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4 tips for great customer-facing conversations

I know every company waxes poetic about its values. So do take this with a grain of salt if you must. But one of the reasons I’m a PaperCutter is because we really mean it when we say we care about our customers.

I’ve been with PaperCut Software for just over 6 years, as part of the Customer Care team. It’s my job to help prospective customers find the right solution for their print environment. I also sometimes liaise with Technical Support, or help make introductions to our Partners, to assist our current customers.

During my tenure, I’ve engaged with all types of organizations and different people with unique backgrounds and experiences.

Whether you’re in a customer-facing role, or regularly engaging in any business discussions, I’ve picked up some things over the years. Hopefully, they can help you have a great conversation, where both parties leave feeling engaged and accomplished. I call these…

The core 4 tips for great customer-facing conversations

1. Match the energy

We’ve got all kinds of initial emails sent to us from all types of positions and organizations. We’ll receive inquiries from extremely vague to as detailed as if I were working right beside them! Sometimes these can be hard to know how to respond to, especially in an initial reply.

The best thing to keep in mind is to match as much of the energy as you can by reading what they’ve sent you to the T. If they send a short and vague inquiry, keep your response short and descriptive. Don’t try to guess what they’re talking about if they don’t say it.

The only caveat is if they are wanting specific instructions to fix a problem. Even then, try to keep the fix at a focused and concise length.

2. Allow me to have this dance!

Have you ever danced with someone? Typically you want to match the rhythm and energy they’re sending your way and to the music you’re listening to. Meaning, if someone dances slow, dance slow with them  - you wouldn’t want to dance with a fast/frenetic energy!

So when talking to someone, match their tone of voice when they’re on the phone with you and asking about your product/service or wanting to learn more. If people are direct they will instantly connect with you if you’re direct back to them. If they’re chatty and talkative, you can be chatty and talkative too. If you laugh and chuckle, they’ll be inclined to laugh and chuckle.

Obviously, don’t be a complete copycat, but it’s similar to #1 above: really read their energy and match it.

3. Be honest - sometimes you won’t know the answers

As one of PaperCut’s core values, honesty has always steered me in the right direction with any engagement. I’ve never had a person upset when I’ve said I don’t know something in particular.

Sure, I could try and make something up or maybe try to sway them on a partially right answer. But instead, I’ve always simply responded with, “Great question, I actually don’t know” (in an upbeat way). I then quickly follow up with, “Please allow me to follow up and find the expert who can help us out on this.” People really appreciate that.

Be confident that you’re owning up to it and you’re going to facilitate and make sure they find the answer(s) they’re looking for. You’re a part of that process!

4. Don’t multi-task - LISTEN!

This is the hardest but most important piece of advice I can share. Never multi-task by looking on your phone at social media when someone is chatting with you. Be present. Take careful notes as the person is talking to you. You may need to follow up on something.

Act as if they’re talking to you across the table and you’re both having some coffee or tea. Listen to what they’re saying or asking. Allow people to complete their thought before you try and jump in with your answer or reply.

I had someone who called in and wanted Technical Support even though I am  Customer Care. I allowed them to walk through what they were going through and listened all the way through. They actually solved their own problem without me saying a thing! They were ecstatic and thanked me for just listening.

Obviously, that doesn’t happen every time, but it’s worth it for the times it does.

One last tip - get talking!

Those are the core four! If you’re a customer-facing rep, business owner, technical support expert, or pretty much any position engaging with others, these four areas should help you in having more meaningful and engaging conversations with others.

Got your own tips for engaging with others? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!