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Six Strategies To Improve Customer Service Communication

Six Strategies To Improve Customer Service Communication

Communication skills are essential for your growth as a company. According to The Oxford Dictionary, communication is the exchanging of information or news. No insult to Oxford, but that summation of communication doesn’t even scratch the surface; in fact, it doesn’t even touch it.

Communication is the invisible force that creates the opportunity for all the things that have ever been or ever will be to be accomplished. Without communication, nothing, and we mean nothing, would happen.

Inventions would never be made, education would never occur, advancement and evolution would be stagnant, and all creation as we know it would be non-existent. Communication is required to achieve anything.

In lieu of this, improving customer service communication is an essential investment in your business that cannot be ignored or put to the side. Without effective communication between your company and customers, your growth cannot occur, and your success will be destroyed.

A Formal Analysis of Communication

There are five types of communication that occur when we engage in conversations with others. Some of these types happen at the same time, and others happen independently of one another. It is important that all are understood and executed from a foundation of ensuring that all parties are more than heard but listened to and understood.

The Five Types of Communication at a Glance

  1. Verbal communication
  2. Non-verbal communication
  3. Written communication
  4. Active listening
  5. Visual communication

Verbal Communication

Verbal communication is the one type of communication that we all use the most, especially in business. Customer service communication primarily utilizes this form of communication over all the others. Although, with that being said, you’ll soon observe that all of the different types of communication, when done effectively and excellently, complement one another to create great communication.

Verbal communication is simply the act of speaking to another person. This may be over the phone, in person, or via video or virtual chats. Verbal communication encompasses many aspects of communication and language, including complexity, tone, pitch, and cadence.

Non-Verbal Communication

When done face-to-face, whether in person or virtually, verbal communication is intricately intertwined with nonverbal communication to the extent that neither can be separated from the other.

Non-verbal communication is often considered the superior of the two because much more can be communicated through this type than actual spoken words.

For example, consider the following sentence, “I didn’t say you ate the last cupcake, buddy.” Depending on the inflection, tone, cadence, pitch, and attitude portrayed and exhibited by the speaker, this simple sentence could communicate several different messages. As such, it can elicit a variety of responses.

Go ahead, in your head, say that sentence jokingly, angrily, and maybe without any emotion or fluctuating pitch. Think about how the person hearing it would respond to each. While the words don’t change in either of the three options above, the message is unique in each one.

The responses will be dictated more by the nonverbal cues than the actual words spoken. It’s the classic how versus what debate.

Written Communication

Written communication means two things — the communication was only in word form, and no verbal or nonverbal communication occurs. Written communication with your customer can derive from a variety of sources, such as Facebook, postal mailers, emails, newsletters, etc.

One of the most significant issues with written communication is it lacks nonverbal cues. As we just learned, nonverbal cues play the most critical role in communication because they give substance to the words spoken. With written communication, this is loudly absent.

This is one of the reasons emoticons have increased in popularity and usage when texting. It is often required that an emoticon be used to ensure the recipient of a message understands the emotional tone and context behind the message.

Active Listening

Active listening is an essential element of communication, especially within business communications. Active listening simply involves the listener being engaged with the communicator to the degree that they can retain and empathize with what’s being exchanged.

Within retention and empathy, effective engagement and communication cannot occur. It is essential that we actively listen to those communicating with us, especially with the relationship that is presented carries significance, such as the business-customer relationship.

Visual Communication

Visual communication reflects the visual nature of our society. We constantly communicate with our customers via visuals, whether it be crafty modern graphic arts design, creative television commercials, or color branding. The colors you choose to signify your brand, for instance, can create a brand identity and recognition without a word ever being spoken or written.

Six Strategies To Improve Customer Service Communication Based on the Five Types of Communication 

Since we’ve taken a deep dive into the five types of communication, it’s only fitting that we now look at six ways an understanding of these concepts can be used to improve customer service interactions.

Analyze and Understand How You Communicate

The biggest lesson of all these strategies is this – understand how you communicate in order to communicate more effectively.

In the development stages of your customer service communication revamping and strategizing, it’s imperative that you and your team do an honest analysis of how you communicate both with your customers and each other.

This includes all of your types of communication, including verbal, nonverbal, in-person, virtual, written, and visual communications. Some questions you can ask are what is the tone of your messaging and communications? What nonverbal cues are you and your teams exhibiting? This is where emotional intelligence comes into play. How do your visual marketing campaigns correlate with the service or product rendered or provided?

Answering these questions via data, metrics, surveys, and honest evaluations will give you a starting point of where to make improvements.

Be Engaged In Customer Interactions

In all of your communications with customers, it is important that your customer service teams are actively engaged in the conversations, whether written or verbal/nonverbal.

Both unhappy and happy customers want to know that they are being heard. Upset customers want to have their concerns understood. Good customer service agents like clients know that they empathize with their plight and that the company intends to do everything reasonably possible to alleviate the customer’s problem.

The worst thing that can happen to your customer satisfaction statistics is to have customer service representatives communicating with customers without active engagement or concern. The customer will easily identify this; it will only further their frustrations and dissatisfaction. Remember that word-of-mouth can boost your business… or hurt it.

Empathize With Customer Concerns

One of the most important elements of excellent customer service involves empathy. Your frustrated customers want to know that you have heard them, care about their complaints, and understand why they feel the way they do.

Even in cases where there is nothing you can do to help them, knowing that you care is often enough to keep them as loyal customers and improve their satisfaction.

Rely on Human-to-Human Interactions

When it comes to unparalleled customer experience, nothing can replace a personal touch. While bots and automation programs can meet customer needs in certain situations (about 29% of the time, according to Forbes), these products can also lead to frustration.

Address a customer’s issues with live reps who have perfected the art of communication strategy. Eighty-six percent of customers feel that they prefer talking to a live person. Forty percent of callers immediately opt to speak to a team member when making service-related phone calls.

Eliminate Communication Barriers

Countless barriers exist to cause mayhem with miscommunication. Everything from office distractions to language barriers can cause communication to break down. This is especially true when utilizing virtual labor forces.

Whatever the barriers may be, you are most likely aware of them, or at least some of them. Make it a priority to eliminate those barriers so that effective communication service can occur.

If one of your barriers is distracted customer service representatives who work from home, institute policies that require quiet, dedicated workspaces. If a customer calls in and hears a dog barking in the background, or your representative needs them to repeat themselves constantly because of the distracting noise in the background, effective communication skills are not being executed.

Communication skills are essential elements of improved customer service communications and are only made all the more difficult when confronted with unnecessary barriers.

Write Concisely 

When writing messages to your customers in any capacity, take the time to eliminate errors, improper usage of words, poor grammar, unpleasant tones, and anything that might distract from the message intended to be conveyed. Use positive language and respond as quickly as you can — in real-time, if possible.

For instance, if you utilize email messaging as a medium for customers to communicate with your customer service department, ensure that your support team doesn’t respond to those emails (or messages on the company’s social media channels) the same as they would to a personal text.

Texting has created notable issues with written communications because so many people around the world predominantly communicate with their friends and families this way. Make it a priority to retrain your customer support team and ensure they don’t write to your customers the same way they text to their friends.

Good Communication Is Great Customer Service

Communication skills begin developing the day we are born. However, some of the skills we pick up through our development are not good ones. Therefore, it is essential that all of us analyze the way we communicate with others, especially nonverbally so that we don’t inadvertently communicate the wrong message.

How many times have you said or been told, “That’s not what I meant,” or “There was a breakdown in communication”? We’re confident you’ve been on both sides of those statements more than once in your lifetime.

The good news is these habits can be broken, and we can retrain ourselves to be better communicators, both at work and in our personal lives. Many of the communication skills necessary for effective and improved customer service communications can also improve the communications we have with those we love. That, our friends, is a win-win situation!

Want to learn more about powerful communication and how to make your customer service the best in the business? Head to AweseomeOS for more information.


Five Types of Communication | Graduate College | Drexel University

The importance of non-verbal communication | MIUC

Emotional Intelligence in Leadership: Why It's Important | Harvard Business School

AI Stats News: 86% Of Consumers Prefer Humans To Chatbots | Forbes