Saturday, November 29, 2008

Effective Communication is the key to retaining clients and employees

As a business owners/supplier you are compensated for providing a timely and cost effective solution to your client it is really that simple. In order to do that first you must remain silent and listen to what the client is telling you they want understanding that there will be times they are unsure of what it is they want. Then you look and evaluate the situation to determine where their wants and need intersect.

The quickest way in many cases to loose business is to appear like you do not know, indecisive or give inconsistent responses to the same questions. Consistency also indicates predictability. Your success often depends on your ability to listen effectively, gather information based on facts, assess the stated want vs the desired need vs the current situation and make a single concise statement as to the path forward.

Lets take this a step further – when dealing with your staff a level of open honest communication and dialogue is also important. An open door policy is important and they should understand you value as well as incorprate (when possible) their knowledge and feedback. Just like your clients need to be assured you have some idea what your doing your employees and contractors need that same assurance – that they are valued and money does not accomplish this. Also it is important that you be consistent with your answers to your suppliers, contractor and employees. Being inconsistent and providing a different answer to the same question erodes your credibility with them.

The best example of this was my mentor in corporate Charlie Rodgers, he was the plant manager. I do not think there was a thing, a person, or a client he did not know by name. When in the plant he would do his dailt rounds and speak to the people he saw calling them by name and asking if there was anything they needed. Under his leadership the plant thrived.

Clear communication and transparency generates loyalty, good will and engenders trust. Letting your clients and employees know in advance what is going to happen increases their confidence in you as well as enhances the good will toward you and your company.

Do not leave your clients or your employees clueless.

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