Sales director of Arcot Interiors Toby Griffin says we should continually revise the ways to communicate with suppliers, internal teams and customers – using the latest tech, like group chat
Over the last years there has been endless talk about the power of social-media in marketing a KBB business.
Although it hasn’t had quite the huge impact that its advocates had extolled, it has certainly become a fundamental component of any business’s marketing mix.
But, what has been happening in the background, is that our methods of communication have expanded hugely, and very few people seem to have noticed this.
Old school communication
In the good old days, life was pretty simple, with only three main ways of interpersonal communication: letter, phone, face-to-face.
For a formal – if a little tardy – communication, one would use a letter. Straight-forward, indisputable in its wording, and could be reviewed again and again, it was a very useful method.
If matters were a little more urgent, or required a dialogue, then a phone-call was the mode of choice.
Instant and convenient, the telephone has been the vital tool of most businesses that grew in the last century.
Finally the oldest of all communication: the face-to-face. For communications of a difficult, nuanced, emotive nature; or those requiring the building of friendships, negotiation and understanding, the face-to-face is impossible to beat.
The balance and use of these great three communication methods has been the bed-rock of business communication for over 100 years. Then the fax came.
Showing my age here but I’ll never forget the wonder at seeing a fax being printed for the first time. It was like some sort of sorcery.
The business possibilities and benefits of this new and wondrous communication method were quick to catch hold.
With all of the benefits of a letter, and the speed of a phone-call, it was a revelation.
The Big Three communication methods, suddenly became the Big Four. Then the internet came.
The Big Four communication methods, suddenly became the Big Five.
Impact of mobiles
Then mobile-phones came. Suddenly the phone-call was back in fashion!
To be permanently on a phone-call at work, in the car, at home, or at play was ‘cool’, dynamic, and enabled energetic people to ‘get ahead’.
Once again, those that embraced this new communication method, benefited greatly from it.
But, along with the mobile phone also came text-messages. Initially a casual way of instantly sending a person a message without the need of a phone-call (and a massive improvement on the pager), the text message started to be used by businesses in a variety of ways; and added to the then numerous communication methods, with each person starting to have their favourite.
Then smart-phones and messaging platforms came; and that it where we find ourselves today.
Move to messaging
In case you haven’t noticed, increasingly messaging apps are being used as the go-to method of business communication.
Why? Because people have been using them in their personal lives for years, now, and the group-chat functions are a unique blend of speed, convenience and information – perfect for organising events, an exchange of views, or communicating a message swiftly and unobtrusively.
So I’m now wondering how the KBB industry is reacting and looking to make the most out of this new group-chat communication method.
Are you a supplier that could set up a group of your best clients to keep them close, informed, or to float ideas? Are you a designer that could suggest to clients that you create a WhatsApp group for them (particularly for partners), to keep everyone informed as the design/project progresses?
Do you have a mobile and disparate team that would really benefit from being ‘plugged in’ to each other’s’ thoughts, ideas, movements, issues, and suggestions?
History teaches us smart business people who have best latched on to, and utilised, new communication methods have benefitted the most.
It’s time for a group chat to take its place at the ‘top table’.
Read Toby Griffin’s view on accepting imperfection or the problem with zero tolerance.