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Are posters on the lunchroom wall enough? February 23, 2010

Posted by Jack Macholl in Communications.
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In my travels I get to see many employee lunch rooms, break rooms, waiting areas and lobbies. Often you see those nice professionally produced motivational posters about “communication” and how it changes the world adorning their walls.  There are many companies that are indeed “walking the talk”- setting up blogs, Wikis and forums that allow direct interaction (communication) with customers and critics alike. It’s a big step, one that many companies consider, but after weighing the good with the bad, may wish to avoid.

If you are serious about communication it is important to determine the strategy (what you hope a full-fledged communications endeavor will do for your company) and the level of resources (human and capital) you are willing to provide. 

Some of the “101 fundamentals” or common sense areas that are obvious (and easy to examine/fix-if necessary) are:

  1. Automated “receptionists”- if you are promoting open communications with clients this is a turn-off
  2. Auto responder to e-mails– I sent an inquiry to an unnamed telecommunications firm seeking product information and got no more than an auto respond reply, no human lead follow-up
  3. Web site copy that talks about local service and phone inquiries are sent to a off-shore tele-center complete with satellite delay
  4. On your phone system a customer “zeroes out” and gets a “wall of voicemail responses”- that you can fix

Internally– beyond the old suggestion box with paper slips or a white board in the break room, what mechanisms are you providing your employees to share customer feedback and learn from one another about what the marketplace wants (or is saying about your product/service)?  As an organization are you really seeking ideas that can help you deliver responsive problem solving and improve product offerings?

Today’s social media tools (many which are free) can help you build a community atmosphere with your clients and employees. Communications like any other initiative takes great care and planning- and also a good long look in the mirror before starting off.

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