Friday, April 17, 2015


When you are out of sync with your customer’s style of presenting, you can frustrate them and lose their confidence. The greater the mismatch, the greater the frustration. 
Have you seen the television commercial of the chameleon walking past many different colors of paint, his own color changing to match it as he goes past? There is a lesson there for us~~not that I am comparing you to a lizard, you understand. Think about it this way: Good communication involves matching one’s pace and wording with the others in the conversation. While we are in customer service mode, it’s not about us.
On our own time, we might wish to impress our English professor with our vocabulary of esoteric, four-syllable words, or our new manager with our command of industry jargon. Talking with the customer~~client, resident, donor~~requires a different set of skills: Social skills. Pay attention to the customer’s delivery. Is it slow and chatty? Is it fast-paced and to the point? The first one, provided you are not in a crunch situation, may enjoy chatting about the weird weather we’ve had lately. The second one’s hair is on fire, so drop the small talk and pick up the extinguisher. And you will lose credibility with the one who has a good command of technical terms if you use words like “thingamabob” or “whatchamacallit.”
Just as it helps to allow your posture to reflect a customer’s body language, it helps to allow your speech to echo their vocal patterns. Do be careful; there can be a fine line between resonating with your customer versus looking or sounding as though you are consciously copying them. If you sense that your customer is receiving the wrong message, stop your attempt.
This is all about your ability to recognize, respect, and meet your customer’s needs. We, as humans, feel comfortable with those who seem similar to us, yet have the knowledge to fix our problem. Sometimes it is important to create comfort and rapport; other times action is called for, rather than niceties. Your Emotional Intelligence will guide you in the right direction. More about that in May.
Jeannie Newman of JZN Associates is the go-to person for all  
your social skills training needs. Find her at, or on LinkedIn. 
JZN Associates is available for guided discussions,
workshops, or seminars. Inquire about special retainer rates.