I have worked in the international relocation industry for 20 years, moving people and shipping their effects around the world. In dealing with many different customers on a daily basis, I can assure you that good Communication is absolutely key. This is not just true in the relocation industry, but is true for any industry you work in and in everything you do in your day-to-day life, including online dating, for example.
I also had a book published last year called “Love At First Swipe“, which is a comprehensive guide to online dating. What I found fascinating was the many similarities between the world of online dating and the relocation industry.
With the advances in technology, it has made the world a smaller place, but the internet has also created many more options and opportunities for everyone, whether you are looking for a quote to move house, getting a quote for a tradesman service, searching for a new job, or looking for love online. You can speak to any person, at any time – and from any place, whether it be from the comfort of your own sofa, or from a sunny beach in the Caribbean!
However, more choice can also confuse people and can be overwhelming, so its really important to communicate effectively and get the right message across. This same theory applies whether you are looking for love, or whether you are speaking to a customer.
It is also very important to create a good First Impression. You only get one chance to make a good first impression. Not only will you be judged on your appearance, but also on your attitude, the way you talk, your body language and your personality as well.
A first impression is made within the first seven seconds of talking to, or of meeting someone new. When looking for love and you meet someone for the first time, your date will be making a rapid inventory of your build, smell, height, smile, eye contact, handshake, kiss, confidence and how you present yourself. You will also be making your own inventory of them. The same is true when you go for a job interview, or when you meet a customer for the first time.
Often, however, a first impression is made on the phone, so it’s important to come across well, as you are ultimately looking to build up a relationship with that person, whether it be for love, or whether it be for business.
Just as your main photo is the most crucial photo and most important piece of information that you would upload onto an online dating profile, the front page of your company’s website is also crucial, as are the keywords which are put on your website. For an online dating profile, your main photo should say as much about your personality as it does about your face. The same reasoning can be applied to your company’s website. You don’t want people swiping left on your profile, or people not clicking onto your website link.
We now live in a world where people mainly communicate by e-mail, text, WhatsApp and Social Media, rather than by talking to someone on the phone, or by speaking to someone face-to-face. Computers and smartphones have replaced handwritten communication, phone calls and simple verbal communication. Even if people are working in the same office, they often don’t have the confidence, time, or willingness to get up and talk to someone face-to-face.
Socially, people have been done a great disservice with companies stressing technical skills development over interpersonal skills development, under the “ageis” of education.
A recent survey showed that the most effective communication was carried out in person, followed by video call, then by phone call and lastly, by e-mail. This tells us that e-mail is the worst way to influence. With face-to-face meetings or a Skype call, you can pick up on someone’s tone of voice and their body language. By phone, you still get their tone of voice, but it’s interesting to know that even your body language gets communicated by your tone of voice!
Many Customer Service teams are trained to smile when they talk to a customer on the phone. Why? Because when we smile, the shape of our mouth changes and it also changes the tone of our voice too.
Unfortunately, you won’t receive tone of voice or body language by e-mail, although I do appreciate that it’s not always possible to speak to someone face-to-face, by Skype, or on the phone.
The advances in technology have also led to many people becoming too reliant on electronic communication and I feel this has made people more robotic and insular.
Technology will continue to play a bigger role in the future, but certainly in business, there will always be the need for people to provide the “personal touch” to develop excellent working relationships. High-touch, high-profile customers and customers who have high-value goods being shipped (as they do in my industry), will always demand this, so it is vital that companies invest in people in the future as much as they do in technology.
Written by Gareth Fosberry.