Flawless communication is at the heart of any marketing program and flawless internal communication greases the wheels of commerce to ensure projects are completed on time with input from those actors who offer insights to improve the project. But achieving flawless communication is a process requiring constant attention as well as the right technology and contingency plans for when things go very wrong. Whether your communication involves marketing messages or customer support or you’re communicating via phone, in-person, or electronically, you need flawless communication that delivers value and is always on. Today, we’ll discuss a few ways to ensure your communication is flawless at all times.
Above, you see just a few of the many forms of marketing communication and marketing messages delivered to stakeholders of the business, with each type of stakeholder and each persona getting communications built to answer questions, motivate action, and encourage engagement with that particular group. Any breakdown in communication due to either a delivery failure, an attention failure, or poor messaging threatens to destroy your brand. And, these are just external marketing communication. You also consider the importance of internal communications for speeding adoption, enhancing collaboration, coordination, and planning.
So, let’s dive into specific aspects of communication to see how you can achieve flawless communication.
Phones are used ubiquitously for both internal and external communication, although the definition of communication today goes well beyond a voice phone call. The phones we have today are vastly different from the phones that began to emerge in the US in the late 1800s. This transformation pivoted in 2000 as people have gradually ditched landline phones for mobile phones that they can carry everywhere. And, today’s phones don’t just make calls; modern-day smartphones have useful tools such as high-quality cameras, video recorders, storage capabilities, access to the internet, and thousands of interesting apps delivered over Wi-Fi or using data. Plus, a lot more.
The American public depends on the increased communication available through their smartphones with an estimated 290 million smartphone users in the US today. Businesses can enhance the utility of phones used by their customers and employees in a myriad of ways, such as creating apps, providing Wi-Fi for making calls and accessing the internet, providing telephone support, and seamlessly connecting their online website to a user’s phone with 1-click calling.
In terms of providing Wi-Fi, businesses must recognize they can’t always depend on customers getting a strong, reliable cellular signal strength in their locations, especially in malls and other large structures where the building itself interferes with the signal. And when your cellular signal connection is weak or completely unavailable, your Wi-Fi connection may be working just fine. So, a Wi-Fi calling option provides modern businesses with a good alternative for answering and receiving calls when the strength of their cellular connection is poor.
Some businesses don’t view offering a reliable and safe phone connection as an important part of their business as they view this as an opportunity for customers to comparison shop or engage in showrooming (shopping in stores then buying online), although a study reported in Forbes shows customers still buy more in-store than online. That’s short-sighted as shoppers want to share pics with social media and send them to friends to get feedback before making a purchase. They also search other locations if the current location doesn’t stock the specific product they require, so sometimes they’re showrooming to buy at your online store. Customers might even spend more time at your location if they can access their phones to ensure they don’t miss important emails or social updates. To learn more about the pros and cons of Wi-Fi calling, take a look at this blog post on the topic by the business telecommunications provider Open Phone.
Wi-Fi calling can also potentially extend the battery life of cell phones since the phone’s battery isn’t drained by searching for cellular connections.
In today’s always-on world, where customers want information anytime and the shrinking of the global world means you must plan for flawless communication with users around the world, customer service isn’t something you can relegate to a certain schedule or a single platform. Plus, staffing phone banks not only causes frustration when customers can’t access information quickly but they’re expensive and inefficient, subject to the vagaries of operator’s moods and training. Plus, trained customer support personnel leave for greener pastures, take time off for illness, vacations, and parental leave, and only work 8-hours a day. Customers don’t confine their support needs to regular business hours and hate being on hold for longer than a few minutes.
On your website, users are no longer satisfied with FAQs with pre-constructed answers to their questions. They want answers to their questions crafted for their personal needs.
Hence, flawless communication used for customer support and service requires something that bears little resemblance to the customer support offered just a few years ago.
Chatbots now replace FAQs and reduce the strain on your human support system by handling routine queries and providing needed resources for users. These AI-enabled support teams are always on, learn over time so they get better using machine learning, never have a bad day, and provide reliable answers based on an expert system so you’re sure each user gets accurate information. Check out the graphic above to see where to use chatbots and where humans excel.
Social media support is offered during certain hours by many larger firms across different social platforms. Using social media has the added benefit of transparency as you show a broader group of users your commitment to valuable customer relationships as well as reducing the effort to provide superior customer support as others get their questions answered by reading your answer on social media.
Evangelists are customers who take it upon themselves to help other customers find, install, and get the most from a brand’s products. Evangelists craft YouTube videos showing users how to install a brand’s products, they answer questions, and they offer tricks to get the most from the products you buy. And, they do it for free. Read more about the care and feeding of evangelists here.
As soon as you hire your first employee, you face communication problems within your firm. Even before this, you might run into communication problems with suppliers, funding sources, or other business partners. In marketing, we talk about communication as the glue that holds these business relationships together. Flawless communication means sharing information, being transparent, considering input from multiple levels within the organization, and gaining cooperation from those who must implement changes within the firm.
Project management requires team members to work collaboratively to ensure a project is finished on time and meets the goals set for the project. Further, project management requires gaining cooperation from those who must implement any changes emerging from project completion. While you can use multiple ways to manage a project, meetings are considered a huge waste of time that accomplish little and reduce efficiency. Project update meetings also damage morale and create conflict.
Instead, many firms use project management tools housed in the cloud to ensure each team member knows what’s expected, the timeline, and the resources allocated to their portion of the project. When elements of the project change or there’s slippage, all team members see their responsibilities shift to accommodate these changes. Examples of inexpensive project management tools are Basecamp and Trello, while other tools offer enhanced features for a larger price tag. Here’s a good comparison of some project management options. Most produce PERT charts like the example below to visually depict how the project is going.
Technology in collaboration, such as EDI (electronic data interchange), uses the internet to enhance collaboration between organizations like supply chains by speeding information and payments thus streamlining the supply chain. Even technologies we all use every day, such as email, forums, and chat functions, offer options for collaboration. Digital conferencing technology saved our collective bacon during the lockdowns associated with the pandemic, allowing us to continue working from our distributed locations. Because productivity increased using this tool, many businesses are now considering offering at least part-time remote work. E-calendars allowed businesses to easily schedule meetings while internal employee portals allowed employees to voice concerns or offer suggestions.
Flawless communication is mandatory for business success. In this post, we mentioned just a few tools available to support communication with stakeholders. I’d love to hear your thoughts on the topic.
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