Business Communication Is So Very Important
For all businesses, not just startups ...
POSTED BY JONATHAN VOWLES ON 11/10/2016 @ 8:00AM
Now this sounds like an obvious statement, but hang on a minute, just because it is obvious doesn't mean that you have thought through the questions and found the answers ...
How can you build these business communication ideas into your company?
copyright: rawpixel / 123rf stock photo
So bear with me while I go through five hugely important communication questions for any business, not just for startups:
What is your internet availability like?
Silly question? Not really! OK, so we all want a gigabit connection, but what are you likely to get? Take some of the issues I have come across so far in 2016:
The lady who gets BT Infinity (or FTTC as it is also called). BT Infinity doesn't come with a guarantee that it will be available (known as a service level agreement or SLA). So, if someone further down the street chops through the cable with their JCB then it can take up to 4 days to be fixed. What she should have organised is a business standard service that comes with a service level agreement.
The chap who can actually see the nearest BT green street-side cabinet with a fibre to cabinet (or FTTC) from his office, but BT aren't running any cables to his office from that cabinet and might take another 5 years to do so! This means he has a reasonable download speed, but a rubbishy upload speed.
Does a rubbishy upload speed matter? Well, yes it does if you want to do anything business-like! VOIP, using a hosted system and e-commerce, for instance, are examples of ways of doing business that need good upload speeds. Possible solutions are a leased line, a satellite connection, a 4G connection or having multiple copper lines, but, potentially, all of those costs more.
Despite the UK Government's best intentions, there are plenty of places that don't have a good internet connection. The answer is to make sure you check out both upload and download speeds and research what is available in the area in which you want to do business - before you agree to take the premises!
Who is answering your business phone?
This is another 'Doh!' moment. The person who answers your phone is really important because they are an ambassador for your business, and they usually provide the first impression of your business that a customer receives.
Do they have a friendly and pleasant speaking voice? Are they well trained? Are they a good communicator? Do they understand that they should smile as they answer the phone as that is heard in their voice? Or is this important task left to someone who doesn't understand how to do it properly, or who has never been trained? Or perhaps they don't understand what the business does and so relay incorrect information to your customers?
What is your email response speed?
Replying quickly has become a way to benchmark and test a business and for you to slip up and get your communication wrong.
Years ago, business relied upon letters that took days to arrive and be replied to. Nowadays, emails, social media posts such as tweets take seconds, but what is more, nearly everyone wants a prompt and speedy reply.
For example, Facebook gives businesses a promptness rating based on how quickly they reply to posts. Ask yourself how long you would be prepared to wait for a reply. Importantly, this means that you have to organise your business to respond quickly or you indicate that you don't consider responding quickly to be a priority in your business and risk the client looking around for a company that will!
Have you had your website and standard documents checked for English?
Not everyone is an English graduate, but most people can tell when stuff is poorly written and, if they can sense that your documents contain errors, then they start off in a critical frame of mind.
Not only might they start by being critical, but sometimes it means they don't use your business. It is interesting to know that email fraudsters often deliberately misspell words so that more intelligent people are put off!
Don't put people off your business by using a low standard of English in your communications, especially when getting your website or standard letters checked by a copywriter or editor is so easy.
People do business with people!
There has been plenty of research into why people use one business over another. One of the consistent findings is that we like to do business with people we know, like and trust.
I am sure you can think of similar situations from your own experience; you might be dealing with the biggest corporate business in the world, but actually you always ask for Mike, because he is the person you know, like and trust.
How do you make this work for you in your business? Be personable, be communicative, try to create a business relationship or friendship even if you are dealing with someone by email or phone, rather than in person.
Now that you know these important points, build them into your business and call me on 01234 752 566 or or click here to send me an email if you'd like some help.
Until next time ...
More about Jonathan Vowles ...
I've been an accountant in and for business since 1987 and have a wide experience of consultancy, audit, accounts, taxation and wealth planning work from individuals and small businesses to multinational corporations and charities.
My eclectic interests in growing and developing business span a number of areas, which can be summarised as strategic business advice and tax saving advice.
I have worked with the Chamber of Commerce to deliver courses for people about starting up in business and have lectured about tax for a major accountancy practice and for Milton Keynes College.
I relax by reading fiction and by getting away from the office in a campervan.
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