By: Maureen LoBue
Lily Tomlin, the author of this well-known statement, used it in her skit as a telephone operator. It is well remembered because we can all relate to the frustration and confusion it evokes when trying to communicate by phone.
All telephone service professionals should have it taped in a prominent place as a reminder to communicate clearly with their customers. Next to this statement should be another reminder, the key to communicating clearly with customers, CONNECT. What is CONNECT?
CONNECT is an acronym containing the keys to successful telephone communication with customers. It stands for: Caring attitude Own the call Now is the time for good tone Never waiver in your attentiveness Expectations are up to you Complaints are an opportunity Tune in to your customer
Each of the letters represents a required component of successful communication when working with customers over the telephone.
Attitude is reflected in your voice whether you realize it or not. Take steps to maintain a positive attitude, no matter what the situation.
Owning the call is essential to satisfying the customer’s issue, even if you were not the person who originally took the call or you need to send them on to someone else to resolve the problem.
Tone is critical in telephone communication, accounting for 85% of the total communication. Managing your own tone and listening for the customer’s tone can make or break a customer encounter.
Never waiver in attentiveness; this can be a challenge when you take repetitive calls or when you have had a very long, tiring day but is essential in effectively communicating and solving the customer’s problem. A survey by Eticon, Inc. on the impact of communication on business lists indifference and inattentiveness as the second most critical factor. Use strategies to stay attentive in difficult situations.
Expectations must be set by you, not the customer in order to guarantee a satisfied encounter. Apply techniques to manage expectations in order to end with a positive perception. Customer perceptions are determined by their expectations.
Complaints, though we dread getting them, are actually a positive thing, offering an opportunity to better meet the customer’s needs. Use this type of encounter to learn more about how to serve your customer.
Tune in to your customer’s communication style. Understanding your customer’s communication preferences will enable you to communicate more effectively. Know how to identify your customer’s style and adjust yours to ensure good communication.