In Part I of my article on communication breakdowns, I focused on
Use Familiar Language: avoiding jargon that can be confusing or may seem misleading
Create a Conversation: ask questions and interact instead of lecturing the customer
Show You Care: showing Empathy and interest to build trust and value
In addition to these verbal interaction points, there are more opportunities to successfully create a wonderful Customer/ Member Experiences.
More Than Words
While the words we choose are important, we can’t forget about nonverbal aspects of communication, especially in a branch setting. Face-to-face interactions bring the added challenge of body language, which can drastically alter the meaning of what we say. Are your representatives sending the right signals? These may include:
• Greeting customers as they enter
• Making eye contact during conversations
• Using positive facial expressions
• Avoiding negative gestures: sighs, yawns, shrugs
Lobbies and offices are communicating with customers too. Does your waiting area welcome customers, or does it order them to line up? Do tellers call out “next,” or offer a personal greeting? Can customers smell the burnt microwave popcorn in the break room?
Beware Mixed Messages
Lastly, consider how your organizational language compares with your interpersonal language. What will customers think if your brochures describe product features that aren’t on your website? Or if a representative answers a customer’s question with, “I don’t know anything about that. We’re the last to know.” (Yes, one actually said that to me). Inconsistent communication is as bad as no communication. All channels need to deliver the same messages. For example:
• Use clear, easy-to-understand content (no jargon) for website, email and customer communications
• Avoid “copy and paste” emails that do not address a customer’s specific question
• Maintain a knowledge base for employees that is updated regularly
Lead By Example
We must also ensure that our communication style and word choices are the same ones we want employees to emulate. It’s all part of getting everyone in your institution to communicate well. The challenge is a big one. But when customers get the right messages, their responses will be well worth it.
This post originally appeared in my article for Deluxe Knowledge Quarterly publication December 2012.
Filed under: banking, Call Center, Communication, Contact Center, credit union, Customer Communication, Customer Experience, Customer Retention, Customer Service, Proactive Customer Service Tagged: | Banking Services, Body language, Business, Communication, Credit union, Customer, customer experience, Customer satisfaction, Customer Service