Communication And Customer Relations CCP Notes

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TOPIC 1

INTRODUCTION TO COMMUNICATION

Meaning of communication

Communication is an act of any natural or artificial means of conveying information or giving instruction.  It’s the process of passing information and understanding from one person to the other.

According to Newman and Summer

Communication is an exchange of facts, ideas, opinions or emotions by two or more persons.

 According to Peter Little

Communication is process by which information is transmitted between individuals/organization so that understanding response results.

It’s giving, receiving or exchange of information, opinions, or ideas by writing speech or visual means or any combination of the three so that the material communicated is completely understood by everyone concerned.

 Administrative communication

Administrative communication is a process involving the transmission and accurate replication of ideas ensured by feedback for purpose of eliciting actions which will accomplish organizational goals.

 Analysis

This definition has emphasized the following points;-

  • It involves the communication of ideas.
  • Ideas should be accurately replicated. The receiver should get exactly the same ideas as were transmitted.
  • Transmitter is assured of accurate replication of ideas by feedback.
  • Purpose of communication is to elicit action.

This definition can be expanded to include emotions.

The purpose of communication is not always to elicit action it may also include communication to seek information or to persuade other person to a certain point of view.

 Main aspect of communication

  • Communication must have a source (sender)
  • Communication must have content (message)
  • Communication must have a media
  • Communication must have a destination: i.e. recipient
  • Communication must have a feedback.

Importance of communication

  • Communication can be described as the life blood of the business
  • No business can develop in the absence of effective external and internal communication.
  • Communication is a vital tool of management.
  • One of the major functions of an office is communication. This involves receiving, recording, processing of information and communicating the information two various functions of the organizations.

Importance of communication can be discussed under two points of view.

  • Internal communication
  • External communication.

Importance of internal communication

Internal communication refers to exchange of information or message between persons of same organization, e.g. between employer and employee.

  • Better understanding between employer and employees.

If complaints of employees are forwarded to employer on time and in the right way it will minimize the chances of misunderstanding.

  • Greater efficiency.

The sound communication system enables the management to instruct the supervisions and subordinates on changes of policy – this results to the increase in efficiency of workers.

  • Effective co-ordination:

Effective communication leads to effective co-ordination of employees e.g if demand increase the marketing department will inform the production department to increase its production.

  • Proper communication avoids losses:

If there is a machine breakdown or shortage the management can be informed quickly to take timely action to avoid any possible losses.

External communication.

This refers to exchange of information between an organization and other organizations or persons outside the organization.

The following facts indicate the importance of external communication.

  • Good reputation

Effective communication with customers and either business enables company establish good reputation this increases prestige of that company.

  • Improvement in public relations

When a company communicates with general public to keep them informed of its activities more people become interested to deal with that company.

  • Better business prospects

Due to good communication the company can abstract more customers.

  • Choice of customers

A company can get information about the liking and disliking of customers. This information will help company produce goods according to the choice of customers.

  • Government department

The business will deal with licensing authorities, foreign trade offices, custom authorities, banks and other financial institutions. All these institutions require good communication when negotiating.

  • Job requirements

Most jobs require communication skills such as personnel public relations, marketing, editing, research, advocates, etc.

Executives are expected to make speeches they are expected to give interviews to media. All these require communication skill.

 

Similarities between internal and external communication

  • External and Internal communication, both influences the growth and productivity of an organization.
  • Thinking carefully and designing the message that to be transferred is required for both the means of communication.
  • Multiple channels and media can be utilized for effective communication.
  • The conversation takes place not one-way communication.
  • Regular feedback and changes are proposed to develop the organization.

Good communication skills are highly important to convey the message properly and maintain communication consistently.

 Key differences between internal and external communication

  • Audiences are different comparatively in internal and external communication.
  • Internal communication can be formal or informal but external communication is always formal and well documented.
  • Internal communication is purely to transfer messages but external communication focuses on some other elements too, such as advertisement, maintaining relationships with customers.
  • Both external and internal communications are regular but the occurrence of internal communication is higher than external communication.
  • Internal communication covers only organization but external communication covers the whole business environment.
  • Various modes of communication can be seen in both, but mostly preferred modes are different in internal and external communication.

 

Role of communication in an organisation

  • Communication promotes motivation by informing and clarifying the employees about the task to be done, the manner they are performing the task, and how to improve their performance if it is not up to the mark.
  • Communication is a source of information to the organizational members for decision-making process as it helps identifying and assessing alternative course of actions.
  • Communication also plays a crucial role in altering individual’s attitudes, i.e., a well-informed individual will have better attitude than a less-informed individual. Organizational magazines, journals, meetings and various other forms of oral and written communication help in moulding employee’s attitudes.
  • Communication also helps in socializing. In today’s life the only presence of another individual fosters communication. It is also said that one cannot survive without communication.
  • Communication also assists in controlling process. It helps controlling organizational member’s behaviour in various ways. There are various levels of hierarchy and certain principles and guidelines that employees must follow in an organization. They must comply with organizational policies, perform their job role efficiently and communicate any work problem and grievance to their superiors. Thus, communication helps in controlling function of management.

 

Elements of communication

  • Motivation

This is the basic urge beneath the communication. It is the wider reason why communication takes place. e.g. in a company the urge to communication is to ensure that this year’s profits are higher than last years.

  • The aim

This is the more particular reason why communication has been under taken. The aim of communication can be: to inform to warn or to initiate a particular action

  • Information:

Is the material from which communication would be constructed. The actual content to put across to the listener or reader. An information doesn’t need to be factual it can be an opinion, an idea or combination of ideas and opinions

  • The sender

This is the person responsible for sending the communication it can be an individual or a group such as a company, a department, a government ministry etc.

  • The message: after defining the information to be conveyed, the sender puts this into the best form in a process called encoding. When information has been encoded it is referred to as a message. A message takes the form of a letter, a memo, telephone call, or a shrug of shoulders.
  • The media

This is a larger group of ways of communication within which particular ways of communication can be classified. There are three main media.

  • Written communication e.g. letters, memo, books, posters
  • Oral communication: this is communication using word of mouth e.g meetings, lectures, telephones or discussions.
  • Visual communication: it takes the form of photographs, blackboards etc.

In addition to these three media we also have non-verbal communication that is combination of gestures, expressions, tone of voice, position, posture, etc.

  • The channel:

This the physical means by which message is conveyed for written communication channel may be notice board, postal office.

For oral communication, it may be personal interview, committee meeting, or public telephone call.

For visual communication, the channel may be computer printer, fax system or printing press.

  • The receiver:

Is the person or body which receives the message.

It can be an individual or an organization.

  • The noise:

Noise is used to refer to any factors which prevent proper exchange of information apart from that from the sender or receiver. Noise can be physical e.g. typewriters or the telephone bells which interrupt meetings, or it can be some other form of interference such as bad telephone connections, poor handwriting in letter, conflicting messages, e.g. in oral communication the visual expression conveys a difference message from that being given orally.

  • Distortion:

Takes place at the encoding or decoding stage. During encoding the sender may encode the message in such a way that it conveys a different meaning from that he or she intended to give. During decoding the receiver may interpret the message in a different way from that intended by the sender. This may lead to distortion of the message.

  • Feedback:

This is the name given to the message which the sender receives from the receiver to show the acceptance or disapproval of message, such a smile 

OBJECTIVES OF COMMUNICATION

  • To inform

One of most important objectives of communication is passing and receiving information about of particular fact of circumstance.

An organization can inform consumers about its products, availability of credit, availability of raw materials, or about government rules and regulations.

It can also communicate to inform staff about the latest development in the field of science and technology.

Within the organization you can inform employees about job assignments, or inform them of general information on policies and activities of organization.

  • To advice

Information is factual and objective, advice on the other hand involve personal opinions. It is subjective and neutral.

When advice is given to person he /she may use it or decide not to use it. An advice is aimed at influencing the opinion or behaviour of another person.

Advice flows downwards or horizontally, e.g. from a doctor to patient and not vice versa.

  • To order

An order is an authoritative communication; it is a directive to somebody (subordinate) to do something to modify or not to do something.

Orders flow from top to bottom.

  • To suggested (make suggestion)

A suggestion is different from other forms of communication. In other forms it flows from superiors to subordinates but, a Suggestion may flow from subordinate to superior. A suggestion is mild or subtle and it moves in all directions.

  • To persuade

This is communication aimed at influencing the attitudes, feelings or beliefs of others.

  • To Educate

Education is a conscious process of communication. It involves teaching and learning, its main purpose is to widen knowledge and improve skills.

  • To warn someone

If employees don’t abide by the rules of the organization they will be warned.

  • Raise the morale.

Morale-stands for mental health.

It’s a powerful factor representing the sum of many qualities such as courage fortitude, resolution and confidence.

  • To motivate

Motivation is very close to rising of miracle. It means to energize and activate a person and challenge his or her behaviour towards the attainment of desired goals.

Effects of poor communication

  • Confusion
  • Mistakes
  • Wastage
  • Accidents
  • Frustrations
  • Low morale and lack of motivation
  • Strikes and unrest
  • Poor transfer of information
  • Feeling of dissatisfactions

 

The purpose of communication in business

  • Inform others and being informed
  • Evaluating an organizations input & output
  • Directing others and being directed
  • Influencing others and being influenced
  • Integrating management functions.
  • Facilitating internal and external communications.

 

The importance of communication

  • Better performance
  • Efficiency and timely delivery
  • Improved customers relations
  • Creation of better business prospective
  • Better management
  • Harmony among employment
  • Coordination
  • Proper resource utilization
  • Building of business reputation

Areas of emphasis when defining communication

  • The process of communication involves communication of ideas.
  • The ideas should be accurately replicated ie .reproduced in the receiver’s mind.
  • The transmitter is assured of the accurate replication of ideas by feedback.
  • The purpose of any communication is to elicit action.

Note:

  • The above definition covers almost all aspects of communication but should also include two important aspects
  1. The concept of idea should be adequately enlarged to include.
  2. Even in the administrative communication the purpose may not always be to elicit action but to
    • Seeking information
    • Persuading others etc.
  • All communication has to be originated produced, transmitted, received and understood.
  • The main aspects of communication which need to be considered are;
  • The source of communication i.e… the message – (sender)
  • The contents of communication is produced eg dictation – (Message)
  • The method of transmission e.g… faxing (channel)
  • The process involved in receiving e.g… mail handling
  • The destination of the communication i.e.recipient. (receiver)
  • The understanding of the communication (feedback)
  • We can therefore conclude that communication exists when,
  1. there is a person ( a sender or transmitter) desirous of passing on some information
  2. There is another person (receiver) to whom the information is to be passed on.
  • The receiver partly or wholly understands the message passed on to him (message)
  • The receiver responds to the message ( feedback )

 

Forms of communication in a business   venture

With Customers

  • Most of the communication with customers is one way i.e… through;
  • Advertisements
  • Direct mail
  • Sales promotions etc
    • One can experience a two way communication with customers when;
      • There is physical contact with customers
      • Telesales
      • Questionnaires
      • Taking orders or deliveries
      • Dealing with complaints

With Staff

  • communicating with staff occurs when
  • Delegating tasks
  • Appraising performances
  • Resolving grievances EST

.Communicating with supplier

  • Placing orders
  • Dealing with returns outwards/ or replacements
  • Dealing with payments
  • Accounts reconciliation (creditors)

Communicating with owners

  • Annual reports –AGM
  • Monthly or weekly returns for small organization.

Communicating with the community

  • Involvement in various projects i.e… community projects
  • Environmental issues
  • Marketing activities
  • Employment issues.

Forms of communication in a business   venture

With Customers

  • Most of the communication with customers is one way i.e… through;
  1. advertisements
  2. direct mail
  • sales promotions etc
    • one can experience a two way communication with customers when;
      1. there is physical contact with customers
      2. telesales
  • questionnaires
  1. taking orders or deliveries
  2. dealing with complaints

 

With Staff

  • communicating with staff occurs when
  • delegating tasks
  • appraising performances
  • Resolving grievances EST

.Communicating with supplier

  • placing orders
  • dealing with returns outwards/ or replacements
  • dealing with payments
  • accounts reconciliation (creditors)

 

Communicating with owners

  1. Annual reports –AGM
  2. Monthly or weekly returns for small organization.

Communicating with the community

  • Involvement in various projects i.e… community projects
  • environmental issues
  • marketing activities
  • Employment issues.

 

The importance of effective communication in business

 Set up and establishment of a business

  • Communication maybe described as the lifeblood of business. No business can develop in the absence of effective internal and external communication.

Management

  • Communication is a vital tool of management the potentials of communication as a management too are so great and include.
    • Favorable dealing with outside companies
    • Effective relationships within an organization
    • Conducting effectively the functions of the organization
    • Controlling and coordination in order to meet the organizational goals and objectives
    • Maintaining external relationships with customers and suppliers

 

Organization Structure

The structure of the organization and delegation/ consultancy

  • The leadership style of management adopted by the organization will have significant impact on the amount and effectiveness of the communication.
  • A democratic style of leadership involves junior people in the organizational decision making process to varying degrees, this requires a two-way communication for the structure to be effective
  • Organizations with autocratic leaders are likely to have less communication and much of it one way I.e…Downward communication.

 

Motivation

  • Motivation techniques have changed in the recent years. Although money is still perceived as a chief motivator, non-financial methods have taken over and relate to communications & job design
  • Effective communication is currently the chief motivator and generates excellent relationship between employers and employees.

 

Decision making

  • Communication in an organization not only receives records and processes information but also communicates this information to management to enable the management make effective and timely decisions with regard to, directing controlling and coordinating the activities of the organization.

 

Implementation of change

  • Effective communication is an essential element of business success. It enables change implementation encourages and develops commitment to the business from employees at all levels within the organization.

Appointment and promotion of employees

  • Through communication the right staff can be solicited for and facilitate development of promotional policies in an organization.

Communication to the outside.

  • Effective communication enables the organization creates good link with stake holders, the media &suppliers generating related benefits.
  • Access to relevant information is possible to allow proper planning, prioritizations, co-ordination and controlling.

 

The benefits of effective communication with stake holders

The suppliers

  • Through communication prompt supply can be achieved increasing profitability in production.
  • Good communication increases efficiency and effective delivery of support services e.g… Credit facilities and good will.
  • Any differences or misunderstanding can be sorted effectively and satisfactory on each party.

The customers

  • Communication facilitates understanding of;
  • Customers needs and satisfaction level
  • Product quality based on feed backs
  • Distribution channels which meet requirements
  • Pricing decisions
  • Packaging requirements
  • Segmentation requirements.

 Employees

  • Good communication facilitates
  • motivation in the working environment
  • high level performance
  • minimization of wastage
  • Meeting targets and organization goals.

General public

  • Good communication creates
  • Awareness of social changes
  • Environment of recruiting quality staff
  • Achieving profitable sales
  • Creating good will of the business through community project participation

Other stake holders

  • communication enhances other relationships of other stakeholders such as;
  • Competitors
  • Other business companies e.g… insurance companies
  • The government departmental
  • Financial institution

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