It may sound easy at first, but to effectively communicate with your clients and employees requires more than just business meetings or post-shift gatherings. If you have problems communicating with clients and your staff, this could result to severe loss of clients and low retention rates of employees. Of course, this will have a negative impact on your business.
Factors Affecting Ineffective Communication
Communication failure is often a result of several factors such as:
- Cultural barriers
- Communication anxiety on both end
- Lack of feedback from the clients and employees
- Poor quality of information
- Poor timing of messages being relayed
- Information overload
- Lack of feedback from personnel and clients
- Technological issues
Here are some tips on how to downplay the factors mentioned above.
Be a Good Listener
You don't have to do all the talking yourself. Being a good listener is always the first step to effective communication. Do not just hear what your clients and employees have to say; listen and pay attention to their ideas, problems and whatever it is they want to relay to you. You don't have to agree to what the other person has to say; simply listen and let them feel that you are sincere in doing so. Once you show them that you are good listener, they will not hesitate in talking to you in the future.
Arrange Regular Meetings
Regular meetings translate to consistent face-to-face meet-ups. In this age of Facebook and Twitter, many people tend to forget the importance of personal contact. Technology is no substitute to personal interaction; direct contact is still the best way to effectively communication with clients and employees. You can arrange for weekly meetings with employees or monthly one-on-one meeting sessions with them. It does not have to be in a formal setting; a coffee break will even do. Let your employees speak their minds and you can even ask them if they have ideas on how to improve your business.
As for clients, you can also arrange for face-to-face meetings aside from the bi-weekly emails and phone calls. You can even invite them for informal meet-ups like lunch dates or to sports events. While you're with the client, you can talk about your current projects, their progress and how you are looking forward to doing business again with them.
Provide Regular Feedback
Feedback completes the basic communication process. For employees, feedback ensures them that you are keeping an eye on their work and that you are interested in what they are doing. Be lavish in your praise when an employee deserves it and be constructive in your criticism as well.
For clients, feedback is also vital. Inform them of what's going on with their projects and if possible, send them daily updates of your progress. This will reinforce your competency levels while demonstrating professionalism.
Effective business communication is all about showing concern and giving full attention to both clients and employees. As long as you're willing to listen, arrange for regular meetings and consistently provide feedback; you'll most likely retain your clients and employees.