Face Time: The Importance of Communication in Business
Anyone in business will know the importance of good communication – after all, how can you provide a top quality service if you don’t know what your clients want? Tough times are ahead of us, and contractors working in IT contract jobs need to do all they can to gain honest feedback from their customers, in order to gain a better understanding of what their clients feel and what their employees think.
It is important to establish one or even multiple lines of communication between the contractor and the client. These can be in the form of emails, phone lines or paper tools – anything, so long as it provides candid, honest feedback with the option for anonymity. Never underestimate the value of anonymity. Surveys work well too, so long as they are carried out quickly and frequently and the results are publicised afterwards. This gives a clear message that you care about what the service you offer to your clients. Publish a weekly or monthly newsletter to let your customers know what is going on; this will allow you to publicise your successes whilst dealing with unhealthy rumours. The newsletter could even contain a Q&A section, answering any queries your clients may have regarding your services.
Show your face. Do your best to meet up with clients and customers regularly to discuss contract jobs; not only will this show the client that you are accessible and interested, but it will help to build and strengthen trust. If you want to honest feedback, you need to make an effort to expose yourself to clients and team members – organise a business lunch, or pop into client offices or locations – get involved!
It is difficult to take well to criticism, and the professional should never underestimate the value of staying level headed and professional. Negative feedback should be thought of as a learning curve – it is not necessarily a bad thing!
When faced with criticism, the IT professional should handle the situation professionally and tactfully. Resolve to investigate their complaint and take some time look to look into the issues they have raised. Ask questions about their criticism, and develop a polite and tactful dialogue to ensure that you learn as much as you can from their complaint. Be upfront about any mistakes that were made and admit any wrongdoings – this is a sure way to gain respect from your clients and your colleagues.