Sometimes it seems like there aren’t enough hours in the day to accomplish all of our tasks at work. If we could find a way to improve our time management we could increase productivity and decrease our frustration and stress levels. Did you ever think it might be as simple as improving how well we communicate?
Everyone encounters communication challenges. Internal communication presents different challenges from external, but both impact productivity. We know that it is important to use effective external communication skills with our clients and customers. The ability to effectively communicate externally helps build customer confidence, satisfaction, positive brand awareness and the overall quality of customer service. It is just as important to use those same effective communication skills with our internal customers – our coworkers and employees. If there is poor communication from an intraoffice perspective, the entire department could be affected. When internal customers suffer, ultimately, your external customers will suffer as well.
Effective internal and external communication should be practiced throughout all levels of the organization and not just the top down. When we enhance our communication skills, we tend to make fewer errors in our daily tasks and projects while building confidence in our abilities. Fewer errors means less time spent having to redo projects, which leads to less stress and more satisfied internal and external customers. In the end, you realize better productivity!
Here are some helpful tips to creating better internal and external communications:
Internal (Employee) Communication Tips
- Use a Project Management/Social Collaboration Platform: A robust social collaboration solution will also take advantage of an organization’s network by bringing together the people, data and processes needed to improve engagement and enable problem solving through informed decision making.
- Create an online forum where employees can easily share information and respond: When properly integrated, enterprise social networks break down information silos and increase cross-department communication. Enterprise social networks also improve employee communication by tapping into employee knowledge and strengths.
- Provide employees with regular feedback: To ensure workers know what is expected of them, provide a weekly status report for the priorities and projects that they’re working on, followed by short and simple feedback from managers and executives.
External (Customer) Communication Tips
- Get to the point: If you need customers to take action, quickly make your point. To increase the likelihood of your message being read and acted upon, be concise and make it abundantly clear what’s in it for the customer.
- Make it easy for customers to communicate with you: Always give the customer a way to easily contact or reply to you. That means providing customers with an easy-to-find email address and phone number, or live chat or social media link (e.g., Twitter) and be willing to listen to what they have to say. Listening to what customers have to say and acknowledging it not only makes customers feel more respected and more likely to do business with you, it can also serve as a valuable source of feedback to improve your product or company.
- Keep customers informed: Use social media and other forms of digital communication to get the word out to your customers. In certain circumstances, if you need to let your customers know about something immediately, the best way to do that is electronically such as email and text messaging.
Source: J.L., Schiff (2015): 9 Ways to Improve Employee and Customer Communication