Communication is such an integral part of what it means to provide a meaningful client experience. When we speak, write or otherwise misconvey our true intention, however, it is difficult to understand why a problem does not get resolved. Technology has helped everyone to be more available and productive. However, that same technology also has caused us to stray away from natural methods for interpreting interpersonal communication.
E-mail, issue tracking systems, Twitter, FaceBook and LinkedIn all rely on typed words for communication. According to A. Barbour, author of the book, Louder Than Words, it is our non-verbal communication that determines the interpretation of the words spoken. Barbour breaks down non-verbal communication into the following: 7 percent verbal (words), 38 percent vocal (volume, pitch, rhythm, etc.), 55 percent body movements (mostly facial expressions).
With the continued drive to embrace and leverage technology, we need to look for ways to make it support more personal and interactive methods of communication. One such method is interactive video, which is becoming the preferred communication method for international departments. Skype, FaceTime, GoogleTalk, WebEx and other instant messengers also give individuals the ability to visually communicate. These technologies provide the interpretive assistance we need so our senses can to go to work and help enhance communication clarity.
Recently, Cisco’s WebEx application began leveraging video in its online collaboration software. SunGard implemented this upgrade, which allows for up to six participants to be seen at a time and interact. Through the sharing of desktops, this type of technology continues to help us see what problems exist and allow WebEx participants to communicate issues better.
Although the technology exists, nothing in the marketplace indicates a movement toward choosing video calling over e-mail or some other Internet-based messaging service. On the contrary —a recent InboxQ survey reported that 64 percent of the people surveyed would rather buy or do business with vendors who responded to queries via Twitter. It seems that people would rather communicate through the written word rather than in person (video). People are self conscious about being seen through a webcam. I recently polled a sampling of our own client services team about leveraging video; only 2 of the 20 polled indicated they would do it. The others — 90% —did not want people looking at them. When I asked if they would be open to adding a service like Twitter to answer client issues, a majority of the team liked the idea.
Embracing emerging technologies like Twitter early could help you retain clients, but it may take more time to leverage video. An option could be to introduce a social media outlet initially and use video conferencing for presentations. As the employee’s comfort level increases with video look at implementing on a more granular scale.
Have you implemented any new technologies, such as Twitter or interactive video services, to help enhance communications with your clients? How was your implementation experience, and what effect has it had on your client interactions and productivity?