Every now and then you bump into customers who just can’t seem to get enough information from you. Their seemingly endless series of questions eat up huge amounts of your time – which can be particularly frustrating when you work in a very busy environment.
Why do customers do this? There can be many reasons, of course, but it’s usually one of two things. The first is that your customers aren’t yet comfortable with the product or service you’re offering, or the information you’re providing. They’re looking for reassurance that they’re making good decisions.
The second reason is that they may not be entirely sure what they’re looking for in the first place. They are attempting to determine their own needs by trial and error. Whichever the case, the solution is the same — you need to take control by asking relevant, directed questions. Try to uncover what is truly important to them, so that the information that you provide is both relevant and persuasive.
The skill of answering customers’ questions with directed questions of your own is perhaps the most valuable skill you can ever master. It helps you maintain control in a sales or service interview, and reassures your customer that you care, and are on the right track. For example, if your customer asks, “What’s the difference between these two things?” you might respond with, “There are a number of differences. What will you be using it for?” The customer goes from asking questions to answering questions, and you, the serviceperson, have greater control over the conversation. You’ll be amazed at how quickly this technique can turn “difficult” customers into loyal, long-term customers.
Have a great week!
[This is from the Archive Project – where we are attempting to get 10 years of Winning at Work on the web! Original publication date: 28 August, 2004]
Shaun Belding is CEO of The Belding Group and has been consulting and speaking on customer experience, employee engagement and workplace performance for 23 years