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Communicating With Customers in Small Business – the Goldilocks Zone
Let’s talk communicating with customers in small business. Or more specifically, the Goldilocks zone of communication in small business. Is this Goldilocks zone just the stuff of fairy tales? Or do you think there’s a place where small businesses can get communication with its customer’s just right.
I’ve just gotten to the other side of a week of extremes. Two businesses, both of which I am a customer, operating in stark contrast to one another. Hyper communicative to crickets. And it’s given me some theories about this Goldilocks zone and how we as small business owners can find ours.
This Porridge is Too Hot!
As my phone started ringing I had a feeling I knew who it was. I’d been emailing back and forward with the manager of a company we were looking to outsource too, and it was obvious he was keen to impress.
After initial discussions with his company we decided to move to the next step, a more intensive meeting detailing our project and how we saw them being involved. I agreed to a date and time for the meeting and started getting on with the day.
Almost immediately I received an email, letting me know of his intention to email me a meeting request. Five minutes later another email asking me if I got the first email, this time wanting me to clarifying if it was ok for him to send me a meeting request.
Yes, I clarified. Please send the request. It arrived straight away, I accepted. Another email arrived enquiring as to whether I had received the meeting request as requested and if so, would the requested arrangement be acceptable. Five emails to set up one meeting. A meeting with a pre-agreed upon date and time and now he was calling me too. Exhausting, right?
So, I picked up my phone to clarify once again that I was available for the meeting, I had received all previous communication and that this would indeed be my last contact with him until our future date. He ended that phone call with ‘Just to clarify we’re all ok for the meeting on …’ and I hung up wondering if I’d misjudged their capabilities and was on the way to making a big mistake.
This Porridge is Too Cold!
My too little came in the form of another business we’d outsourced work too. If you’ve read any of my articles you’ll know I am one half of a husband and wife small business team, each of us having very defined roles and this is one of mine.
With several emails unanswered and phone calls not returned, I was beginning to wonder if our project was indeed still active and had started researching alternatives. Finally a call came in, to my husband’s mobile, requesting information that I had sent weeks before.
This wasn’t the first time contact had been made with my husband instead of me, and it wasn’t the first time emails had mysteriously not reached their destination or been seemingly ignored. So I resent my original correspondence with a request for a quick reply letting me know that it was received. It took another three days to get confirmation of receipt.
How do we get the Porridge Just Right?
Both of these scenarios were down right frustrating and had me questioning the longevity of the projects. So what’s the solution, what’s the just right?
My theory, I believe the Goldilocks zone exists but it looks different for every business. For us, the ‘just right’ is as simple as being mindful, and working towards creating overall efficiency and consistency within our business.
Communication is a two way street and should be carried out in a way that suits everyone involved. If you find yourself in constant communication with the same customer, it’s not efficient for anybody. If your customers are complaining you don’t get back to them quickly (or at all), you’re not being efficient with your resources and things within your business need to change.
Good communication is the key to a successful business. It builds relationships and trust, and reduces costs. It’s also an area that many small businesses get wrong.
So if you want to separate yourself from the crowd and have a point of difference, get to work on finding your Goldilocks Zone.
“The opinions expressed by Smallville Contributors are their own, not those of www.smallville.com.au"
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