Business & Leadership Behaviors Project Management Thoughts

The Cost of Miscommunication

As a solutions provider, I’ve always thought that a critical part of our business, in particular, was effective communication. The reality is that it is key to any business – regardless of your industry. If you can’t communicate what you do, what a client needs – whatever – there will be problems. And problems in business rarely go without an associated cost. Here are just a few costs that you could incur if your communications miss the mark:

Missed Opportunities

Have you ever been to a trade show and looked at a booth – or even just sat at your desk looking at a website – and tried to figure out what the heck this organization does for a living? This seems to happen all the time. It is so frustrating to me to try to hunt for what it is that a company does. There is the part of me that goes into mission mode, determined to try to find the answer. But usually, I just give up and move on. And the risk – for both that company and me – is that they may have the perfect answer to whatever problem that I’m trying to solve.

We’re in the process of overhauling our website right now – primarily for this reason. The clarity in your message can mean the difference between connecting a problem with the best solution – possibly your solution. But if a potential client doesn’t really understand what you do, they may move on and not return. Who knows what the value of that missed opportunity might have been?

Rework

The need for effective communication doesn’t stop once you have the client. When you and your client-defined your work budget, you probably only planned to do certain tasks and deliverables once. Failed communication can very quickly derail a budget and a schedule. You both may even be very close to the same definition of something – but that definition could quickly diverge.


Take our graphic to the right. How would you describe it? “Red in blue”? “A blue Red”? Unless you were very specific requesting “capitalized text of the word “red” in a Calibri font, size 26, the color of blue (RGB Green 112/Blue 192)”, you could easily end up with a variety of outcomes. Clear, concise communication is vital to ensuring that when we build our solutions, we can do so successfully – the first time.

Negative Experience

I read an article the other day that really resonated with me. The author talked about the impact of a negative experience and the power of that experience to overshadow any good aspects of the interaction as well as influence future purchases. There is actually science behind this regarding the amount of brain process leveraged in a negative experience vs. a positive one.

Managing the client experience throughout the engagement is essential to solution success. One key area for IT solutions like ours is the experience of the End User. The types of solutions that we offer frequently automate processes that had previously been done manually. This can cause a considerable amount of apprehension, stress, and resistance in that User. If you want that solution to succeed – you need the User to succeed. How you approach the introduction of the solution, how you train them, how you transition them onto the system – all require effective communication to meet that User where they are at – whether that’s fear of technology and change, excitement for the new system, somewhere in between.

These are just some of the areas that we’ve seen some enormous costs grow out of less than effective communication. Next week I’ll share with you how some of our efforts in communication have helped us to launch a new (and effective) approach to deploying our Assets solution.