Article

Communicating with Clients

Posted on October 24, 2017 by CCA Communications Committee

Over the course of last summer, I visited several camps. At one as I walked down the camp road on arrival day, every staff person I passed smiled and greeted me with, “Good afternoon. Can I help?” I felt welcomed. On the contrary, at another, the first person who met me tersely asked in a confrontational tone, “What do you want?” No smile was evident. Granted my visit was unexpected and possibly the camp was concerned about strangers on their property, but I’m a grey-haired grandmother who doesn’t look that threatening! – Catherine Ross

Joanna Warren Smith offers some sound advice about training staff to communicate appropriately with clients:

Stop, Look and Listen! Please!

You’ve probably noticed that these days, people are generally not nice to each other. They are rude, curt and abrupt. Anger, sarcasm and caustic remarks have become the new normal.

In fact, just last week, two parents independently shared that they had been ‘turned off’ to highly recommended camps because they were treated in a perfunctory way. When I heard them complain that ‘She didn’t even ask for my child’s name!’ and ‘It felt like I was imposing and interrupting something more important that she was doing’, I got permission from a couple of clients to call their shops at various times. Sure enough, I encountered rushed dismissals and much encouragement to check out the websites.

Really? Would you prefer a potential client visit your website or start to develop a relationship with your camp?

ACT NOW!

  • Make the time to assess your staff to client interactions. Listen to the folks who speak on your behalf whether they’re on the phone or in person. What language are they using? What tone of voice is used and what attitude is conveyed? Are they building relationships or just doing what’s necessary to end the conversation?
  • Review ALL communications that are sent to potential and current clients. Confirm that snail and email messages are warm (not effusive) and efficient. ‘Automated’ elements often need updating.

Please don’t assume that your team is ‘doing it right’. Be intentional about your customer service to counter today’s personal interaction style. If you need to create scripts, teach and mentor folks to increase relationship building skills plus freshen up your communications, I guarantee the positive effects will be worth the effort.

Joanna invites CCA members to go to her website and register for free monthly HINTS newsletter at camp-consulting.com.

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The CCA Communications Committee produces regular online content for Canadian camps.