THE THREE KEYS SUCCESS OF COMMUNICATION PRACTITIONERS
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is a very important part for every business. Have you ever wondered why this company/business is more successful than others? I believe the question is not so difficult to answer. It is all about how to build and maintain the good relationship and satisfy your clients’ needs. In addition, once you can effective utilize this model, it leads to increase your sales or at least maintain stability in revenue (ForicomIT 2013).
In a sunny afternoon, I had an appointment with Mr. Bui Viet Ha who is the founder and CEO of Green Life organization. He worked for many companies and now is running his own organization. Despite of tight schedule of work, he still tries to take some time to contribute in my paper. I would like to say thank you to Mr. Bui Viet Ha for supporting me in my project. With 4 years’ experience in marketing industry, he shared with me many examples to clarify my questions about the topic. He said: “As a client/customer, we always expect the best and good services. Therefore, we also have to understand the clients and do the best for them”. He explained, being a bridge between clients and the company is very hard because different clients have their own criteria about the work. Maintaining and building long-term relationship with them are much more difficult. It takes time and effort. Then he showed me 3 tips to reach the goal.
Emphasize trust by ethical behavior
Trevino and Nelson (2007) stated that the fundamental core of employees and organizations is ethics. Therefore, an agency should practice ethical behavior inside out to shape a solid mind set. There might be no reward from doing right thing. However, “As human being, we should care enough about people because we also want them to treat us as the way we treat them”, Mr. Ha said. In fact, the commitment, solidarity and satisfaction can bring by high quality of ethical behavior. In contrast, unethical practices damage company’s reputation. The relation between ethical and reputation is very close; it explains why this behavior is very important for companies and individuals (Ha 2013)
(Figure 1. Reproduced form: Ethical Framework)
If there are some unethical practice which represent by members of company, the agency lose its reputation and clients’ belief. He explained the fundamental role of our work is to protect integrity and the public trust to enhance the reputation. Many years ago, when he was working for IKEA, there was a difficult decision of cutting off a big client when they were attempting to influence his company to against other clients. To maintain the reputation of trust and moral standard, ethical behaviors are needed even saying “NO” to clients. In addition, talking about communication industry which includes PR and advertising, he stated, people are lack of knowledge about the industry. They assume it with journalist or sales. Therefore, they have some misunderstanding about the job. People said that the industry teaches practitioners to tell lies and cover mistakes. Therefore, they would never believe in what communication practitioners say. Thus, we cannot drive that thought. In fact, we did not intend to do so. Johnson and Ridley (2008) cited that the most important element of professionals is ethics. Thus, every company has its own Code of Conduct which guide employees and measure the behaviors of its staff. Also, workshops and trainings are offers to enhance our knowledge as well as motivate our moral standard. Therefore, it is fair to say that the industry make people life more comfortable and convenient when serving new products and services.
Get to know your client’s business
Understanding your clients helps build and maintain good relationship with them (Ipsos MORI 2009). Clients’ information can be collected by clients’ profiles, previous client’s data, personal meetings, etc. Ha pointed out some reasons that emphasize the important of doing this step. Firstly, collecting information from clients can help to improve your products and services. Based on the information, your current and future activities will somehow enhance to fulfill clients’ needs. By the way, you achieve your goal and your clients get what they expect. Therefore, win-win relationship is built. Secondly, clients can tell you things that you do not know. Actually, not every clients give comments about this. They just tell their friends about their bad experiences. Ha emphasized that personally he does not talk directly to the manager when using bad services. Even though there is a suggestion box to collect customer’s feedback, he never uses it. He suggested: “Clients might tell your mistakes through performing your enthusiastic and proactive in consulting with them”. Mostly important, if you want to win client-agency relationship, you have to listen more than talk (Solomon 2008). As a communicator, we would like to hear the opinions and feedback from client. However, effective communication comes from two-way discussion. Mr. Ha stated that discussions and questions are needed, based on that, we have more understanding about our clients and they also get to know more about us.
(Figure 2. Reproduced from: Liez 2013)
Love needs compromise and mutual understanding to blossom. Client-agency relationship is the same. The fundamental factor of a strong relationship is respect (Crosling 2008). In business context, respect means to control your emotional behavior when the conversation leads to conflicts. Also, it means carefully listen and effectively respond to clients’ concerns, said Mr. Ha. For example, when the disagreement occurs, it is better to control your personal emotion to have a calmly discussion about the issue. If you and your partner/client cannot make the same decision, take some time to think and walk away from the situation and come back with appropriate and professional performance. Fripp (2003) believes that individuals in the company are the face of the business/organization. Moreover, Mr. Ha emphasized not only your business but also your personal brand is displayed through your actions. Therefore, the relationship is built or destroyed based on your performance. Furthermore, even though people do not know each other or do not have close relationship, a respect environment encourages sharing opinions and experiences between parties. For communication practitioner, it is a very helpful tool. Therefore, you have to make sure that you behave in a dignified way and gain positive criteria from clients.
After going through the three points, they share same perspective of being honesty and integrity. On the other hand, the tips can be different form each person. However, it emphasizes the same goal of producing and serving better products or services. Building and maintain good relationships with clients is a long process. “It is hard to build but easy to destroy”, Mr. Ha said, “Always put your client’s benefits in the top of mind and see what you get back”, he smiled.
Written by Nguyen Thi Hong Thuy (s3312596)
Crosling, R 2008, Building Highly Effective Relationship, viewed 3 September, <http://ebookbrowsee.net/build-ing-highly-effective-relationships-4-1-pdf-d47232190>.
Ethical Frameworks, ‘What is ethics?’, ethical framework, image, viewed 5 September 2013, <http://ethicalframeworks.wikispaces.com/What+are+Ethics%3F>
Ipsos MORI 2009, Understanding your stakeholders: A best practice guide for the public sector, Social Research Institute, London.
Fripp, P2013, ‘Everyone Represents Your Company’, Fripp, viewed 3 September 2013, < http://www.fripp.com/blog/everyone-represents-your-company/>
ForicomIT 2013, ‘CRM – The importance of Customer Relationship Management’, Foricomit, 2 January, viewed 5 September 2013, <http://www.foricomit.com/2013/01/02/crm-the-importance-of-customer-relationship-management/>
Johnson, CE 2007, Ethics in the workplace, Sage Publications, USA.
Liez, K 2013, ‘How to Tell Your Clients Their Mistakes’, image, naldzgraphic, viewed 5 September 2013, <http://naldzgraphics.net/tips/client-mistake-tell/>
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Trevino, LK &Nelson KA 2007, Managing Business Ethics, 4th edn, John Wiley & Sons, USA.
Viet Ha, Bui 2013, interview, 20 September 2013.