In Business Everything is About Communications

Everything your business does is part of your communications mix. You have to be aware of all the messages your company is sending. And you absolutely have to ensure that your employees know that whatever they do is part of the message your business gives customers.

Here’s an example that we’ve all experienced more than once. Jack takes one of his most important clients to dinner, hoping to finalize a deal he’s been working on for months. He’s picked this restaurant based on the suggestion of a friend who had dined there to celebrate a birthday. The setting is perfect. The table where Jack and his client are seated is in a quiet location so they can discuss business (Jack took care of that by calling ahead and also discretely giving the maitre de a $20 bill when they arrived). The aromas are wonderful and Jack can see that already his client is impressed.

Jack and the client order their meals and begin discussing the proposal Jack gave the client earlier in the week. The discussion is going well until Jack senses that the meals are taking an incredibly long time to arrive at the table. He glances around at other tables and sees that other people are also waiting. Jack starts to worry that the deal is going south, not because of anything he’s done, but because of what’s happening at the restaurant. Jack looks for the server, but the server is nowhere in sight.

Finally, after what seems like an endlessly long wait, the meals arrive and Jack and his client begin to eat. Still, Jack is tense because what should have been a pleasant meeting has been made difficult by the delay. Fortunately, Jack is able to close the deal with the client. On the way out, Jack was asked how everything was and he says, “Fine,” because he doesn’t want to complain in front of his client, but he vows that he’ll never go back to the restaurant, and he tells five other people how bad his experience was.

Now, here’s what happened behind the scenes in our story. Right as Jack and his client walked in, one of the restaurant’s ovens went on the blink. By the time Jack and his client placed their orders the kitchen was already backed up. The chefs were running in high gear getting all the meals out, and even though things were crazy in the kitchen they didn’t make any errors in the meals being served. Everyone got just what they ordered; it just got to the table later than it should have.

Jack and his client didn’t know there was a problem in the kitchen. Why? No one told them. Whose fault is that? We might say it was the fault of the server, who should have told Jack and his client. However, it’s really the fault of the restaurant owner or manager for not impressing on the servers that in the event of a problem like this they should inform the customers. In our little story, all it would have taken was for the server to come to Jack’s table and say, “Folks, I’m sorry but we’ve had a problem in the kitchen. One of our ovens is on the fritz and we’re running a little slow in getting the meals out.”

That’s it. Just a simple bit of communication would have saved Jack and his client some stress. And more importantly, the restaurant would not have lost future business from Jack and the five people he told. Plus, if each of those five people told five people who told five peopleâÂ?¦ Well, you get the idea.

Impress upon all your employees how important they are to your overall communications plan. Let them know that whether they’re answering phones, taking orders, solving problems, serving food or whatever that their actions are communicating more about the business than any advertising, marketing or promotions ever could.

Review with them what’s expected of them in dealing with your customers. Be sure that employees are aware of all your advertising and marketing efforts. You never want a situation where you run an ad on radio or in the newspaper and someone calls to inquire about the ad and one of your employees says, “I don’t know anything about that.”

Anyone in your organization who may answer the phone should have handy copies of all advertising you’re running so they can answer questions. Your employees should know of any sales promotions you’re conducting. Keep them informed of everything the business is doing so they can speak intelligently to customers.

No matter what business you’re in, the one thing you have to remember is that everything your business does is part of your communications strategy. At first it may not seem that way, because we often think of communications as things like marketing and advertising and promotions. However, you have to remember, that to your customers and your potential customers whatever your business does sends them a message. The message your business sends is your communications.

This is why it’s so important to include all your employees in your discussions of marketing, advertising, promotions and anything that sends a message. You also have to impress upon all employees their role in the communications message your company is sending. Employees need to understand that everything they do as a representative of that business communicates something to customers.

Remember, everything is communications.

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