Learn strategies for how to effectively communicate via electronic channels.
- Have you ever sent someone an email, or text, or other written communication? And they thought you were mad, upset, or simply misunderstood the message completely. What kind of chaos did this create? Building rapport through written communication can be challenging, because there are no visual cues like a smile or verbal tones for intention or context. They can only infer the tone, from our written words. Missteps here can create confusion, or even conflict in some instances.
So since we don't have body language, or verbal intonation as tools, how can we use the right words and tone to convey the correct message? Let's look at three key elements of building rapport. These elements can apply to any form of written communication, like email, chat, text, web forms, web tickets. The three key elements that we'll discuss are style, tone, and word choice. Many organizations use prepared content and responses for common incidents and requests.
This is a good practice for building rapport, because the content is pre-approved, consistent and saves time. The style, tone and word choices have all been carefully crafted beforehand, away from the heat of the contact. It's important to customize the key content elements, and any information specific to the issue. Otherwise, our tone and words sound dull and robotic. Let's take a closer look at our first element, style.
The easiest way to make style work for us is to leverage a style guide. This style guide, can include written documentation, detailing a proper greeting, formatting for the paragraphs, a closure statement and a signature line. While these elements may not sound like a big deal. They are, because together they create a polished, professional, and structured format. Let's start at the beginning, the greeting. It should be simple, positive, and respectful.
A greeting may include the customer's title, first name, or last name, and their level of service. Your organization's style guide should indicate what specific greeting should be used. This sets the tone for the contact and is an easy way to build rapport. The style guide should also include information on how to format paragraphs. How long should the paragraphs be in your written communication? Should we write a Cliff Notes version, or a War and Peace version? As a general guideline we should keep things short.
No more than two to three concise paragraphs. Most customers don't have time to read much more. We want to relay information in succinct chunks, that are easy to understand. To respond to one or two questions, its a good practice to create a paragraph response for each separate question. For more numerous questions address them in shorter paragraphs or possibly respond by telephone or another form of verbal communication. Another technique to consider is providing links to the information or attaching documentation.
Let's try not to overwhelm the customer with too much content. Other tools to consider, are bullet points, tabs, and enumerated lists. They help build rapport and flow in written communication. And they help highlight key points that space out information, making it easier to read. Now to wrap up communication with the customer, we'll want to create a statement of closure that is again, simple, fits our culture, and helps brand the contact positively.
Let's look at some examples. Thank you for chatting with me. Let us know if we can assist in any way. We appreciate you contacting us, let us know if you have any further questions with your printer. I hope this has answered all of the questions, please let me know what other questions you may have. Lastly, is our signature line, which should be standard for everyone in your support organization. Every organization should have a consistent standard block, that fits for their standards, and marketing goals.
It can include items such as, the support organization phone number, website address, knowledge base link, support hours of operation, and even some type of marketing campaign. Some companies don't include the last name of the technician or direct contact information. And again, this can vary across all organizations. So find out what your closing signature should look like. In the next video, we'll take a look at our next core component of written communication, tone.
First, Fancy provides guidance on how to use the right types of questions to gather information about an issue. Then, she explains how to professionally handle common customer service tasks, like escalating and transferring calls. Then, she shows how to hone interactions with customers by refining communications—acknowledging how tone and word choice can diffuse tension. She wraps up by covering common customer behavior scenarios in which the tools, techniques, and strategies from the course can be applied.
- Greeting and validating contacts
- Asking investigative and diagnostic questions
- Confirming and validating responses
- Reaching resolution and closure
- Using mute or hold on a call
- Escalating or transferring a call
- Building rapport over the phone, in writing, and face-to-face
- Refining word choice, style, and tone
- Managing conflict effectively
- Recovering unsatisfied customers
- Redirecting customers
- Identifying customer behavior