Communication is very important in everyday interaction of persons at the workplace, business and in informal settings. This paper discusses the major modes of communication that are used by humans and dwell on their advantages and disadvantages. Also in this paper is an excerpt on how customer perception is shaped by customer service provision. Assessing different sources that give information on customer requirements and customer loyalty forms the last part of this paper.
a) Evaluation of the different communication methods With Diagrams and also state advantages and disadvantages of each methods (ref. 2.1)
There are three major methods of communication including oral communicating, nonverbal communication and written communication. Oral communication involves speaking and listening, requiring the persons that are using this communication method to have those skills. Nonverbal communication is usually done in the form of body language or tone of voice, and oftentimes reinforces oral communication. The posture or the body language of a person can tell a lot about their disposition about the issue at hand. Sometimes, a person can be talking saying one thing while there body language says the opposite. In such a case, it is their body language that is to be trusted more than the words uttered (Poole, 2007, pp. 181-190). This is because persons have more control over what they compared to their body language. People communicate sing body language or nonverbal communication unconsciously. Written communication has of late become the mainstream form of communication especially for businesses. It requires persons to develop writing and reading skills, which might be challenging to grasp at first. In order to become a good communicator, it is imperative for one to develop good communication skills as illustrated below.
Merits and demerits of oral communication
As mentioned earlier, listening and speaking skills are crucial in order to for oral communication to be effective. It is used in social circles to nurture relationships while business, it can be used to make presentations, conduct interviews, press conferences and even during performance appraisal (Poole, 2007, pp. 181-190). It may take place face to face, using the phone or even teleconferencing. In order for this form of communication to achieve its objectives, the persons participating in it have to be both active listeners and coherent speakers, bale to give each other constructive feedback.
One of the major advantages of oral communication is that it gives room for immediate feedback from the person whom one is communicating with. Face to face conversations afford the communicator the chance to see the nonverbal responses of the recipient and in that way he or she can gauge how the message has been received. It also saves on time and money compared to written communication. Oral communication is flexible, allowing for changes in decisions previously made to be effected (Poole, 2007, pp. 181-190). Oral communication allows for one to correct errors in time and may be used to motivate others easily to take a course of action. Lastly it is easier for the parties involved in oral communication to keep information confidential, as there is no physical evidence such as a document.
The disadvantages of oral communication include the fact that it is considered less formal compared to written communication in business circles. It is hard to preserve messages for the future especially if the dialogue is not recorded. Doing oral communication with persons who are in distant places might require one to use equipment that is expensive to acquire and run. This form of communication is not is not appropriate for passing on lengthy messages, as dome of the information might get lost or distorted in the process. Oral communication holds no legal validity as it has not been saved or documented for future reference in case of a misunderstanding.
Advantages and disadvantages of nonverbal communication
Research done by Meharabian and Wiener suggested that words in a face to face setting, words account for only 7 per cent of the message communicated, while the rest is conveyed by the body language of the participants in a conversation. Advantages of nonverbal communication include the fact that it complements the ideas passed on using oral communication by adding more to their meanings (Kidwell & Hasford, 2014, pp. 526-538). It is useful for people that are handicapped either in hearing or in speech. Nonverbal messages are received and interpreted faster compared to both written and oral messages. This method of communication can be used to simplify complicated pieces of information using graphs, pictures and gestures. In the event that the other forms of communication are hindered, either by too much noise, language barrier or inability to read, nonverbal communication can be useful.
The drawbacks of nonverbal communication include it being vague and imprecise, as there is no agreed on set of gestures attached to a specific meaning. It varies from culture to culture. It is continuous and multichannel, making it hard to control or analyse. It has no agreed on form or structure making it less formal compared to other methods of communication (Kidwell & Hasford, 2014, pp. 526-538). The fact that it varies across cultures makes it easy to have information get distorted.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Written Communication
Among its advantages is the fact that it provides records that can be used for follow up at a later date. It is an inexpensive means of providing the same information to large number of people. When discussing a complicated matter, written communication is the beast and most attractive way to day. This is because it preserves information in its accurate form with little or no chance of distortion (Anon, 2009, pp. 210-211). Written communication can be legally binding due to the presence of evidence in the form of records. This makes it formal compared to the other methods of communication.
Written communication has the disadvantage of not receiving feedback from the recipients unless a reply is required. This leaves the sender of the message in the dark in matters of how the message was received. This form of communication requires persons with writing skills, and these skills are hard and expensive to develop. This method of communication is time consuming and very hard to keep it confidential due to the evidence that is available in the form of a document.
b) Analysis and explain the influence of customer perception by customer service provision (ref. 2.2)
Customer perception refers to the feelings, impressions or opinions of a consumer towards a particular company and its products. These biases are formed as a result of personal interaction with the company, public relations, words of mouth from friends and the marketing carried out by a firm (Han & Ryu, 2009, p. 488). Customer service provision refers to the actions taken by a firm to ensure that the expectations of the customers are fully met. These actions include services that are given to the customer before, during and after purchase of a good or service (Moeller, 2008, p. 206). Meeting and possibly exceeding the expectations of the customers put the firm in their good books and enhances the reputation of the firm in their eyes. It contributes to positive customer perception.
The goal of every company is to enhance its consumer perception. This is why much emphasis is put on customer service provision. It is also recognised by the management that the employees have to be motivated in order to enhance the services offered to the customers. Employees that are dissatisfied with their jobs are not likely to treat the customers well. Hence the management of firms should identify the possible grievances that their employees might be harbouring, these are then taken care of in the expectation that happier employees will result in better service given to the clients (Moeller, 2008, p. 197-210). The quest for positive customer perception therefore matters the very core of the firm, and they do this by bettering their customer service provision.
c) Assessment of sources of information on customer requirements and satisfaction levels (ref 3.1)
Dieste et al. (2008, pp. 11-13) urge firms to always ensure that they elicit the requirements of their targeted consumers in the market before coming up with new product. They allude to software they had developed to help scientists with research without consulting the end users. The result was a disaster, and the software had to be recoded. Firms are encouraged to talk to the would-be clients using informal interviews in order to pinpoint their needs. This makes it easier for them to satisfy the needs of the customers. Bond and Fink (2001, pp. 26-31) state that ISO 9000 standard body requires organisation to monitor information relating to customer perception, as it is positively correlated to the fulfilment of the customer requirements. In addition to the information on customer perception, the ISO 9000 body made a revision in 2000 requiring all firms to start monitoring the level of customer satisfaction derived from their goods and services (Bond & Fink, 2001, pp. 26-31).
Furthermore, Bond and Fink have established four crucial steps that can be used to make the process of monitoring customer satisfaction easier. The first step is the identification of critical-to-quality customer satisfaction factors. The next step is determination of the importance of each of the identified factors to the customers. This is followed by generation of firm performance ratings and finally identifying the measures to be taken to improve the customer satisfaction (Bond & Fink, 2001, pp. 26-31). Bennett and Rundle-Tiele are of the opinion that customer satisfaction is overrated, especially in the services industry (2004, pp. 514-523). They further prove empirically that customer satisfaction does not necessarily result in customer loyalty, as many business firms have been led to believe. The results derived from their research on a sample of 267 companies reveal that customer satisfaction and loyalty are different constructs. They have a positive relationship, but higher levels of customer satisfaction do not necessarily lead to higher levels of loyalty. The responsibility of ensuring customer satisfaction is often left to the marketing managers of most firms. This is unfair, as satisfaction of the clients is often determined by the quality of goods and services provided. Therefore, this should be collaboration between the marketing and quality management of the firm (Bond & Fink, 2005, pp. 204-216).
In conclusion it is clear that nonverbal communication is the least understood and hardest to control of the three major methods of communication. Customer service provision is concerned with fulfilling the expectations of the consumers without failure. Good customer service leads to a positive customer perception and opposite is true. Customer requirements should be investigated by any firm that is planning to launch a product or service. Once the requirements are met, customer satisfaction is inevitable. It was however, unsettling to realise that customer satisfaction may not necessarily translate into loyalty.
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