While many people and businesses will start to resume some sense of normality over the coming weeks, we still need to be mindful of social distancing. That said, an extra two metres should not impact how we are communicating with our customers. In this blog, we outline ten effective ways to build your interpersonal communication skills and keep your relationships strong, even if you are not necessarily communicating face to face in the real world.
1. Have the difficult conversations
Shying away from necessary conflict for the sake of avoiding confrontation is a big hindrance to forging meaningful communication and improving customer relations. While it may not be everyone’s strength, through practice, you will learn the best ways to conduct difficult conversations that need to be had.
2. Be concise
Being concise with your content goes a long way towards earning goodwill from those you wish to communicate with. Quickly get to the points you wish to make and avoid filler conversations just for the sake of it; people will appreciate you for it.
3. Make feedback count
Often, the most important communication skill is learning to make the most of the small windows offered for you to give constructive feedback on something. Make the most of these opportunities. Feedback is a cornerstone of customer retention management. It shows your customers that you are sensitive to their needs and receptive to positive change.
4. Receive feedback graciously
While it is important to provide feedback, it is also crucial to learn how to take constructive criticism and feedback, and not to take it personally. Feedback is a great way to learn what you need to focus on in order to perform better.
5. First impressions count!
This might sound obvious but one of the first things people notice about you is your hygiene habits. Keep a neat and tidy appearance and mind all aspects of your personal hygiene habits. You simply won’t retain customers if you give them reasons not to return. It makes no sense to allow something as easy as tidiness and hygiene to disrupt your attempts at communication.
6. Dress for success
Dress for every occasion, whether you are meeting face to face or via Zoom. Being under-dressed can give off the impression that you do not really care and will give others an excuse not to take you seriously.
An honest self-critique can be the most useful ability in building interpersonal communication skills that you have at your disposal. Is your focus on customer satisfaction? Are you building relationships with loyal customers? Are you delivering results through responsive customer support? Learn how to evaluate your strengths and weaknesses and be willing to make changes when necessary.
8. Listen and observe
Look for the numerous non-verbal cues that will clue you into what people are trying to convey to you in conversation. Pick up on eye contact, posture, and body language to hear the hidden conversation at play in every interaction.
9. Be prepared (but stay honest!)
Always be prepared for any conversation. However, it is much better to admit you do not know something and you need to find out the answer, rather than making something up.
10. Silence is golden
Learning when not to speak in a conversation can be an incredibly useful skill that allows the other person room to say what they need to. Challenge yourself to be silent the next time you feel the urge to argue your point, and you will instantly build more effective communication skills.
Improve your customer relationships with Bartercard insights
As we continue to build up our businesses, use the time to build on your communication skills. For more business tips, visit the Bartercard blog.