Communication breakdowns frequently occur between us and our customers because we do not take the time to ask some very simple questions to clarify a situation – we tend to ASSUME too much. One of the biggest areas of concern is with people who know their customers well – or at least think they do - and consequently tend to take things for granted. Situations and circumstances are always changing. Many customers do require a little help when they phone in or when we phone them, but they may not ask for it outright. However we must remember that sometimes customers are looking for our assistance.
OPEN questions start with words such as WHAT, WHERE, WHEN and HOW. They encourage more than just a yes/no response. For example:
“What type of service are you looking for?”
“How do you want us to dispatch your order?”
OPEN questions help you enormously in ascertaining the customer’s requirements and their reason for the call (if they are calling you.) They show that you are interested in the customer’s business and demonstrate your willingness to help. Remember that customers do not always know as much about your services as you do.
Make a list of the types of questions you can use in your telephone calls to your customers together with a list of “add on” products or services you might be able to offer them. You will be pleasantly surprised at the response from your customers. You often need to take control in the conversation and the most effective way is by using OPEN QUESTIONS.