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The ER Meets Communication & Engagement…or Not

February 24, 2010

connect, engage, reassureAs I was sitting in the emergency room last night waiting for the medical staff to fill us in as to what was happening with my mother, I realized all companies ultimately face the same communication challenges – regardless of industry.

They all need to find ways to connect with their customers, keep them informed and engaged throughout the sales or service cycle, and ensure they feel comfortable and assured of the product or service being provided.

Had any one of the staff asked my opinion about how I’d prefer to be informed about the service being provided and the overall process, I’d have gladly given it.

  1. Connect with me, your customer, where I live and breathe. Am I standing right in front of you (as in this case)? Talk to me. Are your customers tweeting all day? Connect and engage with them online. Do they prefer to communicate via e-mail? E-mail them. Do they read your blog? Invite comments and respond when appropriate. Just make sure you connect where they are.

  2. Keep me informed in a timely and predictable manner. Regardless of whether or not anything has changed, stop by/e-mail/call/text/tweet at a consistent interval to let me know what’s going on. In this case, stop by our hospital room every 10 to 15 minutes to offer an update. It could be as simple as, “Nothing has changed, we’re still waiting for the CAT scan machine to be ready.” That’s okay. Just keep me informed.

    The same holds true for other businesses and their customers. Select a predictable pattern of communication that resonates with your customers and stick to it. Even if there’s nothing going on: touch base and let them know nothing has changed – that they can continue to expect the same great level of service from you or that the latest sale will occur this Thursday just like every week. Whatever the case, keep them informed.

  3. Reassure me. Make sure I’m comfortable with the way you’ve chosen to connect with and engage me in the process. Ask my opinion, and then make adjustments accordingly. Make me feel as though I matter, as though my opinion matters, as though my problems, concerns and worries matter. Then, address them and reassure me.

It sounds simple, but it’s astounding how many companies fall down on the job. Will you? How will you connect and engage your customers today? Leave me a comment. I’d love to know.

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