When communicating with customers in writing, customer service professionals must take precautions to prevent misunderstandings.
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Written communication is more difficult to handle because you cannot use supporting mediums of expression, such as facial expressions, tone of voice or body language to add meaning to it. Due to the absence of these means of expression and the possibility of misunderstanding, emoticons were developed. By using certain techniques, though, you can be clear and precise.
Avoid Coming Across As Cold
It is easy to come across as cold in written communication even when you are not feeling that way or do not mean to express it in such a way. Some methods to improve clarity in written communications are:
- Using exclamation marks to show excitement or happiness
- Using polite and positive words, such as please, thank you, great, good, pleased, or happy
- Responding to communications within expected time frames
For online written communications, even if they are informal, you need to make extra effort to sound polite. Remember that the other person cannot hear you, they can only read the words that you have written. Therefore, you must use words to show that you are pleased to be offering help.
Use a Mix of Brand and Personal Voice
We all adopt a different manner of talking when communicating with different people. We speak differently to our family, colleagues, older people, teachers, and so on depending on their personality, position and the kind of relationship we have with them. When writing to customers, you need to adopt a voice – your unique style of writing.
A thoroughly professional approach may seem dry and distant, and a solely personal voice may seem unprofessional. Therefore, to retain your uniqueness while being professional, you can mix a professional brand voice and your personal voice. For example, if your brand uses an informal tone of voice such as “You will know it when you feel the heat” in advertisements and promotional materials, then you must use the informal voice in your written communications to align with your brand voice.
A complete break from the brand image will confuse people because they have created an image in their mind about the brand, and it is not good for the company to dissolve it in one-to-one communications. At the same time, sounding robotic could also be damaging. Therefore, a mix of both brand and personal voice works best to retain the brand image and yet be personalized.
Even if we are only communicating through writing, emotions still come across. Using positive words helps, but many times, especially in chat messages, you do not get time to think and respond. At such times, you need to feel genuinely eager to help the other person. Otherwise, there is the danger of sounding fake or disinterested.
If you are genuinely concerned about resolving a customer complaint or providing information, you will find that your written message will automatically express how you are feeling when giving service. Genuineness is appreciated by customers and also helps in brand building.
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