Thursday, September 10, 2015

Communication – The Teenage Years

I’m not sure what thoughts rest in your brain, simmering and sputtering and demanding your attention. Without you telling me I am lost in my own thoughts and in my own world. Communication connects us. It is the link that allows me to share your world and offer my world to you. Communication has grown with our culture. From simple gestures and sounds, words have evolved into complex languages. The nuances of words allow us to describe minute differences in concepts and perceptions.

These thoughts simmer in my brain. I think about how the growth of communication seems to be in its teenage years. I laugh and think about the preference of my teenage son’s communication. The silence with a look that he feels is sufficient to convey his point of view.  Communication seems to have gone through a growth spurt. Smart Phones, the internet with Facebook, Twitter, email and more have caused us to be awkward. We really don’t know how to use these muscles and we sometimes come across as angry, belligerent, complacent or just down right rude. We say things we would never say in person and most of all we seem to find it acceptable to simply ignore people if we so choose.  We screen our calls with an answering machine, make people go through myriads of phone directories just to leave a voice mail that is never listened to, use computer screening applications that weed out potential employees, or simply leave the communication up to a computer bot.

…So what has all this to do with food or customer service?

Well… I believe the quickest way between two points is not always a straight line. This is how my mind brought me to thinking about how companies use communication as part of their marketing programs. Have companies forgotten that everything we do should be part of our marketing?

My years of experience has shown me that sales can come from the most unusual source.  I’ve seen sales come from a hate comment left on our Facebook that we did not erase but simply responded to politely.  I have seen ex-employees become sales advocates even when they have moved away from the area.

I am not sure if companies have forgotten that the little things we do add up to big things or if they simply don’t think that there is a big enough return on investment. Have they forgotten that the most powerful voice in their company comes from their employees? Treating them right will make sure that they are part of creating sales. Have they forgotten that the customer that took the time to complain is on that razor edge of either being your competitor’s customer or a loyal customer for life? It all comes down to common sense. Treat everyone that comes in contact with your company with respect. Answer emails, answer the phone, respond to complaints, tell a prospective employee when they didn’t get the job, and communicate like you have grown past the age of a teenager.