StrategyDriven Customer Relationship Management Article

Non-Verbal Customer Communication: It’s More Important Than You Think

When we think about communicating with customers, our focus is usually on establishing the right things to say. However, as any communications expert will tell you, there is far more to getting your message across than just words. According to lots of different studies, non-verbal communication is a lot more important than you might think – in fact, it represents up to 50 percent of the message you are trying to get across.

Some of this non-verbal communication is obvious, of course. We all know that talking to a customer with a smile on your face is a lot more effective than doing it while looking at the floor or slouched behind a desk with your feet up. However, there are a lot more aspects of non-verbal communication that are incredibly subtle, and if you don’t know what to look for, you could be giving off the wrong signs. Let’s take a look at everything you need to know.

Appearance counts

How you look and what you wear is a lot more important than you can imagine. Simply put, if you aren’t dressing properly with clothes that are in excellent condition and smart, you will lose custom. Make sure your employees are aware of the impact of how they dress, and also that they have good hygiene habits!

Your business appearance counts, too

But it’s not just your appearance that counts. It’s also the cleanliness of your vehicle or the state of your store. If customers come into spend money with you, they want to see a clean environment. You need to take care of tidiness and ensure that your business premises are free from dirt and mess. Good ventilation, concern for excessive environmental noise – it’s all important and has an impact on your customer’s opinion of your business.

Make it easy

Not all customers want to have a chat with your employees. For example, shoppers who come into your store on a lunch break may just want to pop in, make a purchase and leave as quickly as possible, not get drawn into the finer points of your industry. So, it’s vital that you communicate well with these people, too. Signage plays an important role here, so consider using visual cues – not just text but images, for instance. Hang displays from ceiling magnets, defining each area of your premises. Guide your customers with arrow symbols. And make it easy for them to get what they need without talking.

The importance of eye contact

Finally, as humans, we talk to each other face to face. We do this because it is a better way of establishing intent and, therefore, trust.  For example, if someone is going to punch you in the nose, you will usually be able to ascertain their intentions beforehand because you will see it in their eyes. So, if you and your employees are avoiding looking your customer in the eye, the simple truth is that they won’t trust you – even if it’s only subconsciously. It’s a sign of indifference and bad manners, too, and it will cost you in customers and sales.

The Central Tenets Of ‘Business-Client’ Communication

Your business can be the tightest and most impressively run ship in the world. It’s likely you’re working towards this end. However, without the power of a customer and client base behind you, you’ll agree that things will likely not last very long. This means that no matter how good your product is, you need someone to buy it. While it’s possible to make the most perfect product in the world and price it such that only one customer justifies the entire cost of your firm, it’s statistically unlikely that your firm will. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news.

However, this doesn’t mean the end of the world. After all, who wants that? Communicating with and building a network of supporters for your firm, in clients, business-to-business connections and partnerships alike is a whole heap more fun. This means that it’s important to know how to develop business-client communication. Without it, it’s unlikely that your company will succeed naturally. If two children are selling equal lemonade on two different stands along the street, it’s likely the one who advertises and presents their product in a superior fashion will gain the most sales.

This means that communication is key, as in all walks of life. To develop this particularly well, it could be beneficial to peruse our advice:

Respect

Customers want to be respected. More and more, they understand that they are entitled to the decision of where their money goes. This is because in a wide array of industries, the free market affords competition. This allows the best products to rise, but also those who offer the best customer service. After all, a purchase isn’t simply a transaction. It’s an experience. From the first step placed in your store to the first click of your website, a customer will be judging your firm. Respect is a good lense to view your beneficial efforts through in this case.

What does this mean? Well, it certainly doesn’t mean you aggressively sell to your clients. You attempt to draw them in with respectfully caring about them first. This means giving them the necessary information about a product with use of brevity. It means allowing the client to dictate their terms. It means potentially going a little further to secure the sale by potentially offering custom deals of promotions. At the very least, it means deeply thanking them and routinely rewarding them for their loyalty.

Respect goes a long way in business, and it always will. No matter how innovative and new the marketing methods, respect will always win out, and can be applied in many manners. Sometimes, respecting the intelligence of your customer in your communication is the only thing you need to do. This is the central core idea behind the phrase ‘the customer is always right.’ It’s not simply a phrase to torment your floor workers, although it’s not hard to see why it’s sometimes viewed this way.

Accurate Marketing

Clients are more and more interested in being accurately sold products. This means that a clear picture of what they are getting is key. Even firms like McDonald’s are heavily criticised for their use of oversized burgers in their promotional material, especially considered to the actual products given. Marketers simply do not have control over the cultural discourse as they once did. It might be that using the phrase ‘magic!’ in your advertising campaign once suggested you had the only formula to achieve a task. Let’s say laundry detergent’s effectiveness in reducing stains in white clothing.

Now, more than ever, practical sharing of your product or servicing results can be shared through social media. People will read reviews, consult images, and generally get a picture of the product they are buying well in advance of purchasing your item. This is why accurate marketing is so beneficial in the modern day. It assumes that customers are smart and know what they want. It means instead of deceiving you can promote your product more creatively, submitting fun and challenging briefs to the best advertising agency of your choice.

Accurate marketing allows the very first step of the potential sale to be on good terms. While it’s never a crime to oversell or focus on the strengths of your product exclusively, doing so in a way that sticks close to reality shows that you needn’t over embellish the fantasies of your product. It also doesn’t mean you can’t sell a lifestyle, or a beautiful picture with your product involved. It simply means you do so in a way that allows a customer to feel intellectually respected and admired. This method of putting the customer on a pedestal allows people to feel well catered to, and it will likely allow communications to proceed with a strong foundation.

Client Retention

Firms work best when clients can set the agenda. This means allowing for personalized services if possible. Of course, not all businesses work this way. It might not be that Levi Strauss can personally attend and tailor you a pair of $50 jeans, and ensure a certain style is stonewashed to your liking. However, they can take on certain feedback, and do so for the continued life of their firm. If you are a smaller firm, particularly if you are in the servicing field, it might be that firmly allowing your client to dictate their terms can allow for a strong potential push in retaining that business.

For example, let’s say you run a simple cafe. You learn that a certain customer enjoys having two tea bags in their pot as they read the morning newspaper. Doing so might mean you lose out on a few cents a day in the transaction and eat into your profits. Overall, this repeat business means that you keep a stronger transaction history with this client, and benefit long-term. This is a low-consequence and relatively simple example, but as you grow consider that this could help you through many different lulls in your popularity. Gaining a reputation as a firm that cares about clients is not easy, and can only be achieved through actually making it a reality. This way, consumer care allows communication to thrive, and always stay within good terms. Complaints and defence are the strongest ways to kill a business that is otherwise working effectively.

With these small tidbits of advice in mind, setting the stage for your customer/client relationship is likely to be that little bit more effective.

StrategyDriven Business Communications Article

The Top 4 Benefits of Introducing Unified Communications into Your Business

Unified communications sounds like another corporate buzzword, the sort of thing that a bouncy, over-eager sales rep would try and sell to you with vague promises of efficiency and taking your business to the next level. Regardless, there are a number of perfectly valid reasons that introducing a unified communications system into your business is a smart move and one that virtually any business can benefit from.

Really small businesses, where you and your coworkers are few enough and close enough that you can simply speak to each other, won’t benefit from unified communications. However, any business that consists of multiple departments and requires that employees are able to efficiently and easy communicate with one another will benefit from unifying their systems.

Easier to Manage

Having a single, unified system is much easier to maintain and to manage than having a number of different, disparate systems. All of your unified communications go through a single server and can be managed through a single interface. You don’t need to have any hardware on-site, instead everything is hosted in the cloud. Should there be any hardware issues, then backups can take over, meaning that for your business there is little to no interruption in service.

Reduced Costs

Instead of paying for a number of different products, each of which have to be individually managed, a unified communications system is largely cloud-based and the only cost to your business is a subscription fee. For that fee you will be covered in the event of any issues at no extra charge. If yours is a business that needs to make phone calls to other branches or locations, then making these calls using a VoIP (Voice over IP) protocol, such as SIP Trunking as offered by Masergy, is cheaper and more reliable.

Reduce Your Carbon Footprint

Consumers are more vigilant than ever when it comes to demanding that the companies they do business with minimize their carbon footprints. Even if customers are not actively selecting businesses because of their green credentials, being able to tell them that your company takes environmentalism seriously makes it much easier to market your products and services. Switching to a unified communications system is a simple yet very effective means of reducing your carbon footprint and boosting your business’s green credentials.

Improve Productivity

By unifying all of your communications systems you will make it much easier for your workers to get to grips with the most effective ways of communicating with one another. Even if every member of your team has to learn how to use the new system, once they have done so, you will notice some major productivity gains, gains which would be hard to obtain any other way.

A unified communications system offers numerous advantages to any business. The benefits that they bring more than justify the financial cost, as well as the time that you will need to invest in training your team in using the new system.

StrategyDriven Corporate Communications Article

Why Professional Translations Matter in Business

With today’s businesses being more globalized than ever before, there is a much higher chance that language barriers can exist. Perhaps your business is located here in the United States but your manufacturing plant is overseas, and you have overseas customers. What this means is that you are trying to communicate with people who speak another language and just trying to get by isn’t good enough.

Here we’ll take a look at why professional translations matter so much in the business world, and why you don’t want to be taking any shortcuts.

Legally Binding Contracts

One of the most obvious reasons proper translation matters is because you want to be sure the legally binding contracts you enter are exactly what you understand them to be. Signing something only to discover what it means later on down the road is never a good plan. You could end up in an agreement that harms your business, and yet you’re stuck in it.

The Cost of the Translation Pays for Itself

Professional translations don’t come cheap, but what business owners have to think about is how much money it can save them in the end. Again, if you use the wrong wording when drafting a contract in another language, that simple mistake could cost your business a lot of money in the long-run. It’s just not worth taking the chance.

Make Sure Your Messaging is Clear

These professional translations also help you to make sure your messaging is clear. That could be messaging with clients/customers, vendors, suppliers, partners, overseas staff, and anyone else you are hoping to communicate with.

All you have to do is take a look at some of the rather ridiculous examples of real life funny out of order signs on the mantasticpursuits.com site to see just how important the right words are. Without using the right ones, your messaging is lost and often misdirected.

Ensure Your Content is Always High-Quality

Another benefit to using professional translations is that you’re going to be making sure that all the content you put out regarding your brand and its products is high-quality. This is especially important when it comes to your digital content thanks to the newest Google search engine algorithm. You don’t want to risk your website being penalized by Google, thereby missing out on potential business.

A Chance to Localize Your Content

It’s a fact that when you localize your content it performs better not just locally but on a global scale. Part of that “localization” includes understanding the local culture and language, and appealing to them in a way that makes communication accessible by all.

Not the Place to Make Shortcuts

While there are a number of areas that allow for shortcuts and budget cuts, providing high-quality translation shouldn’t be one of them. Making sure that your message is being relayed and understood as it is intended has a massive impact on the actual success of your business. What this means is that the translation service pays for itself.

StrategyDriven Business Communications Article

Keeping Abreast: Aligning Managers With Your Orders

One of the greatest difficulties in business has been and may always be, maintaining a good level of communication. This is especially true for the people you rely on to make your business function from day to day. It goes without saying that the most numerous employees will be junior and or regular staff that are the individuals making things happen at ground level. Here is where the most action takes place, but the most difficult decisions take place higher. As the business owner and leader, it’s your job to keep your workers functioning at a consistent level, getting everyone to pitch in and do their best. However, you’re only one person, and cannot reach out to every single person every day. Your managers are essentially your long arm strength. These people are the ones you trust to make sure your decisions are implemented and carried out as and when ordered. If your managers aren’t in the know and aligned with the company’s direction, this can lead to fallout and massive disruption. Keeping them abreast and knowledgeable should be a part of your modus operandi.

Meetings of superiors

Every week businesses around the world, conduct meetings with employees and superiors. Whether it be in the boardroom, or at the managerial level everyone in the business must be updated and give updates too. Generally, managerial meetings take place after the boardroom meetings whereby executives, partners and stakeholders discuss how various parts of the business are progressing. One way to be ready for the meeting with the managers is to be clued up on all aspects of the business that are divulged to each section and or department. Another way to be planted in this meeting is to know what you require of each manager even before the week has started. This could be things that aren’t even related to the general proceedings of the day and or week. It may be just to get employee holiday paperwork in on time, or discussing sick pay for those who are off work will an illness. The key to keeping your managers abreast is to inform them when you’re ready. All too often leaders just want to get the show rolling and show managers that they are competent enough to lead them and not be hesitant. Unless you have a clear picture of how things are going at ground level, don’t give out orders as this will result in a wastage of time.

A cohesive backroom

Every business has an advanced software interface that employees utilize to remain in the business mainframe. Using their company accounts, managers can sign in to access memos and statistics in their department. Anything from orders, sales, work history, task allocation, reports, and updates are all accessed via the managerial interface. However, the process of signing up and re-signing in are the most fraught moments in this procedure. For security purposes use two-factor authentication with plivo’s sms api. When a manager is first signing in to his or her account, proper verification of who they are must be made not just for security purposes, but to officially have them on record on the servers. If a manager somehow forgets or loses their account information, when resetting a password or changing a username, must also be met with the same level of integrity testing. This can lead to a cohesive backroom of your business, whereby only those permitted are allowed access to sensitive information, which protects your business from wannabe saboteurs.

Encouraging managers to communicate in real-time

When work is being allocated, and in the process of completion, things can often change. It may be because an order has to be altered or cancelled, an error that has been carried over from another department, or simply because the client changed their mind. Managers must communicate with other not just in the interface, but face to face also. When something needs to be changed, it’s all well and good to do so digitally through software because it’s the fastest and easiest form of relaying alterations. However, there is always a culture of rivalry and sometimes egos to play a part. If used properly these are actually great traits to have because it allows your employees to feed off of each other’s energy. However, there should be no such room for invisible territorial lines. Every manager no matter what department must feel welcome in other sections of the business, and if something needs to be discussed in person, this should be encouraged.

Keeping managers abreast of developing situations is the key to aligning your orders with employees. Not only must they be working in tandem in the business online interface, but communicating in person too.