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Talking TO Your Customers, Not AT Them

February 02, 2015

Lets face it, no one likes being talked down to and nagged, but that is exactly how many brands talk to their customers. There are so many different platforms that are available now to better communicate with customers, and many brands use them, but most are using them wrong.

Whether it is over the phone, in person, or via social media, communication with your customers is one of the keys to long term success. This is the area that many brands hurt the customer experience though. Rather than talking at customers, brands should be trying to make communication more like a real conversation. Customer service reps need to start focusing on talking to customers in the same manner that they like to be spoken TO, not AT.

Social Media

One of the biggest mistakes in brand-client communication is brands that are using their social media platforms as billboards. If you think of a few well known brands now and go look at their social media channels you will see the exact issue I am talking about.

The social media-billboard scenario is a perfect example of talking AT your customers ratrher than TO them.It is fine to share self promotional updates on your social channels, just do not overdo it. 

What you should be sharing more of is content that helps to educate customers about your industry and your products. Providing them with quality, helpful content will show customers that you are there for them, not just to sell to them. Being a resource within your industry will only benefit the brand in the long run.


Communication with customers via email is also crucial to becoming one of the top brands in your industry. Email marketing is an amazing tool to market and grow your brand, but when every email that you send to a customer is pushing a product, it will get old to many of them.

There are other types of ways to use email correspondence with your customers besides just pushing products. Whether you are just sending them an email to thank them for loyalty to the brand, or offering them special discounts, it is important to mix up the type of emails you send. Providing educational links related to your products is another great way to provide them something that they may find useful.  


When dealing with customers over the phone it can get a little trickier since tone of voice can come into play.The first thing to always remember is how important engaging in small talk with customers can be, it helps relax them a bit when first starting a conversation. The most important factor though, is making sure to listen carefully to what the customer is telling you. 

Listening and then advising based off of what they told you will only help develop a more personal connection. Don’t talk AT them as if you were giving them a lecture. Empathize and help find a solution that is acceptable to them. Talk TO the customer as if they were a good friend or family member, it will make a big difference. Also you need to remember to never rush them, or contradict them, just listen and go from there.

Face to Face

Face to face meetings with customers can be the most challenging of all. The key with personal meetings is sincerity. Body language is another important factor to consider in these situations. You need to be relaxed, confident, and assertive. Just like you would do on the phone, talk TO them like they were a friend or loved one and treat them how you want to be treated.

Transparency is also key when dealing with a customer in a face to face situation. There is a fine line between educating a customer and lecturing them. It is very important to always think of the words you are using as well as your tone of voice, and your facial expressions. Always remember to speak from the heart and be honest, even if you have to tell them something they may not want to hear. 

Keeping these things in mind while dealing with your customers will make your brand stand out. Customers appreciate and remember good customer service, so always treat customers in the same way that you want to be treated. You do not like being talked AT, so do not do it to them.

FreedomBlogger on Feb 3, 2015 in 06:06pm
hey Shawn! Great tips on how to talk to customers here. I agree with you. You have to truly show that you care about the customer. You need to talk TO them, and not just AT them. You shared some valuable tips on that topic here. Awesome! I wish you the best of the best! Keep up the great work! Cheers!
Shawn on Feb 4, 2015 in 10:32am
Thank you very much! I am glad that you enjoyed the post and found the tips to be valuable. Our customer service is a big part of what we do here at SheetLabels.com. I love writing about it and always try to share tips that can be beneficial to others.
Sherman Smith on Feb 5, 2015 in 06:36pm
Hey Shawn, This is the hardest part of doing business and that is learning how to talk to your customers instead of at your customer. A customer will buy from someone that is trying to aligning themselves up to them by asking more genuine, empathetic questions to see how they can help them. If the customer actually feels this, then they will be more open to what you have to offer and you raise the chance for them to buy. But when you're focus on just making money, then chances that you even get noticed will be slim. When customers can feel that you just want to make money, then that puts a damper on your reputation. With that said, talking to customers can be a challenging to do but it is well worth the effort when you learn now to and practice it over and over until it becomes a habit! Thanks for the share Shawn! You have a great weekend! I found your post on kingged.com under the category of Business/Finance, Internet Marketing http://kingged.com/talking-to-your-customers-not-at-them/
Sunday on Feb 6, 2015 in 01:25am
Hi Shawn, I agree with you that brands should be talking to customers and not talking at them. This is one of the factors that has been affecting the success of many businesses. There is need to give good feedback always to customers via social media, email, phone, and directly. What the customer wants is a feedback that would solve problems for him at whatever point in time! The customer needs attention and solution, hence any marketer that intends to be successful must endeavor to talk to the customer and share a solution-based and valuable feedback. I shared this comment in kingged.com as well.
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