Paraphrasing the customer's situation proves that you read the customer's email. Include the specific of the customer's complaint or other details they've shared. Learn to recognize what to paraphrase and how to do it.
- You're getting ready to run the grocery store to pick up a few things. You're almost out the door when your roommate calls out, "Can you pick me up some coffee filters, "toothpicks, and Kleenex?" You replay, "Yeah, sure, will do." But something in your voice makes your roommate wonder if you were really listening. All of a sudden she's in the doorway blocking your exit. She says, "Repeat it back. "What did I ask you to pick up?" You smile and reply, "Coffee filters, tissues, and toothpicks. "Got it." That's paraphrasing in action.
It works with roommates and it works really well when you're writing emails to customers. Paraphrasing the customer's complaint or question is an email best practice. When you do this you show that you read the customer's email closely and that you care about them personally. For example, when a customer's email mentions that he ordered a gift card for his wife's birthday, but it arrived late, your reply should mention the wife or the birthday. That's paraphrasing.
Another best practice is to include details about the specific situation in your reply. This email includes a few personal details that might be part of your answer. The market where he shops, the amount of product he buys each week, his eczema, or being unable to tan. You don't need to mention all these personal details, just one or two will be enough. Here's how you could reply. This response includes a passing mention, a brief paraphrase of the customer's eczema.
By including this information you demonstrate your careful reading of the customer's email as well as your interest in solving his problem. To be good at paraphrasing, you'll need to develop an eagle eye for personal details. Look for any of these details including an occasion, mention of a family member, their reason for buying the product or visiting the site, or how loyal they've been to your company. What about how the customer wants to use your product or service? In each of these situations, a simple paraphrase will help the customer feel like you are personally engaged with their situation.
Now, take a few minutes to download the paraphrase handout and refer to the examples when you respond to customer emails. I know you'll find it a helpful way to answer the customer's questions and let them know you care.
- Reading emails carefully
- Anticipating follow-up questions
- Answering all of the customer's questions
- Handling difficult questions
- Explaining your process to the customer
- Paraphrasing the customer's situation
- Acknowledging the customer's feelings
- Apologizing when appropriate
- Avoiding clichéd language
- Demonstrating empathy and sincerity in your writing
- Building rapport