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Communicate With Others As They Would Communicate With You
The best way to determine how to communicate with someone is to review previous interactions. This historical information will provide a lot of insight into someone’s preferences. The contact center which interacts with the same customer multiple times in a given month, is a good illustration of this.
Examples of people’s communication preferences include:
1. Frequency--Some people like to be kept up to date on every step along the way and know if there is even the slightest chance of deviation from a set objective and/or deliverable. Others just want to know when something is complete. If a customer has a history of calling multiple times regarding the status of their order, then being proactive and notifying them every step of the way would be something that they would appreciate. Others would find these updates annoying, and may put all emails from an enterprise into the spam folder.
2. Formality--Some people like to begin a conversation with a lot of greetings and small talk, before getting down to business. Not going through the formal communication process is considered rude. Others like to get directly to the point and finish the conversation as soon as possible.
3. Channel--Everyone has their preferred communication channels. Some people still use fax machines extensively and read faxes like others read email. Proactive notification is about contacting customers before they decide to contact the enterprise and to use the channel that the customer prefers.
Other communication preferences are universal and should be implemented with every conversation. These include:
1. VIP Treatment--Acknowledging that every person is special and valuable. Treating others with respect, empathy, and politeness goes a long way in having a productive conversation. Making a good impression at the start of a conversation is critical.
2. Speed--Nothing is more frustrating than calling a company up every day to follow-up on something, and to start from the beginning each time. Every conversation on the same topic should go faster the next time. 3. Moody--We are all human and subject to having good and bad days. Recognizing if a conversation does not begin well, that one option is to postpone the conversation to a different time and/or bring in someone else.
As an example, most contact center supervisors, whose jobs include contacting customers back who indicated they were unhappy with their customer experience, just review the previous experience. The problem with just listening to the single experience is the supervisor has trouble differentiating if it was the message or how the message was delivered that led to the poor customer experience.
But, if the supervisor reviews multiple past interactions, they will have more insight into the customer. The supervisor does not have to listen or read the complete previous interactions, just the beginning, to get a good sense of the customer and their communication preferences. The best predictor of the future is the past. This holds true in communications as well, and knowing how someone likes to be communicated with can be valuable.