What Influences Consumer Behaviour?
A business is dependent on its customers for its success; a customer is the most important thing that a business can have. But sometimes consumers tend to act rather weirdly, they tend not to respond to the occurrence and efforts put across by a business. The most important thing that will always capture the attention of customers and retain them is how well a business can communicate to customers. There is a language that should be adopted when communicating with a customer at any one time. This is one of the areas that communication should be polished to ensure that the intended information reaches the customer (Jashapara, 2004).
Communicating to customers does not only take the form of one on one communication. It extends to nonverbal communication. I have learned that other than the interaction that customers have with a company, all the activities that a business does are forms of communication that are interpolated in different ways by customers. These activities include quality of goods made, involvement in social corporate responsibility among others. Just as human beings have body language, there is a “body language “of companies and businesses (Neal and Quester, 2006). An effective manager should be at the forefront in leading his organization in a direction that gives the correct signals (information to the consumers).
The language used in business communication is another area I have noted to be of great concern. Different customers understand differently and thus the kind of language used should be different. For instance, if one is talking to young people, he should ensure that the language fits that group. There is also the issue of “Professional Writing and Rhetoric writing”. I have realized that for effective business communication, a good command of English must be observed (Carroll, 1956).
Why do people tend to work as a group on a certain move for example in times of fashion? During my twelve weeks, I got an in-depth understanding of human behavior, this was more in a book written by Gladwell, “The Tipping point”. The idea in the book tries to explain why human beings behave rather differently at different times but have the same wave of conduct at that particular time.
The questions that the book tries to answer is why do people tend to have similar actions over a certain period; for example, why do certain fashion prevail in a certain period then it just goes away, nobody communicates that this is the fashion now, and let’s stop putting this now, what happens is that human beings act unconsciously and change their behavior. To elucidate this I have learned three different explanations; the concepts that human behavior or actions are contagious like diseases. These are thought to be more contagious than diseases.
The second explanation portrays every little change that we undertake to have a large influence. By this, it means that in case of a change, the entire population is not called to change but a portion of it (which may be referred to as the opinion leader’s potion) only needs to change and others will follow. The third point and it is the one that forms the heart of the book is the tipping point aspect. In this, the author says that every behavior or a certain action gradually builds itself which no much attention being given to it up to a certain point that at one dramatic point the need to reverse the trend is needed immediately (Gladwell 3-234).
Effective Communication to Customers
Not everyone can understand what a banker, an engineer, or an auditor writes, and therefore there is a need to simplify their works, for the general good of the non-technical reader. It is paramount when the human touch is put in writing and concentration on emotional appeal, moral character, and reasoned discourse. These values are translated from the writer to the actual consumer of the message on the other end and bring about a mutual understanding.
A seasoned writer of technical work/professional writer knows that unless it is packaged nicely, it would be useless, for the meaning deduced would not be the meaning intended. It is, therefore, necessary that rhetoric, which is a persuasive way of communication, be included while writing technical work. The concentration is put on the delivery of the message, memory, invention, the arrangement of text, and the style used to bring the two minds together as proposed by rhetoric proponents (Miller, 1985).
What is Effective Communication?
An effective communication strategy should be prepared to be proactive. This is a plan that is prepared after defining a business’s success and getting a solution from the listening activities. Things to be included in the plan includes: taking employees to seminars that cover topics such as customer care, organizing get together between employers and employees, rewarding employees, holding regular meetings, including major stakeholders in a business decision, assurance to personal service, among others. This plan does not concentrate on solving past troubles but on laying down a good foundation that guarantees business future success.
A communication plan should take into consideration the availability of resources and whether the business aims at a long term or short term objective. Once a communication plan has been prepared, the company now focuses on its implementation. The expected result should be kept in mind and the main constituent of the plan reviewed to make sure they are in line with the expected result. The implementation process should involve as many people as possible but it should have one person who is answerable to it.
Effective Message Strategy
An example of an effective message strategy that can be used by companies would be a sound bite. Sound bites are brief statements that clearly state the aims, purpose, or nature of a certain product or service. They are taken from an interview of a person with authority such as a chief executive officer, a director, or a marketing manager of a certain company. Sound bites are considered to be the most important point from the interview by the people responsible for editing it and they are inserted into the news broadcast (Whitaker et al 2004). For them to be effective they must use vivid and self-motivated language, be brief and clear, outstanding, and easy to repeat.
How Does Organizational Culture Affect Communication?
Organizational culture is complex with varied definitions. It includes custom, knowledge, belief, morals, and personal capabilities. Examples of variables that can shape an organizational culture are value, gender, norms, and morals which are held by the organization members. Values are the basic principles that make up organizational culture. Scholars argue that it is likely that one can scrutinize the values that are apprehended in a particular organizational culture and make some modifications. In most cases organizational values are stable and many people disagree with the fact that such values can be changed (Plessis, 2006).
Every organization holds different views when it comes to gender. Some view that men should be given more responsibilities than women while others believe that men should be paid more than women. Norms are the accepted social rules that guide the behavior of a certain group of people in a particular situation. It is the corporate responsibility of organization executives to possess as well as exercise the ability to shape organizational morals to make the organizational culture effective. When dispensing certain information, one should keep in mind how the information is going to be absorbed in the larger group. It can hinder or enhance communication (Black, 2003).
Barriers to Communication
The first step in successful business communication is to identify the communication weaknesses in a business. This can be through brainstorming where challenges facing the business can be identified. Such challenges can be obtained by reviewing the day to day activities of the business (Guffer & Almonte, 2009).
Some questions may serve as a guideline, these include: – Have employees been provided with a good working environment? Are they happy with what they are doing? Has the business been able to satisfy all the clients? Is proper information provided to all stakeholders? Is there a good flow of conversations? Four communication weaknesses or barriers at Staples are an overload of messages, failure to share information among major stakeholders, failure to include employees in decision-making processes, and personal attributes (Harvard Business School, 2002).
Employees are given many instructions and they are not given room to practice them nor to show their expertise. Communication means more than just giving out messages; it involves speaking, listening, sending, and receiving messages (Guffey et al 2009). In communication, listening is the key to success and most of the time listening gets people into problems because they do not practice it. For business communication to be successful, listening has to be proficient.
Listening simply means holding back one’s judgment and allowing answers to come from outside. This is not the case in staples where the managers decide what to do instead of receiving views from the other members of staff. Sharing of important information is poorly done and most of the time it is withheld from the staff. The top managers at Staples hold different ideas and views concerning the development of the organization which may be influenced by their knowledge and culture (Faigley, 1985).
Business communication is vital for business success. For communication to be effective it should embrace good relationships with major stakeholders of a business. One has to establish the weakness in business communication, address these weaknesses, and allow room for listening; I would advise. Communication is an ongoing process that should be embraced at any one time. It should be re-valued with the shortest intervals possible.
Black, R. (2003). Organisational Culture: Creating the Influence Needed for Strategic Success. Boston: Universal publishers.
Carroll, J. (1956). Language thought and reality. The M.I.T. Press; Massachusetts.
Faigley, L. (1985). Non-academic Writing: The Social Perspective. New York: Guilford Press.
Gladwell, M. (2006). The Tipping Point. New York: Little, Brown.
Guffer, M. E. & Almonte, R. (2009). Essentials of Business Communication. New York: Cengage Learning.
Guffey, et al., (2009). Business Communication: Process and Product. New York: Cengage Learning.
Harvard Business School (2002). Jeanne Lewis at Staples, Inc. (A) (Abridged). New York: The McGraw-Hill Companies.
Jashapara, A. (2004). Knowledge management: an integrated approach. Washington: Financial Times Prentice Hall.
Miller, C. (1985). Invention in Technical and Scientific Discourse: A perspective survey, in Research in Technical Communication. Connecticut: Greenwood Press.
Neal, C. and Quester, P. (2006). Consumer behaviour: implications for marketing strategy. McGraw-Hill Australia.
Plessis, M. (2006). The impact of organizational culture on knowledge management. Indiana: Chandos.
Whitaker, R. et al., (2004). Media writing: print, broadcast, and public relations. New York: Routledge.