by John Onorato
Good communication is a crucial aspect in a good relationship between a business and its customers. It would appear to be common sense, but many businesses don’t seem to realize that how they communicate with potential buyers can drastically impact their success rates. Knowing the audience is key: there is a time for technical jargon and catchy buzzwords, and a time to empathize with people by using appeals to emotion.
The easiest way to learn how to speak with customers is by simply listening to them. Know what their priorities are. How they describe those priorities gives you a sense of how they are ranked and valued by the customer. Buyers aren’t looking for products, they are looking for ways to achieve their goals. Likewise, you shouldn’t be selling them only items — you should be selling real solutions.
Easily understood language shows you care
Part of selling solutions in a manner that ensures your customer returns is looking through the same lens as your customer. Because customers always have a choice where to procure their goods or services, your business has to go the extra mile to convince the consumer that you really care. An employee that’s respectful and engaged will raise a customer’s confidence. They’ll think that the business they’ve come to really is looking out for their greater good. Should that employee suggest a new service or product, the customer will be more likely to trust that the business has their best interests at heart. On the other hand, if a customer detects a lack of of true congeniality — or, worse, if it’s forced — then they’re likely to question the business’ motives behind their suggestions.
When you’re speaking to your customer, be sure to speak in layman’s terms. Use language that they’ll understand. Avoid using the jargon of your industry. For instance, Austin Visuals 3D Animation Studios should avoid talking about Alpha Channels, Control Vertices, or Anti-Aliasing. Those terms can be explained fairly easily, yes, but in order to make the customer feel the most comfortable, it’s best to avoid them altogether. It’s possible that the client may be familiar with them, but it shouldn’t be assumed that they are.
Take, for example, one customer who is putting together their first mobile app, and wants a slick animated website to sell it. On the other hand we have another customer who has bought many animations from another animation vendor, but has decided to switch to Austin Visuals 3D Animation Studio. Those two customers will be looking at the business through different lenses. The first will be excited and nervous. They need to speak with a sales agent who is similarly excited for them, who can explain what they’ll be getting in plain language, and who can give them advice that will make their purchasing experience easier. If the developer is treated with care and respect, they’ll be much more likely to come back for his next project, and they’ll also tell their friends. The second customer is no less deserving of the care and respect that the first got, yet as they are more experienced, they do not need so much of the “kid glove” treatment as the first did.
Create “wow!” moments for your customers
Another source of frustration for both businesses and customers is complaints. These can be made easier, however, by applying the same maxim above: Try to see things through the same lens the customer is seeing them through. True, it’s often difficult to understand why a client is making such an issue about such a small thing. But it’s not a small thing to them; it’s a big thing. To them. Don’t they understand that looking into a problem takes time? (Of course they don’t.) Come on, it’s right there in the contract! (Which they probably didn’t read.) If there’s one thing to remember, it’s that it’s not the client’s job to see things through the business’s lens. It’s the job of the business to see through the lens of the customer and show empathy for their frustration.
There are many more ways to create “wow” moments for your customers. Even the smallest of gestures can create wows for them. Learn what your client’s favorite drinks and snacks are — easy to do with a little social engineering — so you can have them stocked when they come in for a meeting. Know what their favorite lunch place is ahead of time so you can take them there without having to ask. Even remembering a customer’s name — it might seem like a small thing — ends up being a big thing, as it engenders a feeling of family. Telling a customer about a different product that might meet their needs better than yours is another wow moment.
And one of the best ways to create “wow” moments is to put your heads together with your fellow employees. Every month, have a company meeting so that your employees can share ways that they’ve astonished their customers. The simple act of discussing these behaviors enhances the chance that other people will take on the same practices or even create some of their own. Maybe some wows will become standard — Austin Visuals 3D Animation Studio might give you a free 15 second morph animation of your face, for example. If you owned a bank, you could give a name-themed toy to children opening an account — I remember getting a seal plushie when my father took me to open an account at Seaside Bank.
Regardless, communication should be a two-way dialog. Be sure to choose your words carefully and keep those channels open.