One of the areas where many businesses struggle is in their communications, whether it is their communications with customers or communication with their own employees.
Here are three types of communication breakdowns that can result in harm to your business.
1. Setting Expectations That Your Business Can’t Fulfill.
It’s great to make a sale. For salespeople whose livelihood is based on commissions, closing a deal takes top priority. In an instance where it feels like a prospect is going to walk, a salesperson has to be careful not to set expectations that can’t be met just to make the sale.
When expectations are not delivered, the client will naturally be disappointed and angry. This can lead to a loss of that client plus any potential referrals from that client. Under delivering on sales promises can also result in being reviewed harshly online and creating an online reputation management nightmare.
What could have been done to avoid this scenario? Instead of setting the wrong expectations, take a step back and talk to the team delivering the product or service being sold. Ask what can be done to help this client and come up with a customized solution. Try to find the middle ground between what the client wants and what your business can reasonably deliver. Not making a deal is better than making one that cannot be fulfilled.
2. Fully Explain Projects with Details.
In some businesses, there may be a cookie-cutter mold setup for each incoming project. If it is a Type A project, there are guidelines that employees know they need to follow to get it completed. If it is a Type B project, there are guidelines for that too.
But in many businesses, projects vary from client to client. When a salesperson negotiates a deal with a company it is important that they understand the specialized needs of the client and details of the project.
One thing to be aware of in the sales process, is not to have too many cooks in the kitchen. When too many people are involved, details can get lost in the path from the client to execution. Make sure to assign a point person for each deal and that there is a centralized location for notes for each project and client.
The best places to create this centralized location is within your contact and sales management tool. Make sure to take notes and assign tasks. Use your software to add details about the client’s expectations and their unique project needs.
Without communicating the “fine print” details of each project, you might find yourself in a scramble when the due dates arise and the project has not been completed as specified by the client. And at that point, it will be too late to do anything about it.
3. Acknowledge Employee’s Concerns, Feedback and Suggestions.
Your business hired each employee for a particular reason. Chances are one of those reasons included that the employee was knowledgeable in the industry and keen to find ways to improve your business. So when the wheels start squeaking, and your employees come to tell you about it, be sure to listen to them.
When I say listen, I don’t mean that management should just nod, agree, take notes and then forget about it after the employee leaves their office. Management should take into account what their employees are communicating to them and think about the feasibility of their suggestions to improve the business.
Listening to and communicating with your employees will keep them engaged and willing to voice their good ideas and suggestions to improve the business. Employees who are ignored are likely to take keep their great ideas to themselves or perhaps take them elsewhere.
What other communication breakdowns have you seen in your organization that have led to bad client relations or other major issues? Please share your experiences and resolutions to these problems in the comments.