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Communicating for Action – Know Your Audience

 Take a look at this email example – does it look at all familiar?

From: customerexperience@exacttech.com

 

To: everyone@exacttech.com

 

Subject: Really long message with lots of details…

 

Dear Everyone in the Company,

 

This is a message about our Voice of the Customer program that is really critical for some of you, kind of interesting for others, and really just additional stuff to have to sift through for most of the company. In fact, we fully anticipate that a large percentage of our employees delete this email as soon as it arrives, and that by now the rest of you are far enough into the message that another sizeable group has decided they do not care and have stopped reading. Hopefully enough people will read the entire message.

 

There are lots of details to cover, so this message includes everything that could possibly be at least somewhat important for any of the functional areas throughout the company. We have provided background about the project, what we’re doing and why we’re doing it. There is an outline of the process, roles and responsibilities, a detailed schedule and a list of reasons why this is important to each functional group. There is a lot of other stuff too that is included just in case something could come up that would require that you have the information. Chances are that won’t happen, but it’s included anyway.

 

Please read through all of this and try to figure out what is relevant for you. In fact, this is the only communication you will ever receive about this topic so you need to figure out what you need to know to understand our customer strategy and how you can personally improve the customer experience in your position.

 

And so on…..

Ok, maybe my example is a bit extreme, but is it that farfetched? Sometimes a customer experience team will simply send a message to everyone in the organization with all of the information and details included.   Sure, that’s easy. But, a mass message can get lengthy and is typically not as successful as sending a targeted message to a specific group. (If there is too much information or a long list of action items the critical message gets lost.)

We recommend that you focus communications to have the most impact. To do that, you first need to define the audience. Consider the following: 

1.    Who are the potential audiences for this communication?

2.    What are they focused on from a strategic perspective? 

3.    What actions do you hope will result from the communication? 

Understanding what is important to the potential audiences, along with what you really want them to do, can help narrow in on who you need to target.  Going through this process to define the audience is the first step in communicating for action! 

Kitty Radcliff
Vice President, Consulting Services 

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