Business communication is not an area that receives a lot of attention. It’s easy to see why, too. For a business to flourish, what tends to matter to you as an entrepreneur is based in what is contained in that communication. It’s the sales you make, the possible partnerships that you can forge – but the communication that goes into all of that? Well, that’s just junk.
Except, it’s really not just junk. In fact, it’s vitally important. The way that you manage and store the communications you have can have a huge influence on your chances of success.
Not convinced? Here are two scenarios – one customer-based, one business-based – where not storing and backing up emails and other forms of communication could truly bite your business where it hurts.
SCENARIO ONE: The Angry Customer
A customer communicates to you that they’re not happy with the product or service that you have supplied them.
Like a good business owner, you jump onto the problem and try to solve it. You could call them, for the personal touch – but it doesn’t occur to you to record the conversation. Or you email them, but you don’t bother to save the email or file it anywhere, assuming you’ll be able to find it in future. Assumption is rarely a positive, and in this case, it’s going to come back to haunt you.
In the conversation with the angry customer, you agree a way forward. You hang up or send off the email, do what you’ve agreed to do, and then move on with your day. All is well, until a few weeks later, when the customer is back in touch. You didn’t rectify the mistake as was agreed.
Now, the customer might be pushing it here. They might be lying, trying to get you to go further. The only problem is, you have no way to prove that. You didn’t record the call or even take detailed notes. You didn’t keep track of the email chain and you suddenly can’t find it. So you are faced with the choice of whether to lose a customer or lose more money trying to solve their query – even though the business tech exists to let you do so. Neither is good.
SCENARIO TWO: Forging New Business Links
Partnering with other businesses is a big part of life in many modern day companies. You can sell your services business-to-business, or just work together on a joint project. In this scenario, you’re working on a project with another company, for the same client.
The other company agrees that they will undertake part of the project. You get on with your side, and all seems well. Then, close to the deadline, the other company asks where the aspect of the order you thought they were handling is. You tell them they thought it was a task for them. They disagree.
You have no way to prove that they’re wrong. Both companies are not only going to look bad to the client you’re serving, but it could also end up costing you money in missed deadline penalties. Not being able to effectively track communication also makes you look like an amateur to what could have been a lucrative client.
So store your communications; backup emails, record calls; screencap any discussion via text. It’s in the best interests of your business to do so.