3 tips for improving communication in your workplace
Whether you are a solopreneur or your have employees, communication is a must in order to make business happen. And that communication needs to be effective so that you don’t lost business or cause misunderstanding. ineffective communication saps the morale of your business while causing estrangement between your business and other people. The following three tips can help you improve your communication with employees, customers, and people you network with.
1. Avoid making assumptions about what people know. I’ve seen problems occur because someone made an assumption about what someone else knew. For example, a business owner assumes that a customer has the same level of knowledge s/he has. Not only is this assumption usually wrong, it shows that the business owner hasn’t made time to understand the actual need of the customer. I always suggest that when you work with customers that you step outside what you know and focus on finding out what they actually know.
Assumptions don’t just occur with clients, but can also happen with employees. An employer might assume an employee knows something or vice versa. But unless its communicated you don’t know what other people know or don’t know.
2. Create a communication policy and enforce it. If you don’t have a communication policy with your clients or employees you are leaving the door open for problems to occur. For example, lets say a client calls about a service. S/he has signed up for a specific service, but thinks that s/he has also gotten another service. The employee says that the client only gets the one type of service, and doesn’t say anything about the problem to the business owner. Guess what will happen? The client will feel that s/he was gyped and may end up looking elsewhere for service. If, however, the employee passed the client to the business owner, the problem could be resolved directly so that both sides win. An employee will not do this if a clear communication policy isn’t in place that instructs the employee to do so.
This also applies to customer communication. If you provide your clients with specific communication policies it can help you avoid misunderstandings and make your communication seamless. For example, if a client hires you for a project, when will you communicate with that client and how much information will you provide. By giving clients an idea of what to expect, you will help them feel in control.
3. Always be receptive to criticism. No one likes to be criticized, but it is important to be receptive to it. I once had a client lose several customers. S/he didn’t make any effort to contact those lost clients, to find out why they left. However if s/he had made the effort, s/he may have discovered some issues in how his/her business was run that could be improved on. Don’t close yourself off from discovering what other people have to share. You may not like hearing about it, but it could help you in the long run.