Thursday, September 26, 2013

Phrases to Avoid with Employees and Customers

As a manager, it’s important to have great communication skills in every form—written, verbal, and body language. You know quite a bit about how to make both your employees and customers comfortable and how to gain their trust. However, there are a few common phrases you should be very careful about using and avoid when possible.

“We need to talk” is a phrase associated with bad news and will immediately evoke anxiety in an employee even if the conversation will be positive. Instead, try saying “Do you have a few minutes to meet with me?” This sounds more inviting and implies a neutral tone. Also, try to not to start a negative statement with the word “You.” Even if you need to address a specific person’s issue, try saying “It’s important that everyone follows this procedure” rather than “You failed to follow this procedure.”

“Always” and “never” are absolutes and rarely accurate in any case. In conversations with employees, avoid these words with both positive and negative conversations. With customers, don’t make statements about things you aren’t sure you can do (always), but don’t disregard a request completely right away (never) if it may be possible.  “Unfortunately” immediately sounds disappointing, however, it is easy to say when something inevitable is preventing you from saying “Yes.” Instead, try using the phrase “as it turns out”. (We would love to attend the business conference, but as it turns out, we are already scheduled at another event).

There are many more phrases that could be listed here and you will discover more in your future communications. The main idea to take away is to try and avoid these connotations: negative, condescending, non-committed, and overly-authoritative. While you do need to be firm in some cases, make sure you are using the best tone and phrases possible. Make it happen!
© 2013 eMarketing 4 Business LLC

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Stay in Your Running Shoes: Go the Extra Mile for Customers

The saying may be cliché, but actually “going the extra mile” for a customer in any industry remains important and a key aspect for making your company memorable.  I’m sure you’ve got some ideas in your bag already, but if you’re looking to add more or gain some insight, here are five things you can do to truly let your customers know you care about their needs. So lace up your running shoes and take in these tips.

 Follow up, and follow up some more. The little things really do matter in small business, so no matter if the correspondence is regarding a major crisis or a simple compliment, return phone calls and emails promptly, always. If something they request seems unclear or you haven’t heard back in a while, send them a follow up message or give them a call. It is better to over-follow up and then give them space than to not follow up and risk wasting everyone’s time.

Every so often, provide your customers (especially regular ones) with a promotional gift like a mug, letter opener, mouse pad, or something else small that has your logo and contact information on it. (Pens are very common, but why not think outside the box a little?) Customized promotional products are easy to obtain and purchase. Another thing to do is to provide a venue for giving feedback. It can be as simple as a comments form on your site for testimonials and questions or you can do this on social media pages with status updates. Simply asking for feedback on your emails or stationary can work too.

This next one is especially important: under-promise and over-deliver. This helps you develop a reliable reputation and will ensure you don’t make promises you can’t keep.  It’s a good idea to frequently assess your customer base and get reacquainted with who is a new customer and who is no longer a customer. For those in the second category, send out some type of inquiry about why. Finally, if your business is one where people come into a physical location, greet them within 30 seconds. Even if you’re busy, a simple “Hello” will acknowledge them and you can continue talking to them when you are finished with the task at hand. Make it happen!
© 2013 eMarketing 4 Business LLC