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The lines of communication

August 3, 2015

telephone lines

Photo: Cameron Russell (CC)

We are imperfect beings. We know how to listen, how to talk, how to communicate.

But we fail in those basic tasks all the time. It’s a wonder we haven’t gone extinct.

A company working toward better customer service, or more leads, or a competitive advantage has only so many avenues to try. All it takes is one employee to screw it all up, or to win the day.

I’ve been thinking a lot about how companies communicate with me, as their consultant, as their customer, as their friend. They’re doing a pretty terrible job, but all of you knew that.

You’ve all had to deal with the same issues. Heck, you may be causing those issues with your own folks.

We must have open lines of communication. And we must use them, even if only occasionally.

Some companies are old school in communication: They advertise when they need to get the word out, and they use traditional channels to broadcast the message. If you want something, you must call or email or drop by during business hours.

They might not update their website. They might not return your call or email. And they might carry that indifference to newer channels: social media, blogs, texting.

My biggest frustration often comes from lack of response. At its root, that’s more than a communications problem. No reply may mean indecision, or a corporate structure in which only a select few are empowered to decide, or a lack of incentive for service.

These are not easy issues to fix, as you know.

I can help build the channels appropriate for a company’s needs. I can unclog the lines of communication so they’re used efficiently and effectively.

But first, we must acknowledge the real problem: We are imperfect beings. We know how to communicate, but often fail at it nonetheless.

• • •

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