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Going Beyond Your Realm - 14261_24
difficulty  with  pronunciation,  meaning,  and sentence  structure. English  is  considered  to be  one  of  the  most  difficult  languages  to  learn (words   that   sound   alike   have   completely different   spellings   and   meanings   and   words with similar spelling are   pronounced differently).   You   cannot   change   the   English language,   but   there   are   ways   you   can   help your  customer  to  overcome  this  barrier.  First, you  must  listen  very  carefully  to  what  the customer   is   saying.   The best way to do this is  by  being   honestly     concerned. Next,   be absolutely  sure  you  know  the  nature  of  the need  or  problem.  Then,  carefully  phrase  your questions  so  that  you  use  relatively  simple words  and  ask  only  one  thing  at  a  time.  By first  determining  the  nature  of  the  problem, you  can  then  gain  additional  information  by asking  questions. The  customer  who  has  difficulty  speaking English  may  also  have  trouble  understanding it.  When  it  is  apparent  that  the  customer  is having  difficulty  understanding,  you  should speak more distinctly and, in most cases, more slowly. You    can    usually    tell    by    the customer’s  expression  whether  or  not  you  are being   understood. Speech  impediments,  such  as  stuttering  or lisping,  can  also  cause  misunderstanding.  In cases   such   as   these,   your   problem   will   be understanding the speaker’s words rather than the  speaker’s  choice  of  words. We   have   been   speaking   of   language barriers  as  though  they  exist  only  on  the  part of  the  customer.  This  is  not  always  the  case. Language  barriers  also  exist  with  customer service representatives. If   you   have   a language barrier, your first step is to be aware of  it.  Your  next  step  is  to  make  a  conscious effort  either  to  eliminate  it  or  to  compensate for  it. To   compensate   for   a   language problem,  try  to  speak  slowly  and  give  the listener  time  to  follow  and  interpret  what  you are   saying. Be  sure  to  ask  questions  and encourage  your  customer  to  do  the  same. Some  speech  patterns  that  interfere  with understanding   are   not   impediments   but   just habits. Some  of  these  speech  habits  are slurred  pronunciation,  running  words  together, speaking  too  fast,  an  exaggerated  drawl  or brogue,   and   profanity.   Again,   these   are   not physical  impediments  or  intentional  barriers; they  are  just  habits.  You  should  analyze  your own speech patterns and determine whether or not  you  need  to  improve  your  manner  of speaking.  It  is  possible  that  you  may  have one  or  more  of  these  habits.  Normally,  we  do not  listen  to  our  own  speech,  but  you  can obtain  a  reasonably  accurate  sample  of  your speaking   voice   if   you   record   an   informal conversation   and   then   listen   to   it   carefully. Speech  habits  are  not  too  hard  to  change,  but you must first be aware of the habits you need to  change. The  final  barrier  is  most  often  set  up  by you,   the   YN,   through   the   use   of   slang, technical   terms,   and   acronyms   that   may confuse   the   customer.   Although   you   will routinely   use   these   terms   and   acronyms among   your   co-workers,   your   co-workers   are already  familiar  with  this  language. You should   remember   that   these   words   or expressions  are  not  appropriate  when  your customers  may  not  be  familiar  with  them.  If you   must   use   technical   terms,   you   must explain  what  they  are  as  you  refer  to  them  in your  conversation.  Remember  that  customers from  other  ratings  are  not  as  well  informed about   your   rating   and   work   as   you   are. Therefore,  you  must  remember  to  speak  to your   customers   in   terms   that   they   can understand.   Periodically   ask   the   customer   if he  or  she  understands.  If  the  customer  does not  understand,  ask  your  customer  to  tell  you what he or she does not understand and repeat yourself  in  simpler  terms,  if  appropriate. AMIABLE   RUNAROUND The   emphasis   on   being   friendly   to   the customer  is  a  means  to  an  end—not  an  end  in itself.   You   must   also   provide   good   customer service. You  do  not  have  the  choice  of 1-13

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