“Effective communications starts with listening,” – Robert Gately
There is no doubt about the importance of effective communication in modern business domains. Communication can be in the form of speaking, writing, or body language. In the world of business, effective communication is a lynchpin in many areas including customer service, because the business that communicates better can win more customers. The average business enterprise can harness such techniques to expand its customer base, improve its business practices, conduct itself adroitly in business matters, and serve as a beacon in the tumult of modern business environments. Effective communication is also useful because it can indicate intent and future courses of action; therefore, it is vital for a business enterprise to communicate with its customers at all levels.
A business should be able to explain clearly company policies to all stakeholders, especially customers and clients. Every employee of the business should make effective communication a priority, because customers require information. Modern businesses operate in a fluid environment that has many moving parts; therefore, the customer should not be in the dark under any circumstances. Clear communication can send emphatic messages that the enterprise is serious about its business and intends to conduct itself as a responsible corporate citizen. In this context, we have to bear in mind that corporate management has a duty to communicate business policies clearly to the regular members of the company. We may expect that the same messages would be relayed to customers through certain modes of effective communication. Such communications should be emphatic, clear, and to the point.
Effective communication is an important aspect of customer service. A large enterprise or a small business may have multiple points of contact with the customer. Each point of contact is an opportunity for the business to thrive by delighting customers. The business should encourage open communications with customers at these points, because such actions can boost customer confidence and enable the business to stand apart from its competitors. Communication should be made a significant part of the corporate identity and should be meshed with the corporate DNA. We could say that the gains accrued to the enterprise are priceless when such actions are executed consistently.
We have to acknowledge that effective communication can be a two-way process, which has the potential to inform the business about the state of customer expectations. Such communication can be viewed as a valuable opportunity to connect with the customer and listen to his / her worldview. An intelligent conversation can yield rich insights into the customer’s mindset, thereby providing the business with clues on how to serve the customer better.
The points of customer contact that are driven by written communications could be harvested for valuable clues into customer expectations. These lines of communications are critical because the writing process can relate more information than oral communications. Effective communication at these points of contact can put the customer at ease and assure him / her of the best possible service. In addition, the customer’s queries and suggestions can be analysed for information that can underpin future policy making at the company.
Effective communication need not be restricted to points of customer contact. A corporate chieftain can make it a priority to communicate personally with various stakeholders such as customers, regulators, investors, staff members, industry experts, and management personnel. This kind of communication conveys an image of resolute corporate transparency and can work wonders for the commercial fortunes of the enterprise. The open mode of such communication helps to build confidence in the business and may attract more customers. A personal message from the top of the management hierarchy can help every stakeholder to form a clear assessment of the state of the business and its future direction. Clearly, effective communication can be a major tool of doing business in modern times.
Effective communication can also be used to meet customer demand and to solve problems. Consider this: an aggrieved customer approaches a company or enterprise seeking help to resolve certain issues connected to a past transaction. The corporate point of contact chooses to hear the customer and proceeds to solve the problem. We may recommend multiple interventions on the part of the company to address the customer’s grievances and solve the immediate points of conflict. A long view may also see the company working pro-actively to ensure that similar problems do not occur with other customers. These actions can go a long way to restore business confidence and prevent customer attrition. The encounter with the said customer can be used to develop a case study to illustrate the value of effective communication at work in the corporate enterprise.
The modern corporate enterprise can seek feedback from customers in a bid to improve customer service. Elegantly crafted messages seeking feedback from customers can be cited as another instance of effective communication. The feedback can be compiled under different headings and can be used to enlighten every level of the corporate entity. The information culled from such feedback can inform future corporate policies and improve present day interactions with the average customer. These activities should be ongoing efforts and senior management should work constantly to guide such actions, because these signal intent to improve service delivery and boost the corporate image in the public eye.
Business enterprises operate in the real world and every situation such a business faces may not be scripted to its advantage. An emergency situation or a localized incident may send shock waves through the investor community, as also through customers and the general public. The competent enterprise should choose to react to such exigencies by reaching out to all stakeholders through effective communication. Such a strategy is important to arrest the immediate aftermath of the incident and to reassure all concerned that the enterprise is working at all levels to contain the situation. A failure to communicate can be fatal for the enterprise in such instances. A muddled response may weaken investor confidence in the business and customers may choose to migrate to the competition. The enterprise needs to acknowledge such adverse reactions and must move pro-actively to defuse the situation.
New products and services are the lifeblood of every enterprise. The corporate enterprise invests significantly to bring new products and services to the market at regular intervals. The marketing and publicity that accompanies the launch of every product / service should be stellar efforts to guide public attention to these launch events. The marketing efforts have to proceed at multiple levels and effective communication should be the guiding light in these efforts. The advertising campaigns may be viewed as the company’s attempt to start a conversation with the public with the intent to introduce new products and services.
The preceding paragraphs have discussed the various strategies and scenarios that highlight the importance of effective communication in the interests of better customer service. Every corporate entity needs to acknowledge the importance of such communication in the collective life of the corporation. Such communication can mark the boundary between business success and failure in the modern world. When used wisely, such communication can help the business enterprise to rise above the market competition and attain the proportions of a business behemoth.