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Effective Customer Communication

Nov 9, 2007
Organizations are open dynamic systems for transforming resource inputs into saleable outputs (goods & services). They are created to provide useful products and services that satisfy the needs of customers and provide value to stakeholders. But the interests of various stakeholders (whether employees, customers, suppliers, or stakeholders) are not always aligned. This places conflicting pressures and demand on managers.

To maintain organizational viability, managers seek to navigate competitive environmental forces and work to achieve goals in the areas of productivity, satisfaction, and revitalization. One of the realities of life in organizations is that today's effective practices are not likely to suffice tomorrow. Whether pulled by the success of growth or jolted by crisis and downturn, managers must periodically transform the system to adapt to environmental realities. In the process of transformation, managers can target changes in the key internal resources such as tasks, technology, organization, people, and culture. Maintaining a dynamic balance among these resources is what human resources management is all about. Particularly, in order to analyze the changes that occur to an organization's strategy, structure, and culture, due to consumer demand, the human resource management communication framework becomes the dominant tool.

Effective communication is essential for transmitting directives, building co-operation and team spirit, optimizing performance and satisfaction, and avoiding and solving problems. Formal communication channels flow in downward, upward, and horizontal directions. Informal networks, essential for any contemporary business unit, are extremely useful as the need to tap into current feelings and reactions of employees, apart of customers, is evident. Thus, messages need to be encoded carefully so that they clearly communicate intentions, feelings, and expectations. Then these should be sent through the most appropriate channels, and feedback should be solicited from the receiver to be sure that the message was decoded as intended.

Such barriers as frames of reference, value judgments, selective listening, filtering and distrust complicate the internal and external communication systems of companies. They can be overcome by sending clear, complete, and specific messages. Demonstrating expertise, clarifying intentions, being reliable and dynamic can enhance credibility, exhibiting warmth and friendliness, and building a positive image. Soliciting and providing specific feedback can also enhance communication effectiveness.

One of the most important consumer satisfaction elements is the ability to ask questions and being able to receive appropriately answers from company executives. Gaining information, uncovering motives, giving incentives, obtaining participation, checking understanding, initiating the thinking process, inducing agreements, and refocusing attention, are all essential components of an effective consumer communication plan. Thus, employees' active listening skills assist a company to build rapport with customers and help them obtain the relevant information they need.

Moreover, body language is useful both in reading the emotions and attitudes of customers and in reinforcing an employee's verbal messages. Understanding vocal qualities can enhance the reading of other people's messages by a company's employees and help them to project their own, more effectively.

Concluding, due to the growing complexity and turbulence of the business environment and the related growth in research knowledge about customer behavior patterns, managers of the 21st century have to take four themes as paramount; the necessity of managing the challenges of change; functioning within a global environment; being sensitive to the diversity among people; and behaving with ethical integrity.
About the Author
Jonathon Hardcastle writes articles on many topics including Consumer Information , Finance , and Business
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