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  • #999951
    Charlotte-ts
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    Hello Everyone, Happy Holidays to all.

    As I continue my new small business studies another good question or two which seem to have a lot of varying opinions and often pop up are:

    1. What are the ways that you prefer to communicate with your (online) customers and prospects, is it professional to have a conversation over chat or should it be via email or in person? My feelings are it has to be guided by the topic, general product questions are fine in chat, something more important that may need a formal copy in writing in email and if an emotional situation a direct call or meeting is best. Would you agree or are there other ideas? Are the approaches too intrusive for an online contact?

    2. Then once you make contact, what do you think is the top communication skill to have and what does that really mean in business today? Is it listening, empathy, emotional intelligence, are these even achievable online or via text when there is often little context to assist?

    Appreciate anyone’s thoughts and opinions on these to assist me not only with my studies but to improve my own customer service.

    Thank you in advance!

    #1221998
    bb1
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    In reality it is all what the customer wants, some only want to communicate via text, chat, etc, some want personal.

    No point you ringing the customer or swapping to email, if they prefer text.

    I have some that I have never spoken to, because it is obvious thats how they want to communicate.

    With a lot of my dealings with business’s I prefer either chat or email, but I am also strict that I must have a phone number or other personal contact facility, a for if something goes wrong, but also a little more trust then them hiding behind a email address.

    Don’t make decisions on behalf of the customer, go with the flow.

    Charlotte-ts, post: 268180, member: 114039 wrote:
    1. What are the ways that you prefer to communicate with your (online) customers and prospects, is it professional to have a conversation over chat or should it be via email or in person? My feelings are it has to be guided by the topic, general product questions are fine in chat, something more important that may need a formal copy in writing in email and if an emotional situation a direct call or meeting is best. Would you agree or are there other ideas? Are the approaches too intrusive for an online contact?

    In reality it is all what the customer wants, some only want to communicate via text, chat, etc, some want personal.

    No point you ringing the customer or swapping to email, if they prefer text.

    I have some that I have never spoken to, because it is obvious thats how they want to communicate.

    With a lot of my dealings with business’s I prefer either chat or email, but I am also strict that I must have a phone number or other personal contact facility, a for if something goes wrong, but also a little more trust then them hiding behind a email address.

    Don’t make decisions on behalf of the customer, go with the flow.

    Charlotte-ts, post: 268180, member: 114039 wrote:
    2. Then once you make contact, what do you think is the top communication skill to have and what does that really mean in business today? Is it listening, empathy, emotional intelligence, are these even achievable online or via text when there is often little context to assist?

    Listening, if you don’t listen to what you client wants, needs or any issues they have, then you cant show empathy or emotional inteligence.

    So many business’s now a days, pick a couple of key words out of your communications, and assume (we know what that means), thats what they need to focus on, you need to listen (or read), what the whole issue or requirement is.

    This is the biggest failing I find with most business’s I deal with, it what they think you said, not what you actually said. Listen

    #1221999
    Charlotte-ts
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    bb1, post: 268181, member: 53375 wrote:
    In reality it is all what the customer wants, some only want to communicate via text, chat, etc, some want personal.

    No point you ringing the customer or swapping to email, if they prefer text.

    I have some that I have never spoken to, because it is obvious thats how they want to communicate.

    With a lot of my dealings with business’s I prefer either chat or email, but I am also strict that I must have a phone number or other personal contact facility, a for if something goes wrong, but also a little more trust then them hiding behind a email address.

    Don’t make decisions on behalf of the customer, go with the flow.

    In reality it is all what the customer wants, some only want to communicate via text, chat, etc, some want personal.

    No point you ringing the customer or swapping to email, if they prefer text.

    I have some that I have never spoken to, because it is obvious thats how they want to communicate.

    With a lot of my dealings with business’s I prefer either chat or email, but I am also strict that I must have a phone number or other personal contact facility, a for if something goes wrong, but also a little more trust then them hiding behind a email address.

    Don’t make decisions on behalf of the customer, go with the flow.


    Listening, if you don’t listen to what you client wants, needs or any issues they have, then you cant show empathy or emotional inteligence.

    So many business’s now a days, pick a couple of key words out of your communications, and assume (we know what that means), thats what they need to focus on, you need to listen (or read), what the whole issue or requirement is.

    This is the biggest failing I find with most business’s I deal with, it what they think you said, not what you actually said. Listen

    Thank you Bert M, again for a great and prompt response!

    That makes absolute sense. I really like the customer-centric approach you take, offering full flexibility to suit the individual person and situation.

    I must admit sometimes I get in such a rush to respond and do the right thing I can miss part of the communication. I am learning to slow down a bit to better listen and understand a message fully.

    #1222000
    bb1
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    Charlotte-ts, post: 268182, member: 114039 wrote:
    I must admit sometimes I get in such a rush to respond and do the right thing I can miss part of the communication. I am learning to slow down a bit to better listen and understand a message fully.

    Easily done, and although I prefer to communicate with business’s I deal with electronically, I would much prefer to deal with a client verbally, as I often find you can get a lot more detail of their requirements, plus one simple word they say, may lead to the ”oh you also want that”, scenario, but if they prefer electronic, thats life

    #1222001
    Paul – FS Concierge
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    I am with Bert, let the customer decide the communication mode.

    There is sometimes a tension between what you would like to sell and what the customer actually wants to buy. Being a problem solver and not a product pusher forces you to listen to your customer and try to meet their needs.

    #1222002
    Johny
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    I think in this “all things digital” world we have lost sight of what communication/service actually is.

    The vast majority of what I do now (I am outside Australia) is done via WhatsApp/Wechat. That’s for general commuinication. When it gets more complex it goes to email or a call.

    But instant messaging has taught us to be lazy/expect immediate action, and quality of communication/service has suffered as a result, I reckon.

    If it is true that people do business with those they know, like and trust, then to an extent, online is taking us away from that, especially with things like AI and automation.

    Nothing ever beats face to face, whenever possible, to listen to what the customer really needs. But that seems to be something to be avoided at all costs these days.

    #1222003
    Charlotte-ts
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    Paul – FS Concierge, post: 268187, member: 78928 wrote:
    I am with Bert, let the customer decide the communication mode.

    There is sometimes a tension between what you would like to sell and what the customer actually wants to buy. Being a problem solver and not a product pusher forces you to listen to your customer and try to meet their needs.

    Thank you Paul, well said. :)

    #1222004
    Charlotte-ts
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    Johny, post: 268188, member: 34822 wrote:
    I think in this “all things digital” world we have lost sight of what communication/service actually is.

    The vast majority of what I do now (I am outside Australia) is done via WhatsApp/Wechat. That’s for general commuinication. When it gets more complex it goes to email or a call.

    But instant messaging has taught us to be lazy/expect immediate action, and quality of communication/service has suffered as a result, I reckon.

    If it is true that people do business with those they know, like and trust, then to an extent, online is taking us away from that, especially with things like AI and automation.

    Nothing ever beats face to face, whenever possible, to listen to what the customer really needs. But that seems to be something to be avoided at all costs these days.

    Very true! I love a coffee catch-up with my suppliers and find that invaluable. However definitely less interaction with my actual customers thanks to the online approach.

    Thanks Johny.

    #1222005
    Justin Laju
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    Charlotte-ts, post: 268180, member: 114039 wrote:
    2. Then once you make contact, what do you think is the top communication skill to have and what does that really mean in business today?

    Once you make contact, the top skill is relevance and acknowledgement of need, then credibility, trust, and closing.

    #1222006
    Tom ISW
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    Hi [USER=114039]@Charlotte-ts[/USER],

    In my contact form on my website, I ask the lead how they’d like to be contacted: phone, email, or Skype. This way they control how I contact them in the first instance. Some people work better using instant message; others want to get to the point over the phone. Point is, I want to connect with them on a level they feel most comfortable with, not the other way around.

    In my business most of my clients are interstate or at the very least, on the other side of town. A “quick coffee” is seldom quick for both of us! However, once I’ve established a bit of rapport, talking on the phone is a good substitute.

    I really think the most valuable skill in this day and age is active listening. Sitting there and taking in everything your conversation partner is saying. I also write notes so I can type them up and send them back as a contact report – written proof that I listened to what they had to say. In my business I think that’s vital. I don’t think you can fake that, especially in a world that’s shouting at the top of it’s lungs and hoping someone takes notice. Acting – not saying – “yes, I hear you, how can I help” goes a long way.

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