Communication Mistakes Businesses make with Customers

“We all make them, the difference is what we do after we make the mistake, how we see the mistake – a learning experience or a failure.” – Catherine Pulsifer

Making mistakes is possibly the most obvious sign of being human and that would make many businesses ‘too human’ at times. The most common are communication mistakes that businesses make with customers, which when not corrected can prove to be their undoing. Irrespective of the business or number of years in existence, the need for precise and effective communication with customers must not be ignored. Communication mistakes can often lead to misunderstandings between the company and customers and could make customers believe that the company does not value or respect them. Never is it acceptable for a company to come across as discourteous and closed to discussions and communication mistakes usually lead to such impressions on the customer. Proper and robust communication is an absolute must for any business. Communication mistakes can hamper any relationship that a company has both within and with those outside. The best intentions cannot be conveyed properly without proper communication skills and strategies. Companies need to become experts in this realm – without these skills; they could inadvertently turn customers and others against them.

Many failures in business and in customer service are easily traceable to communication mistakes. By inappropriate and insufficient communication, not only does a business possibly convey the complete opposite of what they want, but also come across as sloppy and unprofessional. For example even a spelling error or ambiguity in a message for customers, is one of the worst communication mistakes that a company can make. This leaves customers confused and believing that a company, which cannot send out proper messages, could not be very professional. Many businesses fail simply because of the way a company communicates with its customers. It is imperative to avoid the pitfalls of communication mistakes by meticulous and well-planned strategies when connecting with customers.

While most businesses understand, which may be the most oft repeated communication mistakes, some continue to falter. It is vital for every business to recognize and avoid these blunders to ensure that their business continues to prosper and be popular with its customers – both existing and prospective. Even though a business may understand and be aware of the most common communication mistakes, these may still occur from time to time. Does your company recognize these common errors? The first and possibly most disruptive of all errors while communicating is the failure to address an actual need of the customer through the messages. As a business owner, you may believe that the communication you send out is exactly what the ‘recipient’ of the mail would want. However, going by this ‘gut’ feel, often proves to be the worst of the communication mistakes that a company can make, since the communication would have a company focus rather than serving any real purpose for the customer. This often leads to an outright rejection from the recipients, since they would not see the communication as being of value to them.

When sending out messages to customers about your company and its offerings, it would be prudent to remember that customers would be interested only if it answers the age-old question of ‘what’s in it for me? They want to know the benefits and rewards – not the features and specifications of your company’s products and services. Give the customers what they want even when communicating – this will draw them closer and want to engage. Amongst the worst communication mistakes is not focusing on delivering value to the customer and forgetting to ‘educate’ new and prospective customers about what your company can do for them.

Another of the most detrimental of the communication mistakes is assuming that you know your customers. This may have been true in the past, but since customer needs and expectations constantly change, it is imperative to keep in touch with them to understand their current needs. By asking the ‘right’ questions, a business can create products and services that would be most appropriate for the customers and would be more beneficial for their business. Communication mistakes happen when businesses forget to listen actively to their customers – we have discussed several times, that this involves ‘hearing’ even the non-verbal communication that customers convey.

When a business fails on its commitment to respond speedily and with efficiency, it makes a serious blunder in the realm of communication. Customers hate being ignored – and businesses that leave queries / requests unanswered, give the impression that customers mean nothing to them. They would lose the trust of the customer for good, who may also mention this lack of service to their friends and associates – which would serve to mess up the company’s reputation with potential customers too.

Forward from the point above, some customers who failed to get a response from a company could become angry and even spiteful leading them to not only leave the company but also share their ire with others over visible digital platforms. Research has proved that retaining customers is a lot easier than gaining new ones and this difficulty would be compounded with negative reviews from people who were customers of the company. It is imperative for a company to reach out immediately to angry customers and make amends. This will not only calm them but also help your business to re-build and maintain a great relationship with them going forward. With so many companies ready to steal the customers of a business, it would foolish to make it easy for them to do so.

We know that customers buy for a number of reasons – these could be emotional, logical, and those driven by external factors. In order to avoid communication mistakes, a company must take into consideration all these factors such that the message suits the customer and is timed well. By doing so, a company reflects its professionalism, flexibility, and its desire to see things from the customer’s viewpoint. Customers like doing business with people who seem attuned to their feelings and can match their pace.

This point may seem obvious, however, this is also the reason that many companies overlook it – checking and re-checking communication before it goes out. Typing errors, grammatical mistakes, misspelling the name of the customer and or their business, and other such errors would create and leave a negative impression on the customers. Such communication tells customers that the company could not be bothered with putting together high quality messages for them and hence would not be able to provide great service either. Written communication could stay on permanently especially when sent digitally and it would be difficult for a company to recover from this error. A company could hire a professional writer for all its outbound communication – this would be a lot more effective and cheaper than the costs – tangible and intangible – that it would face as a result of communication mistakes.

The key to good communication is to prepare it keeping in mind the target audience and allow enough time to ensure that it is flawless and reads well. Remember that your communication with customers would be a success only if it encourages them to ask questions and provide suggestions. The more interactive and two-way your communication can be the greater would be your company’s ability to connect with customers. Avoid these communication mistakes and be on your way to gaining more positive attention from your existing and target customer base.



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