In any business, online or off, your communication with your customers and business associates alike is extremely important. Whether you have a Web site, a regular store front establishment or have a mail order company from your kitchen table, you have to maintain rapid communication with all concerned; clients, customers, partners, and others.
It isn’t just what you say that’s the crux of your communications, but the speed with which it is delivered. Of course, what you say is vital. You are, after all, imparting a message with what you are saying—a message that should travel over to the other person by whatever means, and be understood. But perhaps you have that down. It won’t matter what perfect message you are relaying; if it comes too late, it won’t make a big difference.
What I’m saying is that speed in delivering the communication is very important. It can actually make or break you as a business. Here’s an example…
A lady wants 10 small booklets printed. It’s a pretty simple job, with no huge design challenges. She walks into a printer’s shop and tells them what she wants and gives a couple options, wanting to get a price range. The printer takes down all the details, and then says she will email the quote by the day after tomorrow.
The lady is sort of stunned, since the job seemed pretty simple. But she thanks the shopkeeper and leaves. She drives down the street to another printing shop. She walks in and tells them what she wants and gives a couple options. The printer pokes at a calculator and gives her a quote.
Guess who gets the printing job?
Take complaints within a business for another example. A customer with a complaint, although sometimes hard to face for a businessperson, needs attention, and needs it fast. It’s the complaints that aren’t “communicated to” that escalate into legal suits and other things.
This world has become one of customers desiring instant gratification. With the speed of the Internet and the ease of phone calls, this continues to increase. The same goes for communication. People with questions of you expect rapid response. If you don’t respond at all… well, they think you don’t exist anymore and go somewhere else.
So, okay—you know that you must respond to communications fast. Good! But now, how to you prioritize these communications? Glad you asked… ;-)
You should treat any communication as a priority when it’s related to your business, but how do you break them down more thoroughly?
Prioritize communication handling this way as a suggestion:
- People appearing in person
- Telephone calls
- E-mail messages
There’s nothing worse than being in the middle of a business transaction in person with someone and having the phone ring to interrupt. What’s worse is when you are the customer and the business owner stops, picks up the phone, and begins a whole new transaction. It would be just as simple for him to either put the person on hold, explaining that he was going to be a few minutes, or taking a number to call back.
E-mail messages can be answered within a few hours with no real problem, and letters can be replied to within 24 hours to three days and still be considered rapidly handled.
Fast communications are vital to today’s business practices. Get good at it. You’ll have more business—guaranteed!
Or as Joe Vitale famously says, “Money loves speed!”