Are you a people person? Whether you have top-notch social skills or are an introvert, find out what new electricians need to know about customers and effective communication.
Is communication a natural skill or an acquired skill?
Some people are naturally social. They enjoy talking to others and can easily communicate with almost anyone.
What happens if you are not one of the lucky soon-to-be electricians and are completely comfortable communicating with your customers? While some electricians are naturally social or outgoing, communication is a skill you can learn. If you don't trust your communication skills or lack confidence in such abilities.
Ask for a mentor. A training instructor, trainee supervisor, or another professional mentor can help you learn or develop the communication skills you'll need as a new electrician. This person can help you understand the skills you need and explain how they communicate in the workplace.
Practice with a trusted friend or family member. The more you communicate, the more confident you will become in your abilities. Role-play a work scenario with a close friend or family member to improve your work-related communication skills.
Practice on your own. Continue your communication practice when you are alone. Even if you won't benefit from the reactions of others, you can practice presentation and language skills.
Don't worry if it takes time to develop effective communication skills. The more you communicate or interact with others, the more comfortable you will feel interacting with your clients. Think of communication development as a process, not as an instant skill you can learn overnight.
How should a new electrician handle challenging communication scenarios?
Whether you're a natural communicator or not, dealing with an unhappy, angry, or often difficult customer isn't always easy. While customer contact often includes pleasant, professional communication, some customers can present additional challenges. Confused clients or people who disagree with your professional assessment may find it difficult to deal with.
Even though your normal methods of communication may not be appropriate for a disgruntled or difficult client, you can take steps to ease the situation by
Leave the jargon. While watts and amps are words you use often, most customers won't know or understand electrical terms. This type of industry jargon can be confusing to your customers. Eliminate this type of communication frustration and skip the jargon.
Take a breather. You try to explain the job in layman's terms. But the customer is still frustrated - and so are you. Stop and take a breath before continuing the conversation. This gives you time to reset and calm down professionally.
Ask your supervisor. As a new electrician, you're still developing professional skills. If you're not sure how to handle a difficult customer, ask your supervisor. They can offer tips, or they may want to handle the situation themselves.
The ability to effectively talk to annoyed customers isn't the only part of the professional communication puzzle. You also need to learn how to listen. Sometimes what you don't say is just as important as what you do. When you take a moment to breathe, use that time to stop and listen to your client.
Why is it important to listen?
As an electrician or any other professional, the ability to listen is critical to effective communication. This skill is critical to your customer interactions for several reasons, including
- You need to know what your customers want. You are not a mind reader. Active listening is necessary to fully understand your customer's expectations.
You want your customers to feel listened to. This will make the customer feel important - especially if they are confused or unsure about the repair/replacement you are recommending.
You need to build relationships. Your customers will appreciate your ability to actively listen to them. This helps build a professional relationship and may lead to repeat business or referrals.
Active listening also helps build trust. Customers who feel listened to are usually more likely to trust an electrician's professional opinion.
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