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How can better communication impact the bottomline?

How can better communication impact the bottomline?

India, Pakistan talk a month ago broke down because of communication failure. Such an important talk could not happen because interpretation of the word ‘Terror’ was miscommunicated or misunderstood by both the sides. What one side may assume about what is communicated, the other side not necessarily have understood the same. This is known as a miscommunication.

Are our ministers and secretaries not intelligent enough to know this? Many a times, miscommunication is deliberate to keep the things ambiguous, but most of the time it’s ignored just and not given the required importance. Our assumption decides what we think we have communicated and assumption of the recipient decides what they make out of it.

We are not discussing about communication in politics, which is extremely important though, what we are discussing is a failure of communication or not remain alert while communicating which affect customer experience.

“A man without a smiling face must not open a shop.”

Chinese Proverb

What this Chinese proverb mean is about communication. SMILING is a communication. On behalf of a shopkeeper, it communicates to a customer – You are welcome. This small gesture is also a very important form of communication imagine what adequate and apt communication can do for the business.

Many a times customer experience fails because of failure to communicate, and most of the time failed experience can be made better just by timely and right communication. It’s all about communication – be it oral, written or gestural. Communication plays a very critical role in spoiling or enhancing customer experience.

Ritz-Carlton is one of the finest customer experiences providing company. Their three steps to service is worth looking at:

Three Steps Of Service

  • A warm and sincere greeting. Use the guest’s name. (Communication)
  • Anticipation and fulfilment of each guest’s needs.
  • Fond farewell. Give a warm good-bye and use the guest’s name. (Communication)

Two out of the three steps are about communication. Better and right communication.

Customer experience expert Shep Hyken writes;

Systems that deliver a world-class customer experience start with people. And those individuals need to be great communicators. But further than that, the systems in which they work need to be designed to facilitate and promote communication. You can’t have great communicators working in a system that thwarts their ability to achieve that goal. On the flip side, you don’t want to spend countless hours building a system that promotes greater communication and then staff it with people who don’t communicate well.

It’s all about communication and we ignore it as we are communicating 24 X 7 with our customers – in person, call centers, websites, advertisements, annual reports, after sales service or sales pitch everything is communication. We train our people for a sales pitch, but we fail at after sales stage as, a paper by Xerox on Engineering Communications to improve the customer experience states;

Flawed post-sale communications are often a key factor in costly customer dissatisfaction and churn.

The customer experience is nothing but making the customer feel they are taken care off. Colin Shaw of Beyond Philosophy talks about emotional experience. Yes customer experience includes an emotional experience, though customer usually interacts with companies to fulfil rational experience. Therefore, ignoring empathy and emotional part during the customer journeys can severely impact customer experience.

Dr James Merlino of Cleveland Clinics, known for excellent patient experience, based on their research found the following fifteen area of importance for better patient experience:

  1. Staff Cared
  2. Doctor kept patient informed ( C )
  3. Nurses attention to needs ( C )
  4. Respect for privacy
  5. Doctor concerns about comfort
  6. Nurse kept patient informed ( C )
  7. Doctor listened ( C )
  8. Nurses listened ( C )
  9. Doctor explained ( C )
  10. Information about delays ( C )
  11. Pain Control
  12. Courtesy to family and friends ( C )
  13. Information to care for self at home ( C )
  14. Family and friends kept informed ( C )
  15. Doctor courtesy ( C )

Eleven out of fifteen is about effective and better communication. Imagine how patient and for that matter customer experience can be improved by focussing on this single aspect of business.

The importance of personal communication is underrated by most companies. Companies just don’t need to focus on better communication for better customer experience, but they also must improve their overall communication capabilities to avoid failure of customer experience.

Failure of communication or miscommunication or inadequate communication can be a cause of the disaster as far as customer experience is concerned.

Report by Xerox as stated above writes;

Developing a communication strategy begins with identifying customer touch points across an organization and determining their impact on the customer experience.

Yes, communication is extremely important in a journey of better customer experience, but this single area of importance can have a huge impact on better customer experience. Though this is not a substitute for otherwise pathetic customer experience, but this can surely take care when something goes wrong.

Tone, language, words, attention, listening, written, a gesture, every component of communication matters and makes the communication complete. Ignoring one aspect can fail the entire communication. Try with Tone.

An earlier proverb was – It’s Not What You Say, It’s How You Say It. New proverb is – It is what you say and how you say both matters and impacts the customer experience. Be known for your enterprise’s communication skills.  It will not only prove to be a huge brand building exercise but also can lead to a huge leap in the customer experience your enterprise creates.

PS: Remember better Customer Experience directly improves bottomline

Watermark Consulting Report:

For the 6-year period from 2007 to 2012, the Customer Experience Leaders in our study outperformed the broader market, generating a total return that was three times higher on average than the S&P 500 Index.

Furthermore, while the Customer Experience Leaders handily beat the S&P 500, the Laggards trailed it by a wide margin.

Know what, why, how & much more about customer experience in my new book  – The Bread is Moving

Sunil Gandhi
Sunil Gandhi

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