Why Clear Communication in Customer Service is Essential to Business

Communication is essential for most human-to-human interactions, and customer service is a key example of these interactions. Effective customer service involves “reading” the other person, gathering information, and responding to those needs.

Here are examples of how great communication supports customer service:

  • Suspend judgement. Serving customers requires an open mind, so you are gathering information rather than presupposing needs.
  • Listen for the underlying needs and values. The expressed question may not be the actual underlying need. Listen for the values and emotion driving the question.
  • Wait. In today’s fast-paced world and resource shortages, it is easy to jump in and cut off the customer mid-sentence with a solution. Just listen—the person may answer their own question or close the deal just by talking.
  • Focus on the other person. Listen to what the other person already knows, and what they need to know. Follow the conversation, rather than driving it.
  • Practice empathy. Emotionally connecting with another person to read their needs is a core competency and best practice for customer service.
  • Avoid multi-tasking. Today’s video-mediated environment makes it too easy to answer emails while on a customer call. Give the customer your full attention.
  • Ask customers for feedback and know where to send that feedback for action.
  • Stay flexible. A clear customer service competency is being flexible in the moment — noticing unexpressed needs and offering to fill them in real time.
  • Know yourself and what pushes your buttons. Sometimes, customers will prompt negative emotions. Knowing your triggers can help you avoid getting derailed.

 Effective customer service requires understanding and responding to a customer’s motives and needs. When a need is met, the customer feels positive emotion. Communication skills are core to customer service — and customer service professionals that translate communication into value for the customer are priceless for an organization.