Lesson 2: Effective Communication

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2. Mastering effective communication involves six steps: 1. Saying what you mean and meaning what you say 2. Using nonverbal communication 3. Putting words together: grammar 4. Asking the correct questions and answering questions correctly 5. Dealing with the customer when they say no 6. Listening actively EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION 3. By the end of this lesson you should know: How to say things in the right way to convey the right message How body language and other forms of nonverbal communication impact your message to the customer How to use proper grammar when speaking with customers How to ask the correct questions How to answer customers questions correctly How to deal with customers when they say no How to listen effectively to customers EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION 4. When you communicate with customers at Mamas Subs, you can either speak or listen As the speaker, you control the conversation As long as you say something that interests your customer, you have their attention As the speaker, it is your responsibility to get your message across the way you mean ityou may not get a second chance to explain STEP 1: SAYING WHAT YOU MEAN/MEANING WHAT YOU SAY 5. Choose the right words Think before you speak Choose words that the listener will understand Opt for easy and familiar words when describing the menu items to customers: Would you like chips with your order vs. May I assist you in developing your order with the addition of chips? Add welcome words your vocabulary When you use words that sound positive and confident, you will project a positive and confident attitude Use welcoming words such as: Sure! Definitely! Absolutely! SAY WHAT YOU MEAN 6. Make sure your tone fits the message you are sending How you say something can be more important than what you say In addition to choosing the right words, think about what tone you should use to convey them If youre tone is negative, the message may also be conceived in negative terms When speaking to a customer who is upset, use a serious, helpful tone When asking a customer if you can help, use an enthusiastic tone When asking a customer a question, use a tone that shows you are truly interested in the answer Pay attention to nonverbal cues to make sure your tone fits your customer SAY WHAT YOU MEAN 7. Be professional While Mamas Subs strives to maintain rapport with customers, there is a point at which what you say can be unprofessional Keep conversations with customers on a professional level Do not ask intruding or personal questions to customers Talk to them in a respectful manner Treat them as you would treat a respected boss SAY WHAT YOU MEAN 8. As has already been mentioned, how you say something can be more important than the words you choose You can choose the right words and use the appropriate tone, but still send a different message to customers through nonverbal communication Your appearance and behavior when you talk with customers are also important for nonverbal communication STEP 2: USING NONVERBAL COMMUNICATION 9. Remember that actions speak louder than words You may have a great attitude and personality, but your actions leave a lasting impression on your customers Always be aware of your body language to make sure that you are sending the right nonverbal messages Smile often A smile is one of the most powerful messages you can send A smile makes the customer feel welcome Get in the habit of smiling often When you make a habit of smiling, your smile will look more natural NONVERBAL COMMUNICATION 10. Make eye contact If you are uncomfortable making eye contact when you speak, first get into the habit of making eye contact when you listen Once you are comfortable doing that, then try to make eye contact when you speak Wandering eyes send the message that you are bored Keep your energy level steady Choose healthy, nutritious foods that will give you long-lasting energy (e.g., some of the lighter options at Mamas Subs) If you start feeling drowsy during the shift, breathe deeply and do a few stretches Maintaining posture also helps keep energy levels up Try to get enough rest in your daily life NONVERBAL COMMUNICATION 11. Proper grammar is critical for effective communication When you use proper grammar, it is easier to communicate messages to customers Proper grammar is important for taking orders and dealing with monetary (cash, credit, or debit) transactions It is also important for handling any issues customers may have Proper grammar signals to the customer that you are an effective communicator STEP 3: PUTTING WORDS TOGETHER: GRAMMAR 12. Reflect Mamas Subs personality At work, you are the voice for Mamas Subs You should always choose words that reflect the restaurant For example: Hi! Welcome to Mamas Subs, where we make subs just as good as mama does. How can I help you today? Notice in the previous example how professional, yet somewhat informal the greeting was While some so-called fine-dining restaurants may require their employees to use formal language when speaking with customers (e.g., Hello instead of Hi!), Mamas Subs is all about casual, welcoming (yet professional) communication GRAMMAR 13. Speak Clearly Using overly casual terms or running words together can make a message difficult for some people to understand Get in the habit of using the correct words in their correct form EX: saying Hi instead of Hey, man Speak clearly, and you will present yourself as an intelligent, competent person Avoid using slang, jargon, or shorthand terms related to working at Mamas Subs Customers are not likely to know jargon or terms related to working at Mamas Subs This may cause confusion and frustration as the customer tries to specify how they would like their food Explain items on the menu, deals on orders, and any pricing information using language that customers will understand GRAMMAR 14. Customers ask questions to gather information: information about the food, the prices, deals, childrens options, etc. Typically, you will ask questions to complete an order, solve a customers problems, or resolve a customers complaint There are two types of questions: Open questions: require more than a yes or no answer and encourage the responder to provide information Closed questions: require only a one-word (e.g., yes vs. no) or short answer and are often used for clarification purposes STEP 4: ASKING THE CORRECT QUESTIONS AND ANSWERING THE QUESTIONS CORRECTLY 15. Keep your questions simple Stick with one type of question When you lump two types of questions together, you run the risk that customers may not register all the responses they need to give If a question is long and involved (e.g., determining what kind of combo they may want), break it down: Employee: Would you like to add the $1.99 medium combo to your sub today? Customer: Yes, please. Employee: Great. What kind of drink would you like? Customer: A Coke if you have it. Employee: We sure do! And with that side item, what kind of drink would you like? Customer: Chips, please. Notice in the previous example that the employee at the cash register broke the question up by asking each individual part separately ASKING/ANSWERING QUESTIONS 16. Before answering a customers question, make sure you understand it If you do not understand a customers question, recap it or ask a clarifying question question rather than guessing the answer: Customer: I want that combo deal you have with my order. Employee: Do you mean the $1.99 medium combo or the $2.49 large combo? Customer: The $2.49 large combo. Also, never answer a question unless you are sure your answer is accurate It is better to say I dont know, but I can find out for you than giving an answer that may be incorrect ASKING/ANSWERING QUESTIONS 17. Try to give more than a one-word answer No matter which questioning technique customers use, answer as though the question is open ended Giving more than a one-word answer can have an added bonus: you can generate sales: Customer: Can I get chips with the $1.99 combo? Employee: Yes, maam! Or you can get potato salad, coleslaw, fruit, or yogurt. You can also add extra side items to your for only $0.64. Notice in the above example that the customer now has many options to choose from They may decide to order more than one side item as well ASKING/ANSWERING QUESTIONS 18. You will definitely have to deal with customers who say no When you offer a valid solution and your customer says no, your job is to uncover the reasons for your customers objections When you get a real reason for the objection, you can figure out the best solution for that particular customer STEP 5: DEALING WITH CUSTOMERS WHEN THEY SAY NO 19. Listen to the customers objection To learn the reason behind the no, ask a combination of open and closed questions You need to understand why the customer is saying no so you can best help them Acknowledge the objection Always validate the customers reason and then respond with a positive statement: Customer: I do not want the $2.49 deal. It is too pricey. Employee: I can understand that the price seems too high, but it is only $0.50 higher than the $1.99 combo, and the drink is twice as large as the drink in the $1.99 combo. After acknowledging the question, follow up with how does that sound? WHEN CUSTOMERS SAY NO 20. Consider the customers answer to your proposal for their objection The customers response will determine whether they are objecting because they do not agree with your proposal or whether they are looking for more information In the previous example, if the customer says that costs too much for me, do not press the issue further If the customer responds with twice as large? How man ounces is that?, proceed to answering their question and getting the sale locked in