Business is all about relationships. This includes both internally and externally. When problems arise, effective communication becomes even more critical to help mitigate a situation. Approaching problems in a strategic way can help to forge stronger relationships and build trust.
Validate the Client’s Concern
Before attempting to solve the client problems, it is important that you have a thorough understanding of the issue to start. Take the time to truly listen and hear what the person is saying. Minimize distractions and give them your full focus. This shows respect and that you value what the client has to say.
Define the Problem
Don’t assume that you know exactly what the issue is. Repeat the situation back to the person as you understand it and ask for clarification as necessary. Misunderstandings can quickly escalate an issue that may have been more easily resolved by taking the time to ask a few questions. Identify what the client’s specific needs are and the outcome that they are expecting. From here you can better frame the issue and your approach to coming up with a mutually beneficial resolution.
Defining the problem also allows the client to explain things from their perspective. Their interpretation of the issue and concerns may not be the same as yours.
There are often many ways to go about resolving an issue depending on the expected outcome. While at times there is no clear cut answer, there is usually at least an alternative that can provide some satisfaction. Suggest a few options for moving forward and gather feedback from the client. Negotiate details to create a plan that is – as much as possible – mutually beneficial.
Make sure that you set clear expectations so that both parties know exactly what is to happen when and what is being agreed upon. Outline what steps you plan to take and the results expected. If you need to consult with others or gain their input to make something happen, let the client know. Keep solutions realistic and do not make promises that you know you cannot keep.
After you have agreed on a course of action, periodically follow up with the client to update them on progress or the status of the situation. Keep them in the loop so that they know what is happening and that you are being honest and upfront. Once the problem has been resolved, check in to make sure that they are satisfied with the result or to see if they need further assistance.
Actively listening and working with the client can go a long way in building a stronger, more trusting relationship. It makes them feel valued and acknowledges their satisfaction is important. These same strategies apply to interacting with colleagues or other professionals as well. Sometimes you have to take a step back and see things from the other person’s point of view to be able to provide better service and support.
To further enhance your communication skills and learn how to more effectively resolve problems, contact JP Kantor Consulting today. We will work with you to develop these strategies and more, helping you to position yourself as a stronger leader in the workplace.