Wednesday, January 11, 2012

"New Customer Service for 2012"


    " In fact, if you have a public-contact job, you don't have to say anything.  All you have to do is smile.  Many outsiders may form their impression of your organization based upon subtle unconscious clues you transmit through your tone of voice, facial expressions and general appearence. " (Business Today, Bovee/Thill 8th ed.)  As small business entrepreneurs that have "public-contact jobs", we have to remember that the impression that current and future clients have about our companies is based upon what we communicate to them.  Our methods of communication: non-verbal, verbal and written haven't changed, but the mediums that we use have, as we conduct business-to-business meetngs via Skype, chat with our clients on social networking chats and alert customers to your products and services in blogs.  These new mediums are creating new customer service for 2012 and beyond.
    Non-verbal communication is the "most basic form of communication" (Business Today, Bovee/Thill, 8th ed.) and is essential to developing new customer serivce.  For example, if you are conducting a business-to-business (B2B) meeting via Skype, how would you sit? would you slump down in your chair?  Your posture is apart of your non-verbal communication.  By using good posture you project  a positive image to your client of respect for them and your company.  In order, to present a positive image in your posture you must make a conscious effort by stretching your backbone, tucking your shoulders, keeping your head up and relaxing (exercising helps too).  By practicing good posture it can help to deterr many painful back problems, poor circulation and difficulty breathing. (Professional Development, Harcourt/Brace/Jovanovich)
    Your posture is also an indication of your mental quality, by mental quality we are referring to your attitude.  The way you stand or sit makes your attitude obvious to others.  One way to see what your psoture expresses about your attitude, is by practicing in a mirror.  As you are looking in the mirror pay attention to your facial expressions that also give non-verbal clues.  Those facial expressions show your emotion, type and intensity of feelings.

    Also your personal appearence should be attended to while you are in front of the mirror because it is also a non-verbal form of communication.  The type of response you will receive from a client in a B2B Skype meeting will be determined by the way you dress.  Other forms of non-verbal communication include: vocal characteristics (tone, volume, accent and pace), touch (good and bad touch) and time/space (use of time, respect for clients and personal time/space).  All of these forms can be used effectively by paying attention to the cludes to make you a better speakers and listenener.  Be sure to remember that your non-verbal communication should be effective without being manipulative and that these are only clues; they are powerful tools to effective communication but aren't infallible. (Business Today, Bovee/Thill, 8th ed.)

    While in that same B2B business meeting you must also be cautious of your verbal communication; as one would whe speaking to a current or future client.  When speaking there are five basic componenets to remember: (Professional Development, Harcourt/Brace/Jovanovich)
1. be concise: keep to the business at hand
2. be complete: give all, not half or part, of the necessary information
3. be cohesive: don't jump from one subject to another
4. be clear: speak with clear enunciation
5. be courteous: be thoughtful and considerate in the way that you phrase your message.
By remembering these five basic componenets you can be sensitive to your clients needs by keeping answering questions on the phone and/ or video-conferences.

    These five basic components can be applied to written forms of communication as well.  As you use chats on social networking sites, blogs etc. to answer questions and inform clients on our products and/or services.  All of these things help you to cultivate a good relationship with your clients in order to become sensitive to their needs.  However, it is easy on social networkin sites inside of chats to become lax in our written communication.  In written communication, you must remember that we have an advantage that isn't available in the other two forms, in that you can plan and control your message.  In planning your message you should use complete sentences, with correct grammar, punctuation and to edit your message before sending or posting.  This form of communication is only valuable if you plan carefully, due to its complexity.

    Although, all three of these forms of communication have always been in existence they must be applied to the new mediums (video-conferencing, online chatting, blogs etc.) of communication that serve as tools to help us to offer customer service in a new way for 2012 and beyond.

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