crashing. When will you fix it?

— Looks like a bug, pass the task to our testers, no later than 16:00 I'll be back to you and report back. If the bug checks out, we'll send it to the developers, and I'll let you know the deadline on Tuesday.
If deadlines are difficult to name, it is worth at least indicating the first stages of the problem analysis.

Do it quickly. If possible, even faster Client time is a priority metric.

Therefore, there is no place for long questions in solving the problem. It is expected that the saport knows everything about its product, as well as something about its customers, so never ask for information that you can get yourself.

Things you often forget to do, but is necessary

Complexity:⭐⭐
There are rules that are called banal. When they talk about them, some roll their eyes, because everything is so obvious. However, it is following the banal rules of communication with customers that separates the professional from the layman.

Read the message before sending

If you use chat or email as a communication channel, be sure to read every text before sending. Always check the message for actual errors, grammars, typos and sequences.

Mistakes are insidious, and they do not care what your experience. You have no idea how many negative assessments «receive» inattentive support.

Anticipate future related issues

There are topics that can not be left on their own. Let's say the user canceled the subscription, but the next month the money was still written off. Support writes: «Expect a refund within three days». Several days pass, and the client returns in anger to ask where the money is.

This is a complex request. To solve it, you need to contact the bank, initiate the cancellation, wait until the money is returned and reflected on the client's account. In other words, the essence of the issue - money - does not directly depend on support. You can stop the situation if you place the accents correctly:
— Alex, the bank must credit the money to the account within 3 days. If this does not happen, please contact your bank's support service. Number on the back of the card.
Conclusion: if the solution is divided into several stages, tell the client the scenario of actions.

Sometimes it's not enough just to answer

If a person has a junk router, it is unpleasant, but compatible with life. Another thing is when the car broke down, they didn't bring a birthday present, or the flight was delayed. In this case, it is better to tell what to do and why.
Doubtful
Much better
-Ah! I have a red light on my scooter!

- The scooter sat down.

- Ah! I have a red light on my scooter!

- I see that the scooter is dead. Leave it in the parking lot, send a photo, and we'll finish the lease.

How to communicate with emotional clients

Complexity:⭐⭐⭐
The hardest thing to do is work with high-strung clients. When a person screams or weeps into the phone, even to understand the situation is problematic, and even more - to find a solution to the problem. To understand, you first need to determine the type of client, and then - to act on the algorithm.

If you are interested in full guide on work with emotional clients, be sure to read our review.

Excited

Such a client experiences, asks many questions and is often negative. In a dialogue with such a person, the template answers under the strictest prohibition. Nor can one apologize or regret — this will only confirm the complainant's fears.
It is important to answer all questions and not to justify. Excited customers will be satisfied with facts, figures and specific proposals.

Upset

The problem deeply affected the client. For him, the solution of the issue became a personal need, not a workers. Such applicants therefore value feedback and understanding that his request is in the work.
It is important: there is a risk of «regrowth», which will be taken as irony.

Passive-aggressive

This client knows exactly what he wants. He looks restrained, focuses on the problem, formulates his thoughts in a structured and clear way. It was important to explain what had gone wrong, why and what measures had been taken.
Here you need to clarify the content of the query in order to accurately understand the client's expectations.

Aggressive

The most difficult type. First you need to speak, then calmly react only to the facts that concern the problem. After diagnostics of the query we explain how to solve it.
The main thing - not to answer the template. So the situation will definitely get out of control.

Underlying Errors

You've collected four blunders that literally kill support.
Arguments with customers. First, the client is not always right. Secondly, it does not give the right to be rude in return. We are all simple people, and we tend to be wrong. In any case, one should not enter into disputes - it is better to express understanding and propose a suitable solution.
Hiding behind patterns. Communication scripts are good and useful, but the client can hear or read template phrases several times a day. Compare two support phrases with the same context:
Your application is on the waiting list, the specialist will contact you.
Michael, I've given your application the highest priority.

In two hours it will be reviewed by a specialist. After that we will call you and inform you about the result.

What is the answer to that question, and what is the answer to that?
Late deadlines. You already know this, but let's do it again. Customers do not like when moving promised deadlines. They don't seem to have a problem. If you do not know at what time the client's problem will be solved, let us know how long it takes to clarify the necessary information.
Familiarity. To use bureaucratic language - bad, but also frank familiarity will not help the case. Usually advice «communicate with the client as a friend» is taken literally, which leads to familiarity and disrespect.
The client appealed to solve a specific issue, not to be patted on the shoulder and said «Calm, brother, now we will fix everything».

Remember

1. There are two rules of communication with clients: remember about the context of the dialogue and understand how the situation is perceived by the client. The rest is a derivative of the sub-rules.

2. In any context, priority is given to the speed of the response. Next - immersion in the problem, courtesy and information about the solution.

3. The hardest way to deal with emotional clients. They do not tolerate clichés and empty apologies.
Rules are easier to follow when they are built into the helpdesk
Usefesk has a convenient knowledge base and automation, so that the helpdesk works only with really important appeals. Our clients handle 30% more requests without increasing the staff, and the speed of response increases by 6 times.

With care, Usedesk!

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