Understanding Business and Communications

The adage, “If you are not talking to your customers, your competition will,” describes the importance of communication with your customer base. However, more than communicating, this philosophy is about actively maintaining contact to ensure that customer demands and needs are being met. Customer service is an indispensable element for the sustainability of an organization. Without it, businesses are sure to fail, as customers will not continue to purchase. Therefore, active participants in the exchange need to communicate consistently, and this communication should be fluid to reach a high level of satisfaction where customers’ expectations are not only met but exceeded.

The Problem

Just as is the case with romantic partners, communication is paramount. In business, communication is used to develop loyalty and trust. Currently, the number of channels available to customers provides them with a sense of power to purchase products or services and make decisions autonomously. This displaces the power once possessed by the businesses; customers no longer require the business as the only source of information about a product or service.

Consumers can open a search engine and find countless credible sources of information and find even more providers to fulfill the need. Therefore, the value of an existing customer is high. Businesses are increasingly told and shown that it is more expensive to obtain a new customer than to keep a current one. With the ease with which customers can switch companies without sacrificing information or service, this value is even more important.

The communication problem is compounded further by the extent that social media plays a factor in how customers choose to connect. What good are creative ads and an articulate publicity campaign when customers cannot contact companies on their terms? While decades ago the only route that customers had was to call or email, today customers also want to use Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or other social media outlets to voice displeasures or ask for assistance. Companies need to have business phone systems in place that can meet the demands of consumers who chose to communicate via traditional routes as well as those who have access to new technologies that provide new-era interaction.

The main difference between these two forms of communication is that, in the latter, the entire platform witnesses the type of customer service that will be received. Businesses risk a lot by miscommunicating or failing to meet expectations. Companies must therefore develop communication strategies and train employees on such approaches. There should be no question about how the company will communicate with the customer, when and how much communication will take place, or what to communicate.  

Customer Service in the 21st Century

The expectation of the market and society on customer service will only increase. Consumers expect more from companies regarding better services and improved products. Consequently, companies need to focus on improving their relationships with customers and work toward establishing loyalty.

Loyalty is developed regardless of whether a customer had an issue or not and includes being candid and helpful. Employees should have a great attitude and be genuine and empathetic to customers, regardless of the situation. Furthermore, customers appreciate diligence and speed when facing problems. Companies that proactively deal with problems and can personalize customer service can expect loyalty. All of this requires employees who have the proper understanding and training to meet the demands of today’s customer base. To fulfill such needs, online international business degree programs currently emphasize curriculum development that focuses on customer service using traditional and social media platforms.

Being successful in today’s connected and instant gratification world moves beyond promoting products in the new mediums. Any company can sell a product once. Sustainable companies are those that can grow their base while also continuously selling to the same customer because that organization has established a level of trust that no competitor can match. These companies can survive issues because they are built to keep a consumer’s perspective in mind when making decisions, including how the business chooses to communicate.

Adam Torkildson