Peter Wasmer, Founder & CEO, Pure Coastal Technologies, Inc.
When it comes to interacting with customers, it’s important to remember that they want to feel heard. This means that you need to take the time to listen to them and understand their needs.
However, businesses often struggle with this. According to a study, only 25% of customers feel like their needs are understood by companies they interact with regularly. The problem? Well, there are lots of reasons why people aren’t as responsive to others’ thoughts and feelings as we should be: maybe they’re distracted or preoccupied; maybe they’re dealing with problems in their personal lives, or maybe they just don’t realize how powerful listening can be for building stronger relationships and better business outcomes. Whatever the reason, this disconnect between businesses and customers has the potential to seriously harm business relationships.
But there are simple ways you can change this dynamic with your customer base so that they feel heard—not just listened to, but truly understood. Here are five of the most effective tactics for doing this:
1. Be present when interacting with them
People are busy, so it’s important to make sure you’re giving them your full attention when they interact with you. This means you should avoid multitasking (for example, checking emails while speaking on the phone) and prepare in advance for conversations by researching their problems and questions before talking with them. Ask probing questions to get your customers to open up, offer empathy statements that show them you understand what they’re going through, and give them a chance to talk about themselves—after all, most people love talking about themselves!
2. Learn their language
Customer preferences vary widely depending on where your organization is located, so you must learn the specific language they use. This means paying attention to words and phrases that come up repeatedly in your interactions with them. For example, if a lot of your customers tell you they’re “on a budget,” it makes sense for you to focus more on economical options when selling to them.
3. Learn their preferences
Just like every customer is different, each group of customers has different needs and preferences. For instance, some people might be interested in the cost of your product or service, while others might be more concerned with convenience. When you’re setting prices, give discounts to customers that are willing to pay in advance, and bundle products together for customers that want a discount but don’t care about flexibility.
4. Give them what they need
Many times, people won’t tell businesses exactly what they want, because they don’t know how to articulate it. That being said, every customer has needs that you’re capable of meeting—and if you can figure out what those are, you’ll be able to set yourself apart from your competition. To do this, listen carefully for clues throughout conversations with customers about what they really need. When people tell you about a problem they’re having, ask them what solutions they’ve tried so far and why those didn’t work. Asking questions like these can help you understand the underlying issues affecting your customers’ problems.
5. Be responsive
In addition to being present, learning their language, learning about their preferences, giving them what they need, and offering solutions to their problems, you also need to be responsive. This means being proactive about solving your customers’ issues. If you’re able to do this, they’ll feel like you have their best interests at heart—and that will strengthen the business relationship between you.
To conclude, it’s important to remember that people are busy and they have a lot on their plate. The tips we’ve outlined here should help you boost your customer service game.