What’s the Opposite of Conflict? Communication.

I was sifting through some blast-from-the-past project management coursework and I stumbled upon a note I’d taken on a ubiquitous 3×5 card. It read: Conflict is 80% miscommunication.

I wrote this note to myself at the time because it resonated strongly with me. Fast forward to today and miscommunication is the wrinkle that stands between the ability making the numbers and smashing them. In that wrinkle you’ll find reduced efficiencies, limitations for clear analysis, and missed opportunities for customer engagement. All of which all boils down to a reduction in revenue realized. In that wrinkle, the depth of our customer relationship is defined.

This post is the first in a series covering the idea of Communication as a revenue generation tool and brand differentiator. In this post, I focus on the customer experience as it is tied directly to effective connection with the service / product / or brand. In upcoming posts, I’ll turn that around and focus on the exciting customer-driven communication as a channel, and then move to internal communications and finally will cover some very exciting tools that are available to cultivate this communication.

Communicating well with your prospects and customers is about connecting with them. You can’t misfire, ignore the misfire, and expect your customers to have faith in you or to promote you. The trust we all work to build can be broken by a missed opportunity to do the right thing, offer a targeted message, be human. I have a loyalty to Delta Airlines that spans years. Last week, it took me 14 hours instead of 4 to fly home from Boston. I had to take an additional flight – almost had to take 2 additional flights – and had literally hours of confusion and frustration as I tried to navigate my way home.

Delta, who has always proven to offer me incredible service stumbled big time throughout the day. Ultimately, I know I was not the only person having troubles, and that Delta had a lot of irate people and tough situations to work through. However, I am the person in the moment on the other side of the desk and I deserve service in the same way the rest of those weary travelers do. I made it home, but felt sad to watch my chosen brand falter as they did. I’ll cover my experience with @DeltaAssist (a social monitoring service provided by Delta) as well as the usual and customary channels in another post.

If Delta had treated me with respect and clearly guided me to the correct and most logical next step, I’d have been a happy camper. I know things happen and I am a roll-with-the-punches type of gal. Instead, I was left to try to piece together the puzzle from the back of line after line with a cancelled plane full of other disgruntled folks. This is the definition of conflict.

The art of communication is the ability to connect what’s being conveyed with the unspoken details that are left out. This burden should not be handed to your customers. They’ll find it frustrating at best and will likely leave you in search of clarity and service.

What can you do today to improve your communication to your customers? What opportunity do you have to serve your customer the details they need to realize your love for them and to deepen their love for you? If you can’t see any room for improvement, ask someone you trust. Then listen. It really makes all the difference in the world. An investment in this type of service and transparency from the top down with clear guidance on the “HOW” is directly tied to your Customer’s loyalty, lifetime value, and overall likelihood to promote what you’re selling. Plus, it just feels harmonious to give great service.

It’s all about communication. In fact it’s ONLY about communication.

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