For those who want to build a customer-first culture at their organization, communication is crucial. This means more than just answering the phone and responding quickly to emails. It’s important to be aware of many different aspects and know just how your customer fits in. For really great communication, you should know the individuals, titles and job levels for all of the interactions with your customers. Making the extra effort will pay off both in terms of relationships and financially. Let’s dive in with some specific questions you can ask yourself to ensure excellent communication and give customers the message that their time and connections with you are important.
Chats & Shared Channels
- Sending a chat:
- Is there context surrounding your message? Don’t assume everyone knows the details just because you do.
- Posting in a shared channel:
- Who has visibility to this channel?
- Did you remember to tag the person(s) you want to collaborate with?
- Did you read over your post before pressing enter?
- Sending an email:
- Is your message concise? Many busy partners and clients don’t have time to read excessively long emails.
- Is the information presented clearly? Could bullet points be a helpful option?
- What is your tone like? If it’s not the way you want to present yourself, how can you change wording or punctuation to improve it?
- Did you double check to make sure you’ve included your attachments?
- Phone meetings:
- This time, think of audio: how does your tone of voice sound? Since you don’t have visuals to rely on, show your customers the energy you’re bringing through your voice.
- For all meetings—phone, video, or in-person:
- Did you confirm attendance the day before the meeting?
- What is the purpose of the meeting and what do you need to accomplish? Stating an agenda can be helpful. Even if you think the participants already know what the meeting is about, laying out what you’ll be going over can make for a fresh reminder and smoother discussion.
- Will you start your meetings introducing everyone and their role? This can help set up understandings of each person’s part, even if it isn’t the first time you are meeting with that team. On the other hand, if the team meets frequently, save time by skipping unnecessary introductions. Be mindful of the specific meeting and make the most appropriate choice.
- Are you presenting yourself professionally? Be aware of your body language and vocal communication.
- Will you review the agenda at the end of the meeting? What does success look like at the end of this particular session?
- What are the next steps? At the end of the meeting, recap actions and what comes next. Ensure that each participant knows what their responsibilities regarding the meeting will be. Allow a bit of time to review the next communication: Will you follow up with an email in two days, or will you hold another meeting next week?
Other Thoughts for Great Communication
After a while your mental checklist may start to come automatically, allowing for smooth interactions. There are also deeper elements to consider, such as transparency and honesty with your customers. Sometimes saying no to a customer is necessary. If you know an option isn’t feasible or something you’d advise, don’t be afraid to be clear about it. Likewise, be honest about the delivery your customers can expect in a given situation. People appreciate honesty, and it can really improve trust. And if something’s moving off track, it’s okay to pause projects or conversations in order to reset the direction and regroup on strategic long term goals. Lastly, the best customer relationships happen when customers’ needs are prioritized over internal business. By focusing on customers’ success and identifying their journeys, you can then bring in the right resources at the right times for them—and you’ll probably find that it’s right for your organization too.
Communication is crucial between leaders and their employees as well. See our recent blog about retaining employees and keeping them happy, too.