What Creates Our Messaging

As businesses, the communication we have with our customers is critical, especially during these times.  In fact, now more than ever, we are learning more about businesses from their communication which carries both written and unwritten (or spoken and unspoken) messages.  However, our communication is not the only thing which conveys a message to our customers.  Our actions and what goes unwritten (or unsaid) also send a clear message to our customers.  In fact, these are perhaps the greater means of sending a message to pay attention to.  After all, a picture speaks a thousand words and actions speak louder than words

A prime example of this is Oxygen’s performance on Tuesday’s episode of World of Dance.  Their piece, from the music, to the choreography, to the expressions on each of the dancers’ faces, is conveying a powerful message using more than just words.  Although their music has words in it, it is their choreography (actions) which sends the clearer message and elicits a powerful response from the judges.  You can watch their brief performance and the judges’ reactions to it below.

What we say, how we act, and what we’re not saying all play a part in creating a message which either builds trust in and a powerful connection with our business or creates distain for it.  Three (3) keys to consider while crafting messages from our businesses which will help avoid creating customer distain and build trust and a powerful connection are listed below.

Actions

  1. The Intentions Behind Our Words – We previously wrote a series on communicating during times of crisis in which we discussed the power words have.  In addition to words having power, the intention behind them also has power.  What that means is, as human beings we naturally pick up on if someone is being “fake” or if they are being “real.”  I’m sure this is not a foreign experience to you as we’ve all most likely had an interaction with someone that just did not sit well because there was something “off” about them.  This was our subconscious red flag radar coming to the surface and urging us to not trust this person.  The words and way in which we convey them to our customers as a business is no different.  If we are simply saying something to our customers because we believe it is expected of us or it is simply something they want to hear, our intentions don’t match the wording.  On the other hand, when we truly want to do right by our customers, our wording will match our intentions and come across much more authentically and less hollow.  For example, it can be easy as a business to simply tell your customers that you are “Here for them” right now.  However, are you writing or saying that because you think that’s what they want to hear or is it because you truly are here for them?  If you are, in what way?  Tailoring the words to the intentions we truly have and accurately describing them WILL go much further than stock language and build trust and a powerful connection with our customers.  On the other hand, if our intentions don’t match our words, we WILL create a distain for our business born from hollow messaging.

    What are the intentions you wish to convey to your customers?  Pro tip: Expressly writing out your intentions and the way in which you can fulfill them make it easier to craft the appropriate message which will resonate with your customers.
  1. Following Through on the Interests of Our Customers – It is often said that actions speak louder than words.  There is a lot of truth in this statement, especially when our actions contradict our words.  For instance, if we promise to change but never do, or if we say we care about someone but choose to not be there for them when they need it.  In these examples, our actions are telling a different story than our words.  It is no different in the business world.  When we state we have the best interests of our customers at heart but take actions which cause them heartache, pain, or frustration, we are showing them that we actually do not have their best interests at heart.  A prime example during these times is the safety of our customers, an issue on all of our minds.  One great response I have seen to this concern is the clear explanation of and follow through with the safety measures and policies being put into place for their customers in their physical location.  On the flip side, a poor response I have seen to this concern is a disregard for social distancing, use of personal protection equipment, and the guidelines for how many people can be gathered together.  Our actions are a crucial part of our messaging as businesses because it actually shows our customers that we care about them and will follow through with what we are saying to them.  When we align those actions with the interests of our customers, we WILL create trust and a powerful connection to them; however, when we do not take our customers’ interests into account for our actions, we WILL create distain and a detrimental impact on our business.

    What actions can you take which DO show your customers you care about them?  Pro tip: Now is a great time to implement feedback, requests, and concerns your customers have had!  With the deeply rooted basic human needs that have been threatened, i.e., our health, we, more so now than ever, run the risk of permanently losing customers who WILL bad mouth our business if we show them we do not care about them.
  1. Addressing the Lingering Questions – We currently live in a world with a lot of uncertainty looming over our heads.  As a result, we naturally look for answers, asking questions like: “When will we…,” “How will we…,” and “What options do I have?”  In the absence of an answer, our brains tend to wonder, make assumptions, and fuel anger from not having a clear answer.  As businesses, it is important to take note of what we are not saying AND what message that sends to our customers.  For, what we do not address can greatly impact the way we are perceived and send a message to our customers which either builds distain or creates trust.  A prime example of this can be seen in the way various endurance event businesses have communicated with their customers during these times.  This example is not meant to call companies out and will not use names, instead, it is meant to illustrate the two types of customer responses we are discussing.  One endurance event company has had little to no communication with their customers other than notices such as a standard legal disclaimer (e.g., “We are continuing to assess the situation”) and race cancellations.  On the other hand, a different endurance event company has sent a survey to their customers for their input on, but not limited to, how safe they feel competing, how their finances have been impacted, when they would consider returning to racing, what safety measures they want in place, and what option they would like to see should the current race date be cancelled.  Which of these two approaches builds trust for you, and which leaves you hanging?  When we fail to address the questions on the minds of our customers, we WILL create distain and a detrimental impact on our business; however, when we truly care for our customers and take the time to write (or speak to) the questions on the forefront of their minds, we WILL build trust in and a powerful connection to our business.

    What is on the forefront of your customers minds that is not currently being answered for them?  Pro tip: When in doubt, ask!  Asking our customers directly is a sure-fire way of truly understanding what they need and how we can serve them.

Get more actions you can take now by downloading our Effective Communication Guidelines and G.R.I.T. – Give, Recognize, Implement, Time Workbook here.

Our Strive For More pledge to you during this time of crisis is:

“To provide free, short, simple, and actionable content to tackle the real challenges we are facing now.”

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