Questioning skills and active listening sit right at the heart of good customer service.
A valued customer is a better customer
And just as valuable as achieving clarity, you will make the customer feel pleased that you are enthusiastic about helping them and they will feel properly valued. The direct and incontrovertible result of this is a customer who will remain with you for the long term – and who will recommend you to others.
Albert Einstein put it this way:
“If I had an hour to solve a problem and my life depended on the solution, I would spend the first 55 minutes determining the proper questions to ask, for once I know the proper questions I could solve the problem in less than five minutes.”
Dealing with problems and complaints:
A lack of questioning is surprisingly common in many customer service situations – whether they are conducted by phone or face-to-face. And those that are conducted by email or letter will sometimes reveal a stunning lack of engagement with the customer’s actual problems or issues. Too often customer service staff simply reach for a stock reply that makes all kinds of assumptions about what the actual problem is.
When someone feels let down by a product or service, a standardised approach is just the way of turning annoyance to anger.
The reason for this apparent lack of real concern is often caused by the desire to rush. For example, people may be too quick to send out a service operative, without taking sufficient time to learn enough about the problem so that when the man with the van turns up at the customer’s premises he has the right equipment or spare parts with him to do a proper and effective repair.
Questions can also be useful in helping to moderate and calm a situation – particularly important for customer services operators who have to confront hostile callers. Questions show interest and concern so by listening to customers, understanding their situation and world-view correctly, they will feel valued, begin to calm down and then together you can agree the way forward. It’s a fact that asking few questions, demonstrates a lack of interest and capability, so do ask more, uncover more and add more value to your customer relationships. There is always something you can do to help. When you have reached the agreement as to what will happen next, make sure you have asked all the questions you need to ensure that what you are promising will be achieved.
What makes a question good or bad?
We can train your staff to ask the right questions and deliver excellent service to your customers.
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Questions are an essential tool of communication in any situation.
They can be extremely powerful and can lead individuals and organisations to achieve dramatic improvements, find much-needed solutions, and introduce world-leading innovations. It doesn’t matter how young or old you are, where you come from or what you do in life, if you develop your questioning skills you will achieve and gain more.
- Questions open doors to ideas and creativity
- Questions help us to achieve clarity
- Questions act as a catalyst for change and innovation
- Questions empower us
- Questions bring assumptions to the surface
- Questions can be impressive
- Questions can turn negative situations into positive outcomes
- Questions show consideration and interest
- Questions will drive continuous improvement
There are questions for particular situations just as there are horses for courses but whether you are asking a very simple closed question – one that demands a yes/no answer – or venturing to ask a slightly more inquisitive question, or actually asking a powerful question that could be the catalyst for significant change, the important factor is that you ask. Like any aspect of communication, the ability to ask questions well is one that we can improve when we understand the range and power of the tool itself.
Contact us for more information or simply to receive our brochure, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 0800 634 3399.