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Communication Chaos

 

I ask businesses often about the number one issue facing their business. 80% of them respond with an aspect of communication as this issue. This article will look at some of the issues being faced by business with suggestions on how to improve.

  • Listening skills. The team are unable to listen and frequently get direction wrong.
  • Attitude displayed with communication. The words may be right, but customers picking up on attitude.
  • Overuse of Text Message and Social Media to communicate within the team.

Listening Skills leading to Poor Execution

 

This problem is two-fold. One is the listening skill being displayed by the staff member, but also the clear communication by the front line manager. The best way to reduce this impact is this.

  • Ensure the communication process is present. Enable communication with no other distractions.
  • Think about the communication and deliver it simple and clear. Tailor the communication to the staff members, do not use unnecessary words or over complicated words. Simple, clear, effective.
  • Allow the staff member to ask questions to clarify.
  • Allow the staff member to restate the communication in their words to ensure the communication is processed as it should.

This will enable the communication to have clarity. If poor execution resists, you can look elsewhere for the reason.

 

Attitude in Communication

 

John Maxwell says “They hear your words, but feel your attitude”. Surveys indicate that the major aspect of the communication process is through body language with the second biggest aspect being tone of voice. Words account for just 7% of the communication process.

 

In my previous roles in retail, I would estimate that over 70% of the customer complaints I dealt with, related to attitude of the team member. To remove that attitude reduces reactive complaint handling markedly.

The next area is attitude within teams. Some within the team take great joy in being disruptive within teams and have no worries about letting people know how they feel. 

 

In both cases, the answer is awareness through training for a specialised course. For customer service team members, training to understand and eliminate behaviours that customers seem confronting. Recruiting for service oriented people is another method. I have found from experience that recruiting for service and training for expectations for superior delivery reduces complaints. Keep the team engaged and focussed on goal delivery is also a supporting strategy.

 

Within the team, training is the start of the process. A dedicated Communication training program makes the team members aware of desired behaviours and the focus is on goal achievement for the team, not the individual. The behaviour needs to be monitored by leadership, and corrected if the previous behaviour returns.

 

Some Team behaviour training and awareness would also be beneficial. Team dynamics are important and from experience teams experience success from this training.  When the team wins, everyone wins should be the attitude.


Social Media and Text Messages

 

Surveys indicate that on average people check their phone nine times every hour. This is an escalating trend for many to communicate and needs to be addressed within each workplace with clear direction and expectations.

 

We also see people text in sick and when absent. Unfortunately, many leaders have accepted this as a valid form of communication and have even promoted this themselves by texting team and staff.

 

Each business should work out what is acceptable for them. Personally, I train that face to face is the best method of communication and encourage use of the phone.

 

Hope this introduction to combatting communication chaos helps you.

Tony Curl – tonycurl.com