The Importance of Communication In Business and Why It Requires Transparency
Are you familiar with the analogy of having a stone in your boots?
It often denotes a persistent problem – something that nags at you – issues that bother us, upset us, or even get us angry and requires that you stop, pull off your proverbial boots, and shake out that stone.
Effective communication in business is a great way to avoid having to stop or even slow down when you’re on a roll.
You can expect to meet hurdles in your business, especially if you’re breaking new ground. But if your team knows how to collaborate and communicate effectively, they won’t be a source of your pain.
Communication: it’s never what’s said
The majority of conflict happens in two core areas: over our values and because of our Nature [personality].
Think about the last conflict you had with someone – a colleague or a friend. It was probably about a clash of core values, not about something menial.
When it comes to your corporate culture, conflict can arise if your team doesn’t fully embrace your corporate values. These are not the values on a website for your prospective clients, but the real values that your people operate by. They can’t unless communicated clearly and concisely. And your corporate mantra probably shouldn’t have phrases like “We’re in it for the money”…
Does your team know why they show up every day?
If a customer is unhappy with your product or service, how does your team respond? Are your employees able to tap into your company’s core values and respond accordingly? Or, will they shoot from the hip and cost you a client…and potential referrals?
Office fires…your worst enemy
There are three types of fires – in the forest and your business.
- Treetop fires
- Root fires
- Brush fires
So many workplaces create their own issues. The trigger sets in motion a chain of events leaving them to deal with a whole bunch of brush fires and usually just trying to keep a lid on things!
These brush fires then move into the roots and treetop. A root fire can smoulder for days, even weeks, while a treetop fire can move from one tree to the next before you can get it under control.
How do they ignite in the workplace? With words. Poorly chosen communication can start a chain reaction in your office…occupying your employees and putting your customer service at risk.
Do you spend your day putting out fires, going from crisis to crisis with a firehose?
If your business is in constant fire fighting mode, responses to customer complaints might come across as knee-jerk reactions. This will undermine your existing client base and make it more challenging to build your business.
Here’s an example…
I recently renegotiated my cellphone service contract. It came with new phones, new features…and when the bill arrived, it matched what the customer service agent had sold me.
A few months later, I changed our internet and television service. To my surprise, the first bill arrived, and it was nearly $80.00 more than we had agreed upon on the phone.
I called my provider and questioned the agent. At first, I got the stock answer – the knee-jerk response. Someone had promised me a service they couldn’t deliver at the agreed-upon price, and it was my problem, not theirs.
There was very little interest in solving my dilemma at first. Eventually, though, the agent figured out that, while she had to adhere to company policies regarding my plan, she could issue a rebate that compensated me for the difference.
Together, we worked through the problem, and the company maintained my business…and the potential for referrals. In the competitive realm of telecommunications, that referral will go a long way.
Effective communication in business requires transparency
As a customer, I was content to have the rules explained to me. The agent understood the limitations of their service and took the time to tell me why she couldn’t accommodate my request using straightforward channels.
But, she clearly understood the company’s culture because she found a way to compensate me and earned my loyalty. She didn’t shoot from the hip. She didn’t take my query personally. She took the time to explore all the options available to her and delivered on my request.
Do your employees have the same ability? Do they feel like they are empowered to stick to your company culture when dealing with a customer? Are they willing to apologize when they discover that your policies have failed? Have you explained your corporate values clearly enough that they’ll know where and when they can bend or adapt with your customers…or will they give them a stock answer and not care if your customer disengages?
Fight, flight, freeze, appease
These are the four primal instincts we pursue when faced with a crisis. How would you like your team to respond if they’re under threat if dealing with a dissatisfied customer? Do you want them to pick a fight and argue with your client, put them on hold and hope they go away, take no action at all, or try to find a solution?
We can work together and establish your company’s core values…then find a way to communicate them to your team.
Contact me, and we’ll get a conversation started about aligning your values with your team’s abilities. Let’s run toward the roar together.
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