Tell it straight: why clear communication is so important

I have had cause to seek ‘help’ from various quarters in the last few weeks and have encountered varied levels of, shall we say, customer service.

It all started with a trip to A&E; nothing too serious thankfully but stressful all the same. Despite the lengthy wait (which we are all programmed to expect), it was a generally good customer experienced due, in no small part, to the interaction with the staff and their ability and willingness to explain the process to me.

Unfortunately the trip to A&E necessitated rearranging summer holiday plans, which is when the communication all started to fall apart. Tens of calls, several emails and one letter later, I am left wondering why I can’t seem to get a straight answer from anyone!

As consumers few of us read the small print until we have to; how often have you simply clicked ‘agree’ to the terms and conditions without a second thought? Don’t get me wrong, I’m not moaning about the terms themselves; but now I do need to refer to them, it would be good if someone could actually explain what they mean. What is a ‘minor’ change to the holiday for example, and how do I get hold of ‘the manager’ who is able to ‘use his discretion’ to issue a credit note.

Small print, terms & conditions, customer agreements, whatever you call them, are a necessary part of running any business. It seems pretty obvious that they should be clear and unambiguous; but they also need to be supported by processes and procedures so that your staff know exactly what to do when it is necessary to use them.

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