If we truly value our customers, then we should be mindful about what we tell them and what commitments we make to them. This information will and should be used by them in the making of their own plans and in formulating any knock on commitments to their own customers.
When I’m in the position of customer and the garage servicing my vehicle commits to a time, I plan accordingly. When an installer schedules my Wi-Fi installation for a particular day, I plan the rest of my day around their time. When a supplier explains the options I have to consider, I will align their feedback to my needs and choose accordingly.
A supplier needs to be mindful of how the information given to customers is going to be used by the customers.
Consider the following information strategies and their downside effect:
- Telling customers what they want to hear.
- Over promising and under delivering.
- Under promising and over delivering.
- Saying the first thing that comes to mind.
- Being vague and ambiguous.
- Saying nothing and hoping they’ll go away.
- Making very clear and specific commitments but never sharing these with your team.
- Sharing unfounded information.
- Saying things that you know are not true.
- Saying things simply to buy you more time.
- Holding back key information.
- Making statements that you don’t remember.
- Building your communication on keeping the peace only.
What might sound good in the moment, might not bring the desired outcome down the line.
Information given will become information used.
Those of you running large teams need to consider way more than your own personal strategy when it comes to communicating with customers. For you it becomes important to think about the basis of information sharing that each team member employs. Not only should you consider the list above, but you should also take into consideration the following when contemplating how your team members will communicate:
- Their level of job satisfaction.
- Their fears.
- Their sense of urgency.
- Their propensity to blame.
- Their confidence.
- Their degree of care gene.
- Their level of integrity.
- Their level of product or system knowledge.
You might think that all of this is too much to think about right now and it is a lot.
Never think about these things? … Not an option.
Set some time aside and you’ll be glad you did.
To help you to get a handle on this consider using the following broad template:
- Customer name
- The messages we are giving them
- How they are using this information
- In doing so, are we setting them up for success?
By Louis Gerke
Development Facilitator – The Ripple Effect
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