Mar 5, 2012, 1:40 PM
It’s midnight and you’re feverishly searching your e-mail archives looking for any e-mails from your client that would help you finish the project due at 9:00 a.m. the next morning. About this time, the old but true adage, “Communication is key” starts repeating itself over and over in your head. While it sounds cliché, there is a lot of truth in that statement. But how do you ensure that your communication is successful and you won’t be burning the midnight oils? Here are five guidelines we use at Orgwide to ensure that we hear what our clients are saying and that our projects meet and exceed their needs. Start with a good foundation.In order to begin communicating with your customer, you must have a system in place. There must be a plan for your project. This includes defining the client’s needs, expectations, and scope on the front end. To do this, Orgwide uses a set of project management documents, designed to chart a project’s course from the beginning to the end. Listen more, talk less.You need to actively listen to your customers. Active listening helps you pay better attention to what your customer is saying so you can find out how you can adapt your project to better meet their needs. Jotting down notes and ideas increases your active listening and also keeps you from interrupting what your client is saying. When it is appropriate, you can go back and cover those notes and ideas.  Ask questions. Asking questions ensures that you don’t make assumptions. Make it a practice to ask open-ended questions. Avoid asking closed-ended questions (questions that only require a yes/no answer) which just force you to seek clarification through more questions. Another type of question to avoid is the negative question. For example, if you ask “You don’t have any sample coursework to share?”, the customer may answer yes, which could mean yes, he does have coursework to share, or yes, he does not have coursework to share. This just creates confusion. A better way to ask that question is “Do you have any sample coursework to share?” After you ask your question, allow your client to speak and answer fully before you begin speaking again. This links back up to the ‘listen more, talk less’ step above. Finally, make sure you are asking all the questions – who, what, where, when, why, how – in order to cover all the angles. Make your communication count.Your clients are busy people, so make the most of your time with them. Be organized when you meet with them by having a plan or an agenda for how you will spend your time together. Be sure to check with your team prior to a meeting to get an update on the project pieces and parts so you can share that information accurately with the client. Pre-plan any questions to ensure you walk away with the information you need. Golden Rule:The customer is always right. Never forget that at the end of the day, the customer is always right. The customer has the final word on decisions and is the one paying for the project. We may give them our best professional opinion, and they may still make a different decision or choose a different way to do something. Regardless of what they decide, we should be supportive. Remember, we may not see the whole picture. Ultimately, our job is to support them and make their job easier.    By starting with a good foundation, actively listening, asking questions, making your communication count, and remembering that the customer is always right, your communication can be successful and meaningful. If you want to communicate more effectively with your customers, call us or send us an e-mail to learn more. Until next time, remember to take care of the customer, take care of each other, and take care of yourself.
Feb 20, 2012, 1:40 PM
Successful organizations recognize the importance of customer satisfaction to their own sustained business success.  Leadership of innovative organizations knows they need improved selection,…
Feb 13, 2012, 1:39 PM
Flowers and chocolates celebrate Dr. Love’s favorite holiday - Valentine’s Day.  Hello out there in radio and blog land, your favorite management and relationship counselor, Dr. Love is here to help…
Feb 7, 2012, 1:39 PM
February is the month of Love and Employee Engagement.  The Love Doctor, your favorite management and relationship counselor is “IN,” and his email lines are open for your questions.  The good Doctor…
Jan 30, 2012, 1:39 PM
It sometimes feels like we focus too much on what makes us different, rather than those shared, fundamental characteristics that unite us, particularly with respect to “generational differences in the…
Jan 23, 2012, 1:39 PM
Staples has the Easy Button. Mardi Gras has the Big Easy, and my daughter has her Easy-Bake Oven. What do you have? We have some very smart followers of the (thought)wide blog series, and they shared…
Jan 9, 2012, 1:38 PM
The confetti has settled, and the champagne bubbles have fizzled. It’s back to the grindstone and time to get down to the business of 2012. January is a time for making resolutions and setting goals,…
Dec 12, 2011, 1:38 PM
Last week we began our look at “innovation.” We started by establishing the difference between Innovation and Invention. Innovation takes what is there and makes it better. Invention is the creation…
Dec 5, 2011, 1:38 PM
In my discussions with business leaders across multiple industries the need for “Innovation” seems be in vogue these days. I don’t know if it is a sign of the recovering economy and the results of…
Nov 22, 2011, 1:29 PM
The results are in!  The first annual Orgwide Thanksgiving Survey gives us undisputed (so far, anyway) evidence on how you rate the glorious, delicious, foods of the traditional Thanksgiving…

Leave us a message and a best time to contact you.

* Fields are required