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Columns : Influential Voice - Kim Welcome Last Updated: Feb 6, 2017 - 2:32:04 PM

Seven Communication Errors That Can Kill Your Business
By Kim Welcome
Mar 2, 2011 - 4:21:10 PM

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The way your staff answers your phone may actually hurt your business. Your advertising, sales representatives, referrals, etc. all help to form an image of your company in the mind of the client. That image can be destroyed in five seconds just by the way your telephone is answered. There is a right and a wrong way to answer the phone. However, most staff has never been trained, many employers assume they know. There are a number of components that constitute a polished sound. One is to pause whatever you are doing and take a breath before answering. You should never sound like you’ve been interrupted.

Lack of enthusiasm conveyed by your staff, is always disenchanting for someone who is inquiring about a product or service to purchase now or in the future. Buyers are inevitably turned off by sales or customer service representatives that effect an air of ‘couldn’t care less’. The average business only hears the complaints of 4% of their unhappy customers, the rest just do not return. Whenever a prospective buyer asks a question, this is an open door to engage them and a golden opportunity to enable them to solve ‘their problem’. If you ask the right questions, you position yourself and your company as the experts in the field.

They may be perceived as cold. Customer Care research has shown 68% of the clients you may have lost left because of an attitude of indifference conveyed by the staff. They want to feel that they are your number one priority. There are many ways to make your customer feel special, one is to refer to them by name whenever appropriate, especially those who do business with you often. Everyone likes to hear their name, so try to find opportunities to address them by theirs, which subsequently has been proven to help build customer loyalty.

Poor business etiquette is sometimes the most inadvertent way to turn off a customer or client. It is often just small details in this area that tend to alienate potential buyers. Have you ever walked into an office and you had to wait for 30 seconds (Incidentally the length of a television commercial!) while the receptionist finishes telling her co-worker a story? It is never wise to assume your staff knows the rules of business etiquette. Invest in valuable training.

Emotions can get in the way of professionalism. Everyone has the occasional bad day, but no company can afford to have the negative moods of their staff seep into the client’s experience. Unfortunately, without all the background information, the client may just assume that your staff is aloof, abrupt or unprofessional. There are ways to keep negative emotions from leaking into your voice. Actors practice these techniques all the time.

Lack of empathy from a company with whom one has spent money doesn’t feel good when you have a problem. However, the benefits of a well trained customer service representative can have immeasurable rewards for a company. The proper use of tone, inflection and volume can be learned to convey the empathy needed to subdue the disgruntled. The customer may not always be right, but it doesn’t benefit your company when your representative goes out of their way to prove them wrong.   Copyright 2010

Kim Welcome is CEO of Influential Voice, a Communication Trainer and Coach; she assists businesses and individuals to achieve their goals through helping them to develop deliberate, skillful, polished communication skills. For more info www.influentialvoice.com

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