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A Guide to Making Small Talk with Customers

Oct 5, 2022 | 6m

Gain Actionable Insights Into:

  • Engaging your regular customers with small talks
  • Using small conversation to placate your irate customers
  • Keeping your calm with abusive customers

A Guide to Making Small Talk with Customers

Small talk is a critical tool you can use to address and solve for a customer’s frustration. But when do you make small talk? That differs from customer to customer, and the type of situation you’re dealing with.

Regular Customers

When you answer the call, introduce yourself to the customer. Mention your name, title, and company. Customers appreciate knowing who they’re speaking to. This will make you come across as professional and friendly. Then ask the customer for their name, and use their first name to address them during the call. Avoid saying “Mr. X” or “Ms. Y” – that’s more old school, and overly formal.

Speak to the customer like you’d speak to a friend you’re meeting after a long time. You wouldn’t say “Hi, how can I help you?” to a friend, would you? So after introducing yourself, ask an ice-breaker question. These are generic questions related to normal life such as:

  • How are you doing?
  • How was your day/week/weekend?
  • How was your (insert holiday/occasion, for example, New Year)?

Avoid asking questions that involve personal information. Never ask questions about their age, religion, relationship status, where they went to college, etc. This information is unnecessary and doesn’t help you solve their issue. You’re not here to build relationships, you’re building rapport to solve their issues swiftly.

When your customer responds to your question, remember not to answer in a monotonic voice, as this will make you seem like you’re asking questions for the sake of asking them, without really being interested in what the customer is saying. You don’t want to seem robotic, as though you’re just getting through your job. Use your voice strategically to convey your emotions.

For example:

  • If the customer says they’ve had a great weekend, you could say – with enthusiasm in your voice – “That’s wonderful to hear!”
  • If the customer says they’ve had a bad day, you could say in this case, with a more caring tone “I’m so sorry to hear that (first name), hope the upcoming weekend is better for you. But by solving your issue today, maybe I can make things a little better for you” This way you’re making your company a source of happiness for your customer!

Do this right, and you will make your customer feel like the center of the universe, which is ideal!

While the customer is telling you about their day or week, you should be working smart. Quickly pull up all the information you have on the customer history on your system and see if you can identify the issues they’re facing. It’s very delightful to customers if, instead of saying “Thanks for sharing, how can I help you today?” you’re able to proactively identify what their problem is.

You should say “(First name), I can see you’re facing an issue with 1, 2, 3. I’m very sorry that you’re going through this experience. Let me solve this for you.” This way the customer perceives you as being professional, and an expert at your job.

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