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Clear Communication

February 23, 2011

The sun is shining brighter these days in Central New York and it couldn’t be at a better time. This past week as another arctic blast swept the Northeast, I heard from a number of women who have been struggling with cold acting clients with hot customer service issues unsure how to remedy the complaints.  Their plight resonated with me having just experienced a bizarre and unexpected client situation myself. As experienced entrepreneurs we think we can tell when a customer is unhappy, but on rare occasions we’re caught off guard like the lake effect winds blowing off Lake Ontario that blind our driving ability.

 The world of technology has brought the way we do business to new levels.  Most of the technology has been exceptional – allowing us to Skype with international clients, promoting our businesses activities through social media, expanding business revenue with online shopping carts and participating in educational programs all over the world.  Technology has also dramatically changed the way we communicate with our clients – emailing, texting, and teleconferencing are the way conversations take place today.  Although these technical advances are beneficial to commerce and every day life, they have drawbacks – especially when people forget the proper etiquette of having a “live” person to person conversation.

My blinding entrepreneurial moment came last week when a relatively new client decided to end our business relationship with an out-of-blue email whose subject line read “Business Agreement Terminated.”  In my two decades of experiencing proper professional business conduct, I was never so caught off guard. It wasn’t the content of the message that followed that struck me or the reasons for the termination; it was the manner in which it was done. You might call me old fashion, but what happened to the days when picking up the phone or meeting someone in person to discuss a problem was the way you did things right.  Difficult conversations are never easy for either party but you have to have them and you have to do them right.

Today I  encourage you to pick up the phone as often as you can when you have something important to share with a client or business associate. Don’t let the ease of communicating through technology stand in the way from making a tough call.  It is better to have a frank conversation where both parties can hear each other’s voice, ask questions, debate the situation and come to a possible solution before the opportunity is gone or the relationship broken.

No matter how much technology changes the world, we can’t let it change us too much in the process. We can’t forget what lessons we were brought up with and the right way to communicate with others just because the way we communicate has changed. It’s imperative as we enter a more expansive global market and use technology to conduct business; we remember how to  communicate properly.  In the end it is not a computer doing business with another computer, it is a human being doing business with a human being.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. February 23, 2011 10:56 am

    Just a quick note: would it have been any better if the person TEXT you? It’s still communication, as impersonal as it gets….

    I agree with you, but this is the wave of the future, unfortunately.
    spread the humor:


  2. February 23, 2011 11:16 am

    Thanks for your comment. In this instance, there should have been a face-to-face meeting to discuss concerns or our contractual agreement. I think texting and emailing in this case just doesn’t apply.

    I do like the idea of adding humor when the chips are down. Thanks for reminding me there is humor in everything.


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