With technology becoming a prime way to communicate with the world, it’s allowed for much miscommunication to take place. Unlike a phone call or a face-to-face interaction, a technological miscommunication can happen due to something as simple as a typo, a misinterpreted tone or a confusing message.
Relying on technology to have a conversation leaves out the hugely important body language, tone of voice and privacy of face-to-face meetings. If you’re trying to avoid virtual miscommunication in a world where you’re forced to use technology to interact with your customer base, try these tips to lessen the chance of an issue and increase your customer satisfaction.
Empathize and tone of voice
Be sure to be very intentional in tone and save subtleties for face-to-face meetings. Online, it’s better to assume your customer may misconstrue even the slightest ambiguity. Be empathetic to the person you are speaking to and consider whether there are psychographic or environmental constraints. Consider their position and if you would understand an email from someone like the one you’ve sent them. Avoid casual language and remain professional so that others don’t feel you aren’t taking your responsibilities seriously.
With coworkers, be aware of other communication styles
It’s easy to have miscommunications in the office because you are trying to work with others regularly and offering information while waiting feedback. Preferences, tendencies and past miscommunications should be explained to increase the chance of avoiding issues going forward. While you may feel you express yourself clearly, others may feel differently. Don’t be afraid to be over explanatory.
Be prompt and consider forms of technology in conversation
Always reply to emails, text messages and phone calls promptly. Nobody wants to wait for an answer on business matters, so avoid making them wait for you to make time for them. Consider that there are different modes of technology that you can communicate through. Being mindful of using the right technology for the right circumstances is wise. Don’t send an email on something you need a quick response to and don’t use text message for something serious enough for a face-to-face meeting.
Consider others’ point of view
This is where empathizing comes in again. Sometimes we fool ourselves into thinking that others are in synch with what we’re thinking more so than they really are. Put yourself in their position more by visualizing the office they are sitting in.
If you are new to a team, send your coworkers a photo of your cubicle so that when communication happens in the future, they can better visualize where you are. While we all prefer different types of language during professional communications, whether you prefer a visual, quantitative, anecdote or storytelling type of medium for receiving information, it’s important to express your preferences to those you are working with early on. A curt email may be annoying to some while it may be perfect for another.
Expect problems and avoid being sloppy
While you’re sloppy email will come across to another that you are so busy and important that you don’t have the time for proper emails, it will also slow down production and decrease good communication. Be sure to make the time to respond to emails properly.
Even though you may be taking all of the proper steps to ensure good communication, expect problems to occur. Be open weekly about your issues within your team so that in the future, communication can improve by using different language or mediums of technology.
Use these tips to increase proper communication and avoid virtual miscommunications.