Communication disconnects, above all, have negative impacts on customer retention rates. And these disconnects abound across the workplace. All you have to do is listen and observe.
First, when customers do not understand the purpose of your job function or cannot understand the words you use, they tune out and turn off. As a result, customers become disengaged because of these often unintentional communication barriers. Because they think you are not making every best effort to communicate with them.
Next, when colleagues do not understand what your job title and function “mean,” they cannot understand what you can do for them. Let alone with them. Furthermore, your colleagues cannot understand what you both can do, together, to better serve customers. So, they give up, tune out and turn off. And customer-focused solutions fall short of what they might have been.
Then, when business systems have their own semantics for commonly-used terms, customers begin to misinterpret your answers to their questions. You both “think” you are using the same word, except the outcome is not what was anticipated. How frequently does misinterpretation negatively impact customer experience, making customers feel like they are working for your system? Instead of vice versa.
When communication disconnects are perpetuated, colleagues feel marginalized from the conversation. Customers feel the same way.
Today’s multigenerational and multi-educational and often virtual workforce requires greater communication skills than ever. Seeking common ground for communication, rather than sticking to discipline-specific terminology and buzz words, makes everyone part of the customer experience and customer retention story.
Otherwise, employees do not understand how their work complements the activities of other colleagues. While they remain productive, their activities can duplicate work performed in other areas of the company. Think about the impact of siloed collaboration on aggregated workforce profitability and innovation. If you do not know the answer, ask your current customers.
Tomorrow, pay more attention to whether your spoken or written communication creates barriers or enhances productive and profitable collaboration. Then, pay attention to your colleagues’ and your clients’ communication patterns. Perhaps, the first communication disconnects to impact are the ones you are accountable for.
Small changes to our habits often have big impacts. Moving forward, how will your conversations more productively and profitably connect with colleagues and clients?
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