20 tips how to talk to a customer
Is it possible to answer customer questions before he asks them? Communicate with the client in your own way or in an official tone? How much time do I have to answer questions in the mail? How to make the client happy and permanent?
We have overcome many problems in finding answers to these questions. The price of a mistake when communicating with a client is too high, and the rake on which you step is sometimes golden. But as a result, we gained invaluable experience and developed a strategy for communicating with customers, which we now want to share.
Here is an excerpt from our internal document, which is required for each new manager in Alconost. So, the 20 commandments of high-quality communication with customers:
Respond to customer letters within one to two hours. If the response to the letter takes a lot of time (for example, it takes a lot of time to read the amount of text that needs to be translated), you must immediately reply to the client, confirm receipt of the letter and report the expected time when we send the answer. For example, “Thank you, the document received. We will be able to give a detailed calculation during the day. "
Treat the client as a child who understands our work a little. Remember: what is obvious to us may not be completely obvious to the client. Describe in detail every detail, explain each of your actions, try not to use special terms.
Communicate with the client as a friend
A pathetic official syllable with long, complex sentences is bad. This style of communication separates us from customers. And it's hard to read. Communicate with customers, as with friends at dinner. Simple phrases, short sentences. Business information plus a bit of humor. Without unreasonable acquaintance and with respect. Before you say something to the client, think about whether you will say it in such wording to a friend or not.
How many questions, so many answers
Often clients in one letter ask several questions at once. But, unfortunately, few of them make up the questions in the form of a numbered list. We need to do this work for them. "Scan" the client's letter, select all the questions and answer them exactly in the order in which they were given. Forget to answer any question - minus our karma.
A list of questions
If we need to ask a few questions to the client, it is better to release them with a numbered list so that the client can more easily select all the questions and answer each one of them.
What is included
Describing the cost of services, make it a rule to draw everything that includes, even very obvious things. For example, script development, voice acting, and music are included in the cost of creating a video.
If the project lasts a long time and the client is no longer involved in it (for example, we sat down for a week and a half to draw graphics), it is important for us not to disappear, but to remind the client about ourselves every 3 days. Best of all, if it will be intermediate results that we assure the client. But if there are no such results, it’s quite simple: “I want to remind, we are working on video graphics, the result will be shown in X days”. Constant contact is very important.
If in the letter the client asks to do something - not only to fulfill the request but also to inform about it in the reply letter.
Even if the client allows itself inadequate statements, we never answer. Instead, you should think about the reason for such client behavior and take steps to eliminate it. In relationships with clients, emotions should not prevail over reason.
Although each of the managers, translators, and videographers have working and non-working hours, clients do not need to know about it: there is no weekend for the whole company, the service is open 24/7, we adapt to the client and not adjust the client for ourselves. A smell from the kitchen
And yet, the client should not be devoted to the details of our work: sick video phenomena, national holidays from the editor in Spain, snow storms and blackouts by translators in different parts of the world - all this smell of our kitchen should remain for this The client only needs to know the result: how and when his problem will be solved. Of course, in some cases, it is impossible to do without explanations, to make a decision based on your experience and feelings of the client.
Sympathy and wow
Do more than you need: earn WOW
If you can do more than the client requests, we will definitely do it. The layout of the translation, the short version of the video, the free voice of a few forgotten lines - all this costs us a little bit causes sincere discontent in the soul of the client. The decision about the threshold that separates “we can do for free” and “it will increase the project budget” is made on the basis of common sense, your knowledge of the client and the advice of senior colleagues.
Think like customer
Always try to put yourself in the client's place. “It seems to me that your product is more suitable for a how-to movie” or “I would still recommend choosing a Brazilian version of the Portuguese language.” Expect customer needs and problems and offer them a solution: "You can still need to translate keywords for your page in the App Store" or "It seems to me that this video cannot be used to advertise on Facebook."
One step ahead
When analyzing a client's letter, always try to predict his next question and immediately answer it. The profit from this approach doubles: the number of letters decreases and the client thinks: “Wow, these guys looked into my soul!”. For example, a client asked about the cost of the video, and you immediately answered him about prices, payment methods and payment stages.
If colleagues sent a letter asking to “pick up a client” - study in detail the entire history of correspondence and pick up a client so that he does not notice that someone else has started his project. Try not to ask too many questions, the answers to which are in the correspondence. If you send a letter to a colleague - make sure that the full comprehensive story comes with a letter that will help a colleague to pick up a client.
The subject of the letter does not change
Omitting correspondence, the subject of the letter cannot be changed. When filtering letters on a topic in an email client, people read the entire history of correspondence. If you change at least one character in the subject of the letter - the letter does not fall into this filter and is lost.
But, if the correspondence with the client has changed the topic of conversation - start a new branch of correspondence with your topic. For example, you can not discuss localization issues in the topic with the theme “finished video”.
The topic should be such that after five years it was possible to find a correspondence thread on it.
Very often several recipients participate in the correspondence at the same time. In this case, be sure to reply to all recipients at once (the “Reply to all” button in the mail client).
Summary and Call to Action
At the end of any letter, summarize your resume and remind you what step you expect from a client. Thus, you “lead” the client along with the right path, program his actions as you need, and thereby make his life easier.
CV after chatting in Skype
After talking on Skype, be sure to send an email to the client with a brief summary of the conversation and the results you came to. In this case, the information will remain in the history of correspondence and will not be lost.
PS: try to keep your letter always the last.