Have you ever done business with a company that had poor communication skills? The IRS springs to mind right away. They’re real good at communicating rules and deadlines for paying your taxes. And they’re experts at communicating threats if you owe them money. But they’re absolutely lousy at communicating when to expect a refund.
Today I want to tackle this thing called communication. It’s something that I honestly believe will either help your business grow or plummet if you don’t do it well.
So, let’s break down this idea of effective communication like this…
I’m sure, at one time or another, you’ve been out to eat at a restaurant and once the hostess seated everyone, you sat there for 15 minutes (or longer) before your server showed up. She didn’t bring you water, she didn’t bring you silverware, she barely acknowledged you.
You were just left there, ignored, feeling half-starved because you hadn’t eaten in eight hours. And now absolutely frustrated too.
How different your attitude might have been had the hostess simply thanked you for dinning there and let you know that, unfortunately, two of their staff just left for a family emergency. That you would be served as quickly as possible, but it may take a little longer than usual.
One simple little statement, effectively communicated, would have changed your whole experience. If she’d have just said something, you wouldn’t have gone on Yelp and left the restaurant a one star review.
Good communication skills are a powerful thing!
Now, let’s transfer this idea into our own industry where we’re providing a Facebook advertising service for clients.
Believe me, there is no better way to piss off a client than poor communication. I always tell our team, “If we lose a client, it’s probably because we didn’t communicate with them well.”
In fact, you’d be surprised how forgiving and patient clients can be as long as they know what’s going on — even when you find yourselves in the middle of some kind of challenge.
Why we continually work on effective communication with clients
When we run campaigns, we try to keep clients in the loop at all times because we’re always making changes on the back end of the campaign to make it work better and get better results.
But I’m the first to admit that once in awhile we drop the ball. If we pause a campaign, for whatever reason, and leave it paused for too long, the client will reach out to us (instead of us reaching out to them to explain the reasons behind our actions). So, they’ll be mad after they talk to us — not because we paused the campaign, but because we didn’t tell them about it.
When your client has to wonder what you’re up to, or if they have to chase you down for the answers — that’s when they get frustrated, stressed and worried.
Any kind of advertising will have highs and lows. So it’s important that you over communicate during both the peaks and the valleys. It isn’t just something to set and forget and hope for the best.
One thing that really gets me fired up, is if a client calls and says, “Hey, Billy, have you talked to your team? Just wondering why we haven’t gotten any leads in a day. I know they’re making modifications to the campaign, but what’s going on?
Calls like this do not make Billy a happy camper!
So, the one thing I really want to stress, and that we say in the office all the time: “Just because you called a client doesn’t mean you communicated. Just because you called a client doesn’t mean you communicated. Just because you called a client doesn’t mean you communicated!”
In other words, if you just call and leave voicemail, and they don’t answer; that’s not communicating. You need to actually talk with them because they may not be OK with their campaign being paused. They may be in a big crunch to make a sales quota and they need leads now! So it’s not Ok just to send them a text message, to leave them a voicemail, or to write them an email. You need to get them on the phone or an actual response from them. Communication is a two way street.
If you have to leave a voicemail and they don’t call back, guess what? In another hour you need to call again. And again in another hour. Until they finally pick up and say, “What the hell do you want?”
Actually, they probably won’t say that — but you get the idea. This is all about meeting expectations and Customer Service is numero uno!
Why we continually work on effective communication among the team
So, we recently had a screw up here that I think could’ve been prevented internally with better communication. It was an advertisement campaign that was left on, on a day when it was supposed to be turned off.
In our company, people are assigned the responsibility of managing certain accounts. With this particular account there was confusion about who was supposed to be managing. Therefore, we overspent and we lost money as an organization.
This client was actually a returning client. When she came back, she copied all of us on her email. The person who took responsibility for responding to that email was not the original campaign manager. So, the original manager thought that this new person was taking over the account. That wasn’t true, the second manger was just helping out at that moment. And that’s where the ball got dropped.
We frequently have clients who stop working with us, then return. So to prevent this confusion in the future, we’ve changed our way of communicating with returning clients.
It’s a simple change in that the original campaign manager is the only person who will communicate with a returning client. When a ticket comes in, it will be assigned to the proper account manager from the beginning. Even if the client reaches out to somebody else on the team, there will be an immediate redirect to the original manager.
We consider this so important, in fact, it has been added to our internal process manual.
Why we need to work on effective communication with ourselves
Building effective communication with ourselves. Does that sound like a weird idea?
Here’s why I think it’s important. Whether or not you realize it, you are always talking to yourself. It’s your internal dialogue.
And I’ve seen the internal dialogue of employees completely doom entire organizations. I’m talking about when people talk internally about what they can’t do!
When people just state the problems, e.g. “This client went MIA and they’re not answering their phone, so I guess there is nothing that I can do …”
The second you have that mentality, you are accepting defeat. So never adopt that attitude!
Instead, you should be telling yourself, “Crap, I lost that client. I messed up. Now what can I do make this right? Or if winning them back isn’t possible, “What can I do better so I never lose a client for this reason again?”
Effective communication takes persistence
We’ve had situations where one of our account managers might call a client as many as five times and still be unable to get hold of the client. So, the manager would come to me and say, “Well, Billy, I know you’re upset I didn’t get hold of them but I did my best — I called them five times.”
And my answer is always this, “Unless you’ve called five times, texted them 12 times, sent a message via carrier pigeon to their house, got on a plane then showed up and knocked on their door … plus had somebody else in the office calling them too — then you didn’t do your job.”
Saying I can’t is unacceptable because at the end of the day, we have to produce results. And we can’t produce results if we’re not communicating with our clients, our co-workers, and ourselves.
So the moral of this story is — if you don’t communicate effectively enough to get the job done, then you didn’t do your job. Period.
Have I effectively communicated the need for effective communication? Let me know by communicating with us in the comments below.
Get a 7-day free trial to Billy Gene’s Gene Pool to unlock trainings on marketing skills like Facebook advertising, sales, video marketing, persuasive writing and automation! Sign up through this link: trythegenepool.com!
-by The Billy Gene Is Marketing Squad