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15 Essential Quotes on Communication


January 8, 2015

15 Essential Quotes on Communication

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As 2015 kicks off, it seems we have more ways than ever to communicate with customers–voice, text, chat, email, blogs, social…the list goes on and on.

Each of these channels can get complicated, but at their core, they’re about one person talking to another. It’s easy to lose track of that when you’re trying to optimize for SEO or keep things under 140 characters.

Sometimes we just need to set technology aside and get back to the basics of good communication. When it comes to communicating with customers, or even just with each other, we can all learn a little something from these masters.

“Good COMMUNICATION does not mean that you have to speak in perfectly formed sentences and paragraphs. It isn’t about slickness. Simple and clear go a long way.” –John Kotter

Customers aren’t too concerned about how you say something–they’re more interested in what you have to say. Make it easy to understand.

“The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn’t said.” –Pete Drucker

If a customer doesn’t talk to you, it could be because everything is great. It also could be because everything is horrible. Reach out and ask how customers are doing every once in a while–even if everything is fine, it still shows you care.

“The single biggest problem with communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” –George Bernard Shaw

Don’t assume that just because you’ve said something, your customer has heard it. Repeat yourself if necessary. If it’s a message worth sharing, they’ll want to hear it.

“To listen well is as powerful a means of communication as to talk well.” –John Marshall

Don’t let your conversation with customers be a one-way street. Give them the chance to reach out to you with their thoughts and concerns–you might be surprised what they have to say.

“Communication works for those who work at it.” –John Powell

Figuring out the best way to talk to customers isn’t easy. Some prefer text, some prefer voice. Take the time to learn what their preferences are, then use the channel they want to share the messages you want.

“The more elaborate our means of communication, the less we communicate.” –Joseph Priestley  

When we write a Facebook message or draft an email, we’re often concerned about how to tailor the message to the medium. While formatting is important, don’t let it overwhelm what you’re saying.

“Many attempts to communicate are nullified by saying too much.” –Robert Greenleaf  

Your message doesn’t have to be long to be good. If you find yourself rambling, stop for a second and ask yourself what the customer would want to know. That’s what you should make your message about.

“Communications tools don’t get socially interesting until they get technologically boring.” –Clay Shirky

We’re always moving on to the next big thing, when in reality we should be taking advantage of the tech we already have. For example, texting is over 20 years old, but people are just now recognizing its business applications.

“Everything should be made as simple as possible—but not simpler.” –Albert Einstein

Customers want to contact you easily–they don’t want to get stuck in a phone tree jungle. If there’s an easier way for people to get in touch with you (like immediately texting with a live agent), let them do it.

“The two words ‘information’ and ‘communication’ are often used interchangeably, but they signify quite different things. Information is giving out; communication is getting through.” –Sydney J. Harris

It’s one thing to share a message; it’s something different altogether to have it resonate with someone. When it comes to your customers, identify their pain points and discover what’s important to them. This way, you’ll be able to bridge the gap between information and communication.

“Words and pictures can work together to communicate more powerfully than either alone.” –William Albert Allard

Sometimes, pictures are the best way to tell a story. Science has shown that we’re way more likely to look at content that includes a picture. Keep this in mind when communicating with customers. For example, If you’re having trouble describing a concept, use pictures to illustrate it. It can be a lot more effective than a 12-paragraph description.

“In communications, familiarity breeds apathy.” –William Bernbach

People are used to using phone and email for customer service, and a Harris Poll study shows they don’t always enjoy using them. Newer service channels like text and social are shaking up the service marketplace, letting customers do things they haven’t been able to before (answering on your own time, anyone?)

“When you stop talking, you’ve lost your customer. When you turn your back, you’ve lost her.” –Estee Lauder

Be there for your customer whether they need your help or not. Address their questions and concerns and content you put out–if you publish it, there’s probably someone out there who’s thinking it. If they do need help, make sure someone’s always available to help them, even if it’s through automation. Take action before your competitor does.

“Effective communication is built on the cement of trust. And trust is based on trustworthiness, not politics.” –Stephen R. Covey

Don’t say you can do something for you customers and then be unable to deliver. It’s better to be upfront with your customers about what you can and can’t do for them. In the long run, they’ll end up thanking you for it and you’ll be able to maintain a good relationship.

“The way we communicate with others and with ourselves ultimately determines the quality of our lives.” –Tony Robbins

How you talk is a reflection of who you are, personally and professionally. Treat customers and colleagues with respect and it will reflect well on you.

Do you have any other good quotes on communication? Let us know in the comments!

To learn more about how your customers want to communicate with you, download the 2014 Harris Interactive report.

Photo by Flickr user Ben Smith.

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