October 26th, 2009 | 3 Comments
There’s not much cause to be aggravated at the beach on a beautiful day. But, there we were returning from an idyllic walk and I was fuming at the horrible quality of writing in the slick beach magazine.
My wife, a writer, had enough. “I don’t want to hear any more about this. I can sum up why this happens in two words: ‘good enough’.”
Yes, all the happy, non-specific adjectives, the indirect sentences, the lack of any humanity in an article about a small town we know has an interesting history and funny, articulate people, it all came down to that: It’s good enough. Good enough to get real estate, restaurant and curio shop advertising. Good enough for people to thumb through while awaiting fried seafood.
The same could be said for most corporate communication. Most organizations settle for good enough without recognizing what a disservice it is to them, their customers and partners.
The thing with “good enough” is that it invariably has an expiration date. Search engines were good enough until Google; MP3 players before the iPoD; city magazines before The New Yorker; broiled fish before sushi.
The fact that good enough suffices for the vast majority of organizations sets up major opportunities for those who want to go beyond the average. Just a little extra can pay big dividends in how your company is perceived, the amount of trust it receives, and the leeway customers are willing to give if you make a mistake.
Here are eight things you can do to move beyond good enough in your communications.
1. Speak in the language of your customers in all of your communications.
2. Communicate with customers in ways that help them become better; be supportive, absorbing, humorous, perspicacious, technically strong and/or sympathetic.
3. Write and publish case studies that make customers the center of attention.
4. Build solid relationships with editors and writers and deliver good material on deadline.
5. Listen to customers whenever possible – at trade shows, conferences and other events – and reflect their joy, fears and pride in your communication.
6. Support or set up community sites that provide useful information for customers and a forum for sharing experiences and answers to problems.
7. Don’t drink the company kool-aid; look at everything with a critical eye and avoid any whiff of propaganda.
8. Hire proven professionals to write and edit for you; don’t leave your story in the hands of amateurs.
These are just eight out of hundreds of ways, big and small, to transcend good enough. What are some of yours?