The importance of communication

There are so many forms of communication nowadays it is really easy to lose track – all those forms designed to make our lives easier.

It’s amazing what can be achieved with effective communication that has the right processes and systems to be able to back it up. Imagine being able to order a dishwasher from home at 8.30pm on a Saturday night and have it arrive a little less than 12 hours later! As humans we seem to have an awful lot to communicate. Apparently there are 2.5 quintillion bytes of data produced daily. We love to communicate and share things. However we don’t always do it very well.

How do you feel when your internet connection is lost? What about when your Email is down or your phone line has a fault? A bit like you are missing a limb?

Communication is so important to everyone, it’s so essential in our day to day lives not just in business but in every aspect of our lives.

Do you have a love hate affair with the telephone? Most people love to have it with them and talk to people while they are on the go. We hate it when people call us to waste our time, think, recorded calls and sales calls that disrupt your day. We hate waiting for that expected call, the delivery of a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ on the deal we have been waiting to hear about. Should we stay in? Should we go out? What calls will we miss or have to catch up on?

The missing bit is the most important, it is the bit that causes most stress. When it’s not there is when communication or rather non-communication is thrust to the forefront of our day. When we don’t get that phone call, when we can’t get that meeting and worst of all when you can’t get a response from someone.

Great customer service starts when that person really grasps the importance to you and is willing and able to help you. It ends then when they either can’t help as they haven’t been empowered to do so and they just don’t understand how important this piece of information is to you. Even if there is nothing to say or no update, it is reassuring to hear from that contact to at least let you know of no news. You are accountable, reliable and present.

No news is good news might be a good anecdote, but not hearing from a company after repeated calls and emails can be worrying. All sorts of questions arise, is the business too small to cope, too busy to help, doesn’t want to deal with you, made a huge mistake and very worst, gone out of business!

We communicate all the time online and offline. Offline, face to face, we do it without consciously thinking about it, in fact at times the majority of our communication is mostly non verbal and for the most part unconscious. There are studies that say that this non verbal element makes up 93% of our communication, others say anywhere between 60% and 90%. Regardless it is still more than half.

The other side of communication then is listening, we have all heard the saying about 1 mouth and 2 ears! So we should listen twice as much as we talk. We can all listen but unless we understand, it is a pretty pointless exercise. It is always worth asking questions, to make sure both parties are clear and, to use a corporate term, ‘on the same page’.

Communicate effectively, make it easy for people to do business with you, be accountable, reliable and present. Outsource if necessary to keep communication open and effective.

Emma Fryer is owner of Answer It, offering specialised call-answering services to a wide range of businesses.

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