On Monday I shared some thoughts about dealing with people who are poor communicators. While you can’t fix them (unless they ask you for help), there is something you can do if you’re the poor communicator. Unfortunately, one of the worst communicators are businesses. It’s really a shame with the advances in technology that make it so easy for anyone to create even a simple website, or have an email address to answer questions.
One of the biggest issues when it comes to communication in business is a lack thereof. It’s not really about an inability to communicate what you’re all about (but that is an issue sometimes), it’s more of an issue of not answering questions potential customers have, not speaking to them in a way they understand or making them work harder than they should to answer the simplest of questions.
If as a business you think you’re answering all of a potential customer’s questions with your marketing material, then it’s time for an outside review with someone who’s not familiar with your company at all, preferably several someones. Having success coaches, business consultants and regular people in your target market review your marketing can give you an eye-opening reveal as to whether or not you’re really setting yourself up for success.
One of the biggest challenges is getting past the ‘everyone knows that’ stage to the ‘let’s be proactive and educate our customers and show them we’re a customer service savvy organization.’ Unless you’re one of the world-wide fast food chains, world-wide beverage companies, or big box retailers that are in multiple countries, it’s not safe to assume that things are “well-known” about you, your company and/or what you’re offering. The cost of adding a few lines to a web page, answering a few emails or making a few social media posts is so incredibly negligible that it’s mind blowing that so few companies are willing to take that step.
One of the other questions that’s often raised is about being worried about revealing all of the trade secrets, which I understand. But if you don’t include enough information you won’t get people past that first step. I don’t have a problem with a little mystery, but too much isn’t healthy for businesses. Think about it this way: you probably played games like Old Maid, Clue and Monopoly as a kid (and maybe you still play now). Each of those games has some very predictable and communicable aspects, and yet the fact is that you never know who the old maid is, who the killer is or who will end up with the most money or houses. Those mysteries are OK to let stand, the mystery of what the game is all about and the key aspects (i.e. the cards, the board, the players etc.) have to be revealed in order for people to not only play, but to purchase the game in the first place.
I understand that some businesses struggle to manage the customer load they have now, but chances are really good that they/you still want more customers. If that’s the case, being proactive about communicating is one of the simplest and easiest things you can do.
Does your business communicate proactively or are you struggling to keep up?