Communication Is King

Communication Is King

On this earth all species are known to communicate with each other; even the trees communicate through their roots. Humans can also communicate inter-species (sic. a man and his dog). It’s extraordinary when you think about it.

Without communication, where would we be? Imagine what it would be like not to be able to inform or to hear. Businesses need communication. Without it the chances of survival would be dire.

To my dismay, it appears to be endemic in the U.K. that some companies do not advertise, or even release on request, telephone numbers or names of individuals (sic. The Marketing Manager, the Sales Director, the H.R. Manager). Why ever not? It is a ludicrous situation and certainly there is no such problem in other countries. I do remember the derivative of this closed mindset (with good reason) was the 1980s era of terrorism in the capital, particularly in regard to oil and gas companies. Regrettably that mindset has persisted and become fashionable. Many companies do not have a telephone number on their website. Is that user-friendly, conducive to doing business with you? The signal is “Do not bother me. I am far too important for your query”. It also says “And I am very arrogant”.

We have recently endured the strain of lockdown, a phenomenon which may well become normal over the ensuing months. Staff are working from home, on furlough, laid off, uncontactable in many cases. Communication, once taken for granted, difficult from the ‘80s onwards, is now even more difficult. My own personal experience is that, time and again, after dedicated searching for a number, I have telephoned an organisation asking to speak to a specific individual only to be told by a clearly well-intentioned but untrained telephone answerer that the individual, working from home, in uncontactable but will ‘phone me back. He/she never does.

Or they might say “Send an email”. That is, actually, the most frequent response. An email does not warrant a reply either.

Business depends on communication. Be in no doubt about that. Telephone calls and emails are the first port of call. Even the most tiresome ones are worthy of a courteous response. Your company’s reputation depends on it. Courtesy = manners = reputation = good business. Anyone who has a bad initial experience of your company will undoubtedly pass the word on. Yet so many companies seem to be unaware of this primary fact.

Consider your own telephone/email skills. Were you ever taught how to handle callers? How to take a sensible message and ensure it gets passed on? Were you ever taught how to respond to nuisance emails politely and courteously while still maintaining the goodwill of those individuals who wrote them? Have you ever been taught how to deliver a message clearly and precisely while maintaining politeness? Have you ever considered training your staff in communication skills? If not, why not?

Brenda Broster

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