• RBS Staff

Phone Skills Crucial To Building Customer Relationships

Updated: May 11

Whether you believe it or not, small business owners actually possess an advantage over bigger companies. This is because they have the ability to build stronger customer relationships by taking on a more personal approach.


A good example of this is reaching out to customers via phone.


While emailing customers also works, it’s not always the best method of communication. Sometimes, a five-minute phone call is best. But of course, just like how it takes a certain skill to compose the right email, the same can be said when it comes to having phone conversations with customers and clients.


Why Verbal Communication Matters


Opening up the lines of communication between businesses and customers is what allows both parties to get to know each other a little bit better.


Think of it just like dating, where constant communication teaches you things about each other.


Like, for example, how a man or a woman likes food to be cooked a certain way and doing it for them because you know that they will like it. Or, maybe, when you send your special someone a gift to cheer them up when you know that they’re feeling a bit down even when they did not ask for it.


Such gestures go a long way in creating and maintaining a healthy relationship.


In customer relationships, small businesses can focus on small but impactful gestures that customers can appreciate. A good example is sending a customer a note or gift basket after they let it slip by in a conversation that they were celebrating a big event.


Important Phone Skills for Building Relationships


1. Concise Speaking


Phone conversations tend to be relatively short. This is where the ability to organize thoughts and summarize a couple of paragraphs into a few sentences and use that in an engaging conversation comes in.


Luckily, concise speaking is a learnable skill. It’s something that you can pick up, work on, and improve with practice.


A good way to practice this is to train your brain to quickly process new information by reading and listening constantly. Then, you can find a way to relay this information in a more succinct manner.


2. Active Listening


When talking to someone on the phone, do as you would in person -- concentrate on them and be an active participant.


Actively listening to what the customer is saying and even reflecting back what they just said to you is a way to ensure that you understood everything that they’re saying. It shows that you’re leaving nothing up to chance.


Also, by paying attention to your customers, you get a chance to pick up bits and pieces of information that you can use in the future.


By listening attentively, you’re demonstrating to your customer that you value them.


3. Confidence


In businesses, if a customer calls and they’re talking to someone who’s confident and knows what they’re talking about, they feel reassured that their queries and problems will be solved, or at the very least, someone took the time to listen to them.


But confidence isn’t just something that’s built overnight. In fact, truly confident people are those who have prepared for any and all eventualities.


If your plan is to use phone calls to build better customer relationships, it’s necessary for those who are on the phone to know their stuff, or so to speak. They need to practice these types of conversations.


The goal here is to have practiced various situations well enough to know what to say to make the conversation take on a more casual tone instead of a scripted feel.


Organizational Commitment to Building Business Relationships


A small business has the advantage of the owner being able to take the time out of their day to get on the phone with their customers and address their concerns or listen to their feedback.


But that’s just it. The commitment to building better customer relationships via the phone must start from the very top. As a small business owner, it is up to YOU to set the tone and go all-in, or so to speak.


Developing the necessary phone skills for building customer relationships is great. However, it won’t happen overnight. It certainly will go nowhere if your organization isn’t fully committed to it. This applies to both in the short term and in the long term.


An all-hands-on-deck type of commitment is required for a business to build customer relationships.


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