When in business, one of the main goals is to achieve reoccurring sales and referrals. In order for this goal to be achieved, the business owner needs to ensure the customer is happy with the service or product being offered. A customer’s happiness can be from effective communication on the part of the business owners and associates. At least 65 percent of each and every day, humans spend communicating, either verbally or in writing. When you really think about that statistic, the importance of how we communicate with each other becomes obvious.
Here are eight strategies to help significantly increase effective communication within your business and with your customers:
1. Hit replay before you speak
Be sure to have a clear picture of the message and then form an outline in your mind before the words are spoken. Know exactly how you want to convey that message to your customer or business associate.
2. Ensure active participation
A good in-person conversation entails eye contact - so it's a good idea to be looking at your customer when you speak. When you and your customer are not looking at each other, it doesn't allow for “active listening”. Wait until there is an open, clear line of communication before you speak. By speaking while in another room or with your back turned, it may appear the customer may feel unimportant, which can lead to frustration between you and your customer.
3. Patience really is a virtue
Don’t let your impatience get the best of you when trying to communicate. The true meaning of your message may get misunderstood if you decide you need to tell your customer something too quickly. This could lead to a misperception of your message and then you will need to spend more time trying to explain what the message was you were trying to convey.
4. Remember to listen
Listen to the customer and answer questions fully. By listening, it displays your commitment to the customer’s needs and wants. As a business owner, listening should be done first and then speaking with the customer.
5. Know your audience
Successful communicators understand their audience because they connect with an aspect of our lives, whether it is personal or professional. When you are in tune with your customer’s lives, the business relationship develops on a more personable level. This can be a factor when deciding to go with a company for business.
6. Get the facts
Effective communicating is driven by having the facts to go along with your message. No small detail is insignificant. For example, when writing down a phone message, be sure to ask for all the correct contact information, the caller's first and last name, and their message.
7. Ask questions
Ask your customer if they have any questions about your message, whether it be a phone call or presentation. If they do, be sure to answer them honestly.
8. Watch your tone
The use of the tone in your voice when communicating can mean the difference between getting the correct message across and creating an argument. Be uplifting and encouraging with your tone.