Losing a customer isn’t fun, especially if they love your product. When a customer says, “I love what you do, but I’ll never buy from you again,” It can leave a company with questions about what went wrong and how they can prevent it from happening again down the road. When a company has gaps in internal communication, it can lead to misunderstandings with their customers, resulting in unfortunate errors.
Good internal communication skills are crucial for maintaining loyal customer relationships and providing excellent service, no matter what your company or brand is. Let’s dive deeper into why internal and external communications are vital for success, starting with an example of what not to do if your goal is to keep your customers.
Why effective internal communication is considered important
Effective internal communication is important because it sets the standards of communication throughout the whole company. It also allows employees to understand internal processes, then communicate accurate information to the customer.
Here is an example of a company losing a customer due to a communication error.
Our own Ali Cudby, Managing Director here at Alignment Growth Strategies, finished a keynote presentation to a room full of business leaders. When she was chatting with a few of them, one pointed to another and said, “Hey Chris, is that an Untuckit shirt?” Then Chris said a fateful line, “Yes, and I love their shirts. But I’ll never buy an Untuckit shirt again.”
After Ali asked why, Chris shared the story. He needed shirts for a business trip. Before purchasing a shipment of shirts, he contacted the Untuckit customer team to make sure the shirts would be delivered before he left. After they confirmed the shirts would be delivered on time, he placed the order. The clear YES from customer support convinced him to make the purchase.
But, the shirts never arrived. He got back in touch with the customer service team, already at his destination, still hoping to get the shirts. The customer service rep said they hadn’t been shipped. He explained the story and asked if the package could be rerouted to his hotel instead, but the answer was no. They simply told him the package would be leaving their company for his home and would be delivered soon.
“Soon” wasn’t the right answer for Chris. Getting those shirts delivered to his home wasn’t, either. Chris ended up walking away as a customer, even though he had bought their shirts before and he liked them—a lot.
“The real disappointing thing is that I would love to order more of those shirts. But I won’t buy more because of their poor communication skills. They lost me.”
How can we fix poor communication in the workplace?
Setting the standard for great communication starts at the internal level. When a company has strong internal communication, it overflows to their external communication. Everything is connected. If the company isn’t strongly connected, then the customer won’t feel connected at all. Feeling connected to a company significantly affects a buyer’s decision.
In fact, a whopping 70% of a customer’s buying decision is based on how they feel they’re being treated by a company.
Connection develops when customers feel seen, heard, and valued.
The folks from Untuckit may not even realize they lost a customer due to their lack of communication.
Chris made a purchase based on their promise of timely delivery. When the delivery wasn’t fulfilled and the company didn’t make enough effort to communicate effectively with Chris, he didn’t feel valued. And he walked.
Sales communication skills are crucial for the success of a company, but the need for good communication doesn’t end there. Even if the product is stellar, alignment of internal and external communication flows through a business—from sales to delivery to customer service —are key factors for successfully adding revenue and long-lasting customer loyalty.
Maybe Untuckit’s team didn’t communicate well on processing and shipment timing. Maybe the shipment had its labels on and ready to go, but got lost in the warehouse. A number of things could’ve happened, and if their team would have communicated more effectively on the timeline of the shipments, it’s quite possible that the customer service representatives wouldn’t have promised Chris the shirts in a specific time frame.
What does internal communication include?
To implement effective sales communication skills, companies have to look at their customer experience and develop an internal communication strategy to identify how departments are going to work together in their sales effort while making sure every employee has the correct information. Any gaps in communication can lead to serious issues down the road. In Chris’s case, false communication from the customer service team undermined his experience.
Today, 39% of employees believe that people in their organization don’t collaborate or communicate enough. It’s important to implement strategies that are suitable to the needs and goals of your company.
Here are a few communication methods that companies can use to improve their internal communication:
Create a set of playbooks company will use to communicate both internally and externally. This will build a solid foundation on which future communication efforts can be built.
Create a safe space for communication. Employees need to feel comfortable voicing their opinions, offering ideas, reporting issues, asking questions, and sharing criticism.
Proactively seek feedback. Good workplace communication needs to be a two-way street if you want engaged employees who feel valued and motivated.
- Set a specific time for departments to meet and touch on their communication efforts is a must when having a strong and continual internal communication strategy that reflects positively on the customer experience.
Make internal documents easily accessible. Employees are busy enough without having to spend a lot of time looking for internal documents.
Break down communication silos. Silos exist in many organizations, even small businesses. When employees only focus on their own roles, departments, or objectives, they’re not collaborating with others.
- Stay consistent with your communication methods then hold employees accountable to the expectations you set. It also allows you to track who is and isn’t doing what’s being asked.
You can also review our posts on “What is Effective Internal Communication?” and “How Should You Effectively Communicate in Sales?” for more tips on creating effective internal and external communication.
Although it might seem like there is a major difference between internal and external communication, they are strongly connected. If you have good internal communication, you more than likely have good external communication. So make sure you have strong internal communication so you’re more likely to have excellent external communication and maintain your loyal customers.
Implement strong internal communication methods with Alignmint Growth Strategies
A company can boost loyalty when customers feel connected to their company. The sensation is emotional—and many people buy on emotion. Not logic. Every brand has an opportunity to inspire customers to feel seen, heard, and valued—and it doesn’t happen by accident.
Is your company inspiring customers to feel seen, heard, and valued? Alignmint Growth Strategies looks at the current state of your operations and objectively determines the key exercises and improvements that must happen first. Then we help you grow from that foundation to achieve long-term wellness and happier customers. Learn more about ways Alignmint Growth Strategies can help you apply these practices in your company. Let’s talk!