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Conversational Tools?
By Conrad Elnes, Chairman, STI International

Skilled listeners use   the Conversational Circuit to help them give customers appropriate feedback that assures a flowing conversation. The Conversational Circuit illustrates that, when a customer makes a disclosure, it is important to listen and give feedback; then probe for additional information.

Skilled listeners use the Conversational Circuit to help them give customers appropriate feedback that assures a flowing conversation. The Conversational Circuit illustrates that, when a customer makes a disclosure, it is important to listen and give feedback; then probe for additional information. Below is an example of how you might use the Conversational Circuit to learn important information. The Circuit may be repeated several times to encourage customers to tell their whole story.

Remember: Feedback rewards others for giving you information while simultaneously establishing positive climates. It is an effective conversation stimulator.

When customers make favorable disclosures, as in this example, show approval by giving linking feedback and probing to learn the Rest Of Their Story. (ROTS)


Favorable Customer Disclosures

Example:

Customer: "The efforts of your department made that project turn out great!" (Disclosure)

You: "Thank you, Liz. Our whole department felt it was worth our best efforts" (Linking Feedback) "Anything in particular come to mind?" (Probe)

As you continue to Listen, Link and Probe, Liz will elaborate on her story.

Note: Linking feedback incorporates one or two words from the customer's disclosure and indicates your very high level of listening skill.

Exercise:

Write your responses to the examples of favorable disclosures below. Be prepared to discuss them.

Remember -Listen, Link and Probe!

  1. Customer: "I've only worked here 2 months, but I really like it!"

You: "___________________________________________________."

  1. Customer: "I could sure use your help getting the new computer program to work."

You: " __________________________________________________."

When customers make negative disclosures such as objections or complaints, they may be trying to help you understand their needs. Listen non-defensively, express appreciation, and probe. Doing so, empathetically, helps establish a climate of Appreciation to encourage further conversation.

 

Negative Disclosures

Two Poor Examples:

Supervisor: "You rarely complete your assignments on time!"

(Negative Disclosure.)

You: "Yes, I'm frequently late, but let me tell you why."

(The "Yes, but . . ." technique stifles the customer.)

- OR -

You: "You would be late, too, if you were as overloaded as I am!"

(The "victim" technique also stifles the customer.)

Good Example:

Supervisor: "You rarely complete your assignments on time!"

You: "Steve, I'm glad you mentioned your concern about the timely completion of my assignments. Would you work with me to develop a project planner that will streamline things?"

As you continue to Listen, Link and Probe, Steve is likely to continue giving you the help you need to meet/exceed his timing expectations.

Exercise:

Write your response to the following examples of negative Disclosures.

Remember -Listen, Link, and Probe!

3. Manager: "Your tardiness at staff meetings really upsets me."

You: "_______________________________________________ ."

4. Customer: "You never return my voice mails!"

You: "_______________________________________________ ."

To encourage customers to talk, use the Conversational Circuit extensively with both internal and external customers.

 



Conrad Elnes, the charmain of STI International is a recognized leader in the design and presentation of customized training programs for salespeople, consultants and customer service staff. STI can be reached at 800.784.1555

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