June 17, 2012

Appreciation Marketing – Good Communication Is a Must

Communication is the heartbeat of the business world.  Businesses must communicate with their customers, and businesses must welcome and encourage communications from their customers.  No business can exist and prosper if their customers, and prospects, do not know that their business exists, what they have for their customers, and how to purchase from the business.  Moreover, businesses must encourage and listen to customers as they attempt to communicate with them.

No one will buy from you if they don’t know that you are in business, or if your prospects don’t know what you have to sell.  If they cannot contact you or cannot navigate your buying process, they cannot exchange funds for product or service.  It is common sense that drives the success or failure of a business.  Make yourself and your business available to the public and then they can make a purchase decision.  Make it easy for others to do business with you, and they will.

On the other hand, businesses must listen to their clients and prospects.  They must discover what their target market actually needs, and, if they can meet those needs, endeavor to make that information available to the public.  If you ignore what your prospects and clients need, you attempt to fill the wrong need, perhaps one that doesn’t exist at all.  Then you will fail to help anyone, including yourself.

Do you stop listening when you have made the sale to your customer?  Not at all; situations change, both for your business and that of your clients and prospects.  Maybe you develop, or improve, your product line; maybe you change your pricing or package contents.  What if you fail to tell all your prospects that you have made changes to your pricing and/or products?  You will miss out on all those prospects that were not ready to buy from you before you made those changes if they do not hear about the new possibilities that these changes mean.

What about the quality of this communication process?  It is no good to communicate “fluff”.  You must be honest and above reproach.  If you do not tell the truth, or engage in half-truths, your deceit will be discovered.  Deceit, and that is what it is, will be the death of your customer relations.  The public is very unforgiving if you lie to them.  If you make a mistake in your communication, just like a mistake in service, acknowledge it and take steps to correct the error.  Make up for it and reassure everyone that you will prevent the error from happening again.  This is very different than if you communicate an untruth in facts.

You must encourage your customer feedback to be open and honest.  The two-way communication between your business and the public must be comfortable, honest, and open to input by both sides.  Welcome client input, make it a priority, and actually listen.  Then, either respond as to why you will not alter your business practices as clients might want or make changes and communicate them to everyone.  Nothing might be as popular as a change that is a response to a client request.  Don’t leave out your vendors and employees in the communication process.  The two-way process must include these parties also.

So how is your communication process?  Do you speak with everyone in open and honest ways?  Do you encourage input and suggestions, no matter how crazy they may be?  Do you listen and try to get others to do the same?  Get comfortable and take the time to talk.  Let us hear your comments, or email me at Jim@SOC4Now.com, or call me at 360-314-8691.  How well do you communicate and listen?  Do you ever just sit down and chat with anyone?

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