If you are struggling with internal business communication and believe it’s costing you customers there are some practical steps you can take. If done correctly, this investment will pay over time. Customers will learn to trust you and they will keep coming back for more.
3 Ways To Improve Internal Business Communication
- Have A Plan
- Clear Expectations From The Start
- Clear Chain Of Custody
You may be feeling frustrated with your current communication situation. Don’t give up. Keep reading and get inspired to improve your communication.
My husband and I recently purchased a pre-owned vehicle. We had been searching on and off since before the pandemic started. Of course, once the resulting shutdown happened we put our search on hold. It’s not like we were going anywhere. When things seemed to be starting up again we decided to look again.
Finally, we found one that had most of what we were looking for and it had low mileage; always a bonus. Once we cut the check things quickly went downhill. Long story as short as I can make it, there were two issues we were told would be fixed by the time we picked up the car and the sale of the car was ultimately contingent on these repairs being done. This did not happen and it took almost three weeks for us to get our money refunded.
This particular dealership has lost our business for life.
As my husband and I were discussing our experience we realized that most of our discontentment resulted due to a lack of consistent and proper communication. We believe that if the dealership had handled this well, we would be happy to return as customers.
Business can be tough these days. How can we, as business owners and managers, make sure we’re doing better than our competition? Proper communication in business is imperative for success, however, many business owners find themselves falling short and ultimately losing long-term customers.
#1 Have A Plan
This can not be emphasized enough. Our main goal is excellent customer satisfaction, right? Unless we’re crystal clear about our main goal and how we want to be perceived by our customers, we will not be able to put together a practical plan in order to accomplish this objective.
So, take the time to think. It is the first step that will ultimately lead you to success in this area. It’s sometimes difficult to commit to taking the time just to ‘think through’ the steps for your particular customer experience, but it is undoubtedly, among the most important investments of time you can make.
In order to think more clearly, here are some steps to get you started:
- Think about the experience you intend on providing to your customers. Visualize the process from start to finish. How do you want them to feel by the end of their time with you and/or your representatives? What will make them want to return to you later?
- As you think, be honest about the customer experience you are currently providing.
- Make a list of positive things. These items can be helpful for overall team encouragement.
- Make a list of the things that could use improvement. This is the list that will help you build the ultimate customer experience. This list will show you the direction in which you should head. The ‘true north’ of your intention.
Need help with coming up with a plan?
We have 2 Workshops:
- Marketing Lab Online – 3 hours to feel confident about your next 90-day marketing plan. Create or get feedback on your current sales funnel so that it becomes more profitable.
- Hero On A Mission – 5 hours, to get focused on your 10-year goals and feel productive to accomplish 1-year goals in 5 areas of your life.
#2 Clear Expectations From The Start
After a negative experience, most of the time I never really think it through. Not completely.
I don’t think about what I expected, only that I’m pissed off and ‘I’ll never go back there again!’.
If I took the time to think through from start to finish, however, I’m willing to bet that at the root of my dissatisfaction is that I simply didn’t get what I expected. Whether it’s a product or service, if it’s not what I expected, it’s just not good enough.
Sometimes I’m not even aware of the fact that I have expectations, but I definitely know when they’re not met to my satisfaction, and when this happens, it’s the business that’s going to pay. Either by my discontinued patronage, a negative online review, or some kind of ‘suggestion’ delivered to a box or directly to the ear of management.
Some companies get this very right.
Drive by an In-N-Out or Chick-fil-A any afternoon or evening. The drive-through is hopping and the registers are chiming and for good reason. We all know exactly what to expect. One of these establishments has even trained us to expect them to respond when we order items off of the ‘secret’ menu. Their staff knows how to greet you, and which questions to ask in what order. Of course, over many years of visiting both of these establishments, I have had some not so great experiences. That’s just odds playing out. I still go back though, because most of the time, they get it right.
Here are a few ideas to get you moving on this one:
- Make a list of the services and/or products you can reasonably offer your customers.
- What can you promise them with regard to these things?
- Are these things that you can offer consistently?
- Can you create a simple 1-2-3 list or offering that will ultimately become your brand?
#3 Clear Chain Of Custody
I like to refer to it this way. I know it sounds like we’ve suddenly left the business and somehow drifted into the evidence locker of a police station, but hear me out. There is a reason for the chain of custody.
According to an article on ThoughtCo, the chain of custody is a legal term referring to the order and manner in which physical or electronic evidence in criminal and civil investigations has been handled. We’re all familiar with what can happen on any procedural drama when there is proof that the chain of custody has been compromised. Usually, the ‘perp’ gets off because things weren’t handled properly.
If you think about it, the same thing can and does happen pretty often in the world of business. In this case, the customer ‘gets away’ and is many times leaving unhappy. We need to make sure the people that represent our business, whether it’s a product or service, know how to handle each and every situation.
We need to give them the education, freedom, and permission to do this so that each customer interaction ends with satisfaction. A great example of this is seen in the world of hospitality; specifically restaurants.
One great practice that many restaurants (mostly corporate) have used is to make sure the server for your table lets you know if they’re going on break. Even better is when they introduce the person who will be able to help you should you need anything before they come back. One person is handing you to another (even just for the moment), and you know exactly who to ask for help instead of trying to wave down a random person on the other side of the establishment.
Here are a few ideas to get you rolling:
- Think about the who, what, when, where, and how for your customer experience. Who do they start with? Is it sales? What do you have to offer them? When can they expect to get what they’re expecting and how do you get it to them?
- Make a list of all staff or team members a customer or client can expect to deal with for each transaction. What needs to happen from start to finish during these interactions?
- Is there clear and intentional communication from team member to team member once the client is handed off?
- How can any of these steps be streamlined to make it more smooth for both your customer and your business?
- What happens if there is a bump in the process? Who jumps in to help? Do your team members know exactly who to go to for help?
- What is the plan should things not go smoothly? Do you have someone assigned to handle the time between the initial issue through to completion? Does that team member know how many times to reach out to the client and what to say?
As I mentioned earlier, these are some of the best time investments you can make. If done correctly, this investment will pay over time. Customers will learn to trust you and they will keep coming back for more.
If you are still reading this, one of our workshops or business coaching is most likely what you need to get better at your internal business communication.
Schedule a call and we will help you grow your business.