One factor that people don’t tend to talk about enough in regards to running a successful small business is the importance of communication. Sure, you can have the best product or service ever. You need to spend time to developing it, testing it and promoting it to the wider world. But if you don’t have good communications between your team and with your customers, you’re going to find yourself falling into difficulty and your business may not make as much profit as it potentially could. So, let’s take a moment to really focus on this area of your work. Here are just a few ways you can foster positive communications all-round!
Maintaining good communication with your customers is key to success. Your brand needs to feel accessible and they need to be able to get in touch with queries. Answering quickly is a great opportunity to create a bond between you and your customers and keep everyone happy and content. Here are just a few ways you can achieve good communications with your customer base!
When someone buys something from you online, you should request that they sign up to your mailing list in the process. Put simply, a mailing list is a set of email addresses that you send regular updates and digital promotional material to. By signing up, customers will automatically agree to the terms and conditions of you contacting them, but you also need to give them an option to unsubscribe at the bottom of each email you send them (preferably in small print). You will only need your customers’ email address and permission to sign them up to it. Now, this may seem basic. But being able to send messages straight to your customers’ inboxes will definitely help to establish your brand in their minds - you will be able to maintain a constant presence in their lives, regardless of whether they are actively buying from you at any given time or not. Maintaining a mailing list does tend to be relatively simple, but if you’re struggling, you should look into services like MailChimp, which automate and help.
People are spending increasing amounts of time on social media, so you should make sure your business is present on it too! Most social media accounts have easy, instant messaging features, which customers can use to drop questions, complaints and other messages that they might want to get across to you. Just make sure someone is always monitoring your social media, so problems can be dealt with quickly and customers can get a response sooner rather than later. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram tend to be the three most popular platforms, so these are a good place to start.
We tend to underestimate the importance of phones for business nowadays. We assume that all customers will reach out to us on the web, as this is an increasingly popular form of communication. But when it comes down to it, many consumers do still want to have their queries answered via the phone. So, it’s important you have some sort of line open for them to ring or leave a message on. Invest in a company phone, so you’re not putting your personal number out there in the public eye. You may also want to use services like ringless voicemail, where customers can leave a message outside of working hours and you can get back to them once you’re back in the office.
If you’re an employer, you need to maintain a good bond with your employees. This means having open and easy paths of communication. Make sure you are booking in one to one meetings with managerial staff to ensure that you know what’s going on with your teams and that everything is running smoothly. You may also want to set up anonymous surveys, where workers can let you know things that might need to be changed in the company!
Communication between you and your employees isn’t the only important communication for employees. They also need to communicate with each other properly to form a productive and positive team. If you find that your employees have an “every individual for themselves” attitude, your company’s potential will become limited. Teamwork, on the other hand, helps your workers to collaborate and experience success a lot more easily. However, good bonds don’t always come easily or naturally. There can be barriers between employees that need to be broken down. Here are a few ways to help this process!
When new employees start, it’s a good idea to break the ice and introduce them to the team. Arrange a sit down meeting for them with each department they’ll be working with, their managers, and other individuals they may be reporting to. This will help them to get to know people’s names and will provide an opportunity to chat with other colleagues early on. As well, consider team icebreaker games that can build team cohesiveness.
Team building activities should be implemented at least once a year for your employees. This will help foster at least an annual experience where they can work with people they might not engage with on a day to day basis. There are all sorts of team building activities you can hold, ranging from in-office activities to days out.
Setting up a team instant chat or a team group on WhatsApp or another messaging platform is a good way to get employees talking and developing bonds. Sometimes, it’s easier to form relationships over the computer than on a face to face basis. This is also a good way to send quick messages about work, so an all-round good investment!
As you can see, communication is extremely important in the workplace. If you want your small business to be a success, you’re going to have to put a fair amount of focus on it! Hopefully, the above advice will help to get you off to a good start and guide you in the right direction!