Starting a conversation with a lead can end before it even begins, however, in this article, Guillermo Herbozo shares tips on how to open the customer conversation to engage them and yield results.
Most conversations, whether you’re in sales, customer service, retention or any other customer facing position, start with a greeting. Then they move along until close and follow up.
Now, how often do you review the customer conversation practices in your organization to see how they can be improved? This post is an invitation to do precisely that. Its focus will be reviewing best practices on the start of the conversation.
Because of the different channels (e.g., call centers, retail, field), functions (e.g., sales, retention, customer service) and types of customers (e.g., B2B, B2C) it’s impossible to have just one solution. We will focus on a list of ideas to consider when defining how you’re going to open an inbound customer conversation. This is, an interaction where the customer came to us (called, walked in the store or approached us).
Let’s start with the goal. What is it we’re looking for in the first 20-30 seconds of the conversation? Start building a trust-based relationship that convinces the customer they have the right person and that persuades them to let you lead the conversation to get to the best outcome.
Now let’s dive in. How should you start a customer conversation to be successful?
1) Greet the customer
Say hello to the customer in a natural way. Thank them for visiting, calling or stopping by. Use simple words (e.g., good morning, thank you for calling)
Tell them who you represent, the organization you are a part of. There’s a brand and support behind you, leverage it. It also helps with those that call or visit the wrong place (sounds funny but we’ve all seen them)
Tell them your name. Not only is it a basic standard to introduce yourself but it starts making the conversation personal
Ask the customer’s name and use it immediately. It makes it more personal and shows that you’re truly interested in them, that you’re paying attention
Offer to help it helps open the conversation in a way that is focused on them
Speak slowly and clearly, ensure customers understand you
Make sure your body language and your voice is reflective of your positive and engaging attitude (e.g., a courteous smile, looking in the eyes, body tilted slightly forward). Your attitude will be critical in setting the tone of the conversation both in person and through the phone.
Key points include:
- Gaining control of the conversation
- Channel awareness
- Relating to customer situation
Read the full article, Starting the Customer Conversation Right, on LinkedIn.