5 Ways how communication helps to boost your bottom line
Good communication is key to business success. Forbes has even called it ‘today’s most important skill’. But did you know it can affect the impact quality has on your bottom line? 5 top ways to communicate quality.
Communication is often treated as a discrete act, separate from other business functions and provided as a service, but this view can limit its potential. In reality, it’s no longer just the domain of the corporate website and mass marketing emails: every social media exchange we have, email we send and event we attend is an act of communication. Looking at it this way provides countless opportunities to highlight the quality of your organization’s products or services to a variety of audiences. From colleagues within the company to loyal customers outside, and even those who have not yet discovered it. Here are 5 ways to communicate quality.
1. Write a (good) quality policy
You might be working hard and getting great results, but if your quality policy isn’t in black and white, you might have a hard time getting colleagues to take it seriously. Writing on the ISO9001 Blog, Mark Hammar says a good quality policy should reflect the goals of the organization. That way it can be used to make business decisions. According to ISO9001, it also needs to show the company’s commitment ‘to comply with requirements and to improve the effectiveness of the QMS.’ And how can you get your colleagues to engage with it? ‘A good quality policy is simple, concise and easily remembered when under pressure,’ states Hammar. ‘It is important that all employees not just know the policy but understand what it means and how their job supports meeting the quality policy.’
2. Value quality in your communication
If you want to build quality into your brand, your communications must reflect that quality. Not only in content, but also in style and format. Put in the time and effort to get the message right and think about whom you are talking to and what they need. If you have a communication department, work with your colleagues there to make sure you are in line with the corporate branding, tone of voice and style. ‘The main thing in communication is being timely, honest and clear,’ says Kiwa’s George Mentjox. ‘Exaggerating a little bit may sometimes help, but at the end of the day it is all about being good and telling your audience about it.’
3. Be transparent
Make your quality information accessible to stakeholders, whether it’s through a certificate on your restaurant wall or page on your website. There are many ways to use quality in your marketing and this will help build quality in your brand. Have you just been certified? Tell your colleagues and share the news on your communication channels – newsletter, website or social media. On the flipside, it’s important to be transparent about the negative side too. If there has been a quality issue or failure your stakeholders will appreciate your openness about it. Or to put it in the words of Steven Covey: ‘Trust is the glue of life. It’s the most essential ingredient in effective communication. It’s the foundational principle that holds all relationships.’
4. Make the information accessible
It’s not enough just to make the information available, it also must be understandable. Listing the certificates as products on the website won’t have as much of an impact as explaining in a few words what that means. What benefit do your customers get from it? Mitchell Petersen, a professor of finance at the Kellogg School in the US, shared his 6 tools for communicating ideas on Kellogg Insight. For him, it’s crucial to tell a story if you want to make an idea stick. ‘I’ll put up the data in a table, because I want them to see the details,’ says Petersen. ‘I also put up the picture, because it makes the concept much more persistent.’
5. Make quality a talking point
Communication is two way. So, if you want to communicate quality, you also need to become a good listener. Once you’ve shared your quality policy and results with your stakeholders and made them understandable. You need to give them a chance to ask questions. Encourage a dialogue; with social media this doesn’t have to cost anything, and it can make a big difference to your reputation. Have a trained spokesperson ready to address issues and be prepared to have open, honest conversations.