“Hi Chaitrali, Are you Busy?”, asked Aarony, my colleague.
“Hi, Aarony. I am almost finishing my work. Tell me, how can I help you?”, I asked her.
“Well, tomorrow I have my first ever meeting with customer. I have prepared myself on technical level, could you please give me some tips for my first meeting?”- Aarony.
This conversation was over Skype messages.
I almost typed, ” Just study and focus on your meeting agenda and prepare yourself accordingly. Don’t worry, Stay cool. Everything is going to be good.”. Before pressing SEND, I paused for a moment and thought.
Like seriously, its been now 11 months I am working in my new company and facing customers. Just to give a quick background, I am working as Senior Customer Quality Service Engineer, working full time dealing, handling, supporting customers on product quality issues, production queries and on almost all the activities for ongoing production till product reaches the end user. 11 months back when I entered on this role, it was also my FIRST TIME to work directly with CUSTOMERS!. Somehow, I was never afraid of facing customers directly. Half of my interview was focused to check my ability to deal and interact with customer! Fortunately, I passed them :). Ofcourse, there were some tricks and tips my colleagues helped me with eventually while entering into my new role. Some DO’s and DON’Ts to maintain same Corporate image like my previous colleagues did. Each day till now was exiting and equally holding huge responsibility on me. That’s how it taught me and is teaching me a lot each day to deal with customers in better and much better ways!
Recalling my experience, I felt it stupid to send her what I had Typed-IN. I deleted everything I wrote and started revisiting my learnings. Here’s what I share with her and today sharing with you, most primary, valuable lessons but forming base and foundation for working with customers.
Here are 10 MOST EFFECTIVE WAYS TO DEAL WITH CUSTOMERS, especially for the first time!
Tip 1- Start your conversation with INTRODUCTION. Introduce yourself and get to know your Customers. Keep your voice cheerful that shows enthusiasm. Ultimately, here you begin to leave your impressions.
Tip 2- Don’t treat ‘Customers as Customers’. Don’t carry huge pressure of this word ‘customer’ making yourself distant. They are human beings finally!
Tip 3- Be GENUINELY interested in understanding them! This will open them up to share and seek our your support.
Tip 4- DISCUSS Discuss Discuss until you hear them ALOUD (understand enough)! However, while discussing make sure you make your point as well.
Tip 5- Don’t try to Overpower them, be it even due to your knowledge. Feeling of you overpowering them, can put customers away from you.
Tip 6- If you can’t answer their questions upfront, then mention ‘you will discuss internally and get back asap’. This is sound option, than providing HALF or UNKNOWN info!
Tip 7- Take NOTES of what Customers say. Conclude meetup by repeating actions/tasks on both parties. Get their final agreement.
Tip 8- Finally, you are representing your Organisation, keep a note of it always. As this will feature out organisation culture in someway on the table!
Tip 9- Its not a bad idea to lighten-up conversation adding some social discussions, involving out of office topics. (Prefer some soft topics like weather, weekend plans etc. which isn’t too personal for initial meetups)
Tip 10- Be Assertive. Take OWNERSHIP to Assist them in all possible ways in delivering BEST solutions!
I hope you these primary tips will help you in dealing with customers, no matter what your profession is. CUSTOMER has equal Weightage in every sort of businesses.