Whether you work in customer service, IT, or any other position, it’s important to remember a phrase that we often hear parents say to their small children: “Use your words.” Communication is key to so many aspects of business success, but most importantly, building trust.
Let’s take a look at three different types of relationships in business that you might run into as an entrepreneur or business leader that are key to brand success. In each relationship, you will note that communication plays a key factor.
Client-Agency relationships: Is there follow-through?
If you have ever worked with an agency (Marketing, PR, Advertising, etc), you are in one of two camps – you either hated it and think it’s a waste of time and money, or you thought it was one of the best things you invested in as a business owner. Those in the first camp likely experienced a lack of honest communication when building their relationship with the agency. There was most certainly a lot of over-promising and under-delivering, with a dash of not keeping you in the loop on deadlines and updates. When a business brings in a third party to help with certain aspects of operations and development, open communication is integral to the success of the project.
If you are a business looking for an agency, keep an eye out for red flags and trust your instincts. If your agency has missed the last few deadlines without a word as to what’s going on, it might be time to find a new agency. On the other hand, it’s important to make sure that you are keeping them in the loop as well. Keeping them out of the loop for planning might mean that you could miss out on some great opportunities.
If it helps, set up a reporting schedule to help keep both parties on track.
Brand-Customer relationships: Are you being honest?
Without customers, what’s the point in running your business? Someone needs to buy in to what you’re selling! To buy in, they need to know who you are. This means, you have to find ways to tell them your brand story in a creative way that is memorable and enticing.
The other thing to note is that you should be engaging in 2-way dialogue on a regular basis. With new social media and online channels emerging on a daily basis, there really is no excuse to not have a conversation with your customers. Talk to them. Make them feel special.
Customer-customer relationships: Are you getting referrals?
Especially if you are a business that is just getting started, your customer list will grow much faster if you have people talking about you (in a good way!). Have you empowered your current customers to talk about your business and what you do? Encourage them to discuss your brand with their friends and provide incentive, whether it’s a special offer or customer feature (depending on your business), when they bring in a referral.
To get them talking, make sure your relationship with them is strong, and that they are completely satisfied with your work.
No excuses, it’s time to start communicating!