Does your company have effective communications?

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Everyone who works for a company is responsible for effective communications…

Communications goes by many titles. Sometimes it’s call PR, or public affairs or promotions. At other times it’s called the press office, customer service or even marketing. But whatever the title, it’s a category that all businesses needs to attend to, regardless of size.

I was reminded of that this week when I called our irrigation company to “blow out” our sprinkler system (so it won’t freeze during the winter.) Typically the gardeners come and do this at their convenience, often when I’m not home. This time, however, I asked them to make an appointment. We’d damaged the irrigation pipes ourselves, digging in the garden, and we’d repaired them and we wanted to ensure all was okay. I even left the reason on the voicemail message.

A few days later, when I was in the middle of a business call, I heard the guys outside. I ran downstairs and asked them to check the pipes. This was news to them, but they did the job quickly and let me know everything was fine. But I was annoyed because they’d interrupted my business call and they hadn’t made an appointment.

I called the office to express my disappointment and it became clear the company had no idea how to handle communications. The clerk was a little bit chippy with me and told me, quite forcefully, that her only job was to pass messages along to the gardeners and it was their job to return the call.

This struck me as crazy. Why would you expect gardeners — outdoor workers — to spend time on the phone, an indoor job if ever there was one. That’s just bad management.

But more importantly, why would you argue with a customer? I don’t believe the customer is always right. But whatever you think of the customer’s idea, you should treat him or her with respect. That’s one of the jobs of effective communications, no matter what department you work in.

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