If you ask customers and clients what some of the most frustrating experiences are when it comes dealing with businesses, the topic of miscommunication often comes up. Whether it comes from a lack of clear terms or a confusing process that leads clients down a winding, misleading path, the odds of having a customer look favorably at your business again is very slim. When your business or business model ends with frustration, it's time to take a serious look at what isn't working and how it can be fixed as soon as possible.
Make Terms and Expectations Clear
Here's an example that several people have experienced before. Say you have a credit card where you wish to enroll in automatic payments every month. You go through the sign-up process, fill out the necessary fields, finish and receive a message that everything is done. Fast forward one month later and you receive a letter saying that your payment was never received and you will be marked as late. Not only do you now have to pay a late fee, but other unsavory effects such as a ding to your credit and a reduced credit limit could also occur.
After calling the company, you explain the situation and they tell you that due to a claim that was on a page that you "agree" to when you sign up for the service, the payment process doesn't start until two months after signing up. They try to take away the fees and may even give you something for your troubles, but the damage has been done. You the customer are angry, will be apprehensive in the future when it comes to continuing business with said card and most likely will not recommend that card to anyone else anytime soon.
Explore More than One Method of Communication
So how could this whole issue have been avoided? By having a clear form of communication between the consumer and the business via an easier to understand message upon completion, an email or text message detailing the exact start date of the automatic payment or even a combination of both. This not only gives you credibility when it comes to who was responsible for letting the client know, but it also shows that you are willing to explore and use multiple forms of communication to ensure that a message is sent and received. A client who is aware of all necessary activity you do for them will make them feel like you are working for their benefit, not against it.
Communication is a Two Way Street
However, this is also a two-way street and in many ways, the responsibility also falls on the client to engage with a business that needs communication. If a client has specific needs, if a business needs clarification from a client or if there is a change that a client needs to be aware of, it now falls on the client to properly respond back to the business. A business can only work as fast and as efficiently as the client allows and if a client does not answer questions or slows down the process by not paying attention to where they need to be, both the client and business suffer.
Communication is Key for a Reason
“Communication is key” is a phrase tossed around to the point of it loosing near all meaning. However, there’s a very compelling reason it’s stuck around so long in our collective minds. It’s easy on paper to say you’ll maintain communication, but once work, life and other obstacles pop up in life, it’s easy to lose track of that all-important email, phone call or text and the ability to make sure that your message is being understood. Always take the necessary steps to make sure your policies and what the client’s expectations should be. Use feedback, have others read through multiple times to make sure it makes sense. Always set aside time to listen to concerns both good and bad and always be willing to change your course if it means improving how you interact with clients.
We are all about communication at JM2. If you wish to talk more about communication, the frustrations you have or ideas that have worked for you in the past, email me at kyle@BusinessYETI.com or give me a call at 219-229-1633.