Communicate to Meet Your Customers’ Needs in Business and at Work
I’ve witnessed or heard about three (3) instances of customer communications over the last week that have missed the mark with the intended customer audience (both internal and external customers):
- Wishing “Merry Christmas” via email to customers who do not celebrate Christmas;
- Asking internal employee customers via an email survey how they feel about benefits they currently don’t receive;
- A leader giving sole and public credit to a peer leader for the success of a completed project that was clearly a team effort, in front of the rest of that project team.
Obviously, the intention was not to upset their respective customers. The impact, however, was unfortunately the same: instead of earning customer points for the communications time, cost and effort put forward, in all three instances, all three groups of customers were at minimum, marginalized by communications that did not meet their respective needs. And at maximum, all three groups of customers were, to varying degrees, pissed off by the impact of the respective communications. In at least one instance, the customers took their business elsewhere.
Customer communications, both internally and externally, takes a great deal of work and care in planning, crafting and delivery to ensure that your customers receive the authentic impact of your intended message.
Critical to successful customer communications that completely support both customer recruitment and retention is to ensure that both the intent and the impact meet / exceed the customer’s needs. In order to hit the needs’ sweet spot, your customer communications at minimum must:
- Meet the needs of each of your customers:
- Which may involve tailoring the communication for each of your customers, e.g. sending Diwali greetings to your Hindu customers, Hanukkah greetings to your Jewish customers, etc.;
- Ensure great care to leave out messaging / information that does not meet your customers’ individual needs;
- Ensure great care to avoid messaging that may:
- Offend your customers;
- Cause your customers to take their business elsewhere;
- Ruin your reputation in the marketplace;
- Absolutely not be about meeting your personal preferences and/or needs:
- If you know me well enough as a customer, you already know which holidays I celebrate with my family. The customers and partners who take the time to send me holiday greetings customized to my celebration needs always touch my heart.
- And if you don’t know my celebration needs: your good wishes for a happy and prosperous new year (with any subject-matter-expert advice you can offer in the greeting) are always most welcome.
May all of our respective customer communications be so illuminated in this season of universal light, in business and at work.