Customer Experience News & Trends

The 5 rules for every customer conversation

No matter how difficult or complex the situation is, when you’re dealing with customers you must keep five things at the forefront of every conversation. Your credibility depends on it.

Casual, tense and complicated conversations have been known to make sales and service reps lose their professional tone. When you deal with customers, you can never let that happen, says communication expert Deborah S. Roberts.

Be on your guard

When speaking with customers, you’ll get respectful responses if you are:

  • Truthful. Be honest about the things that matter — pricing, features, the right fit, etc. But you can still tell a customer you like her new haircut, even when it’s not exactly flattering. A little white lie like that maintains civility, which is always important.
  • Predictable. Remain even-tempered if you want customers and colleagues to take you seriously and trust your words and judgment. A wildly changing temperament will scare people away from you.
  • Kind. Maintain a sense of humor, but don’t ever go for laughs at someone else’s expense. And if someone else starts those kinds of jokes, subtly change the subject.
  • Discreet. When a sentence starts with, “I really shouldn’t say this … ” or “No offense, but … ” it should be left unsaid. Period. And if someone starts a sentence like that, say, “You’re right, it probably shouldn’t be said. Let’s leave it at that.”
  • Patient. Many arguments start or escalate because someone jumped in with a counterargument before the first speaker has finished making a point. Give customers and colleagues time to fully express their thoughts, and then think about yours before you offer them.

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