Remote work and its dependence on digital engagement have changed the way we communicate with customers and with our teams. Add to this the sheer hours we now spend in online meetings, the stress of living through a pandemic, and the stress of living, working and schooling from one place – we need to give a lot more thought to how we manage conflict, digitally.
Listen to Pavlo Phitidis discuss this on The Money Show on 702 & CapeTalk:
Customer conflict resolution
Pavlo described a personal experience he’s had through the lockdown, as his computer had an actual meltdown, necessitating the purchase of a new one. The first one froze repeatedly in the first week, and was replaced with another within a few days. The second one had the exact same fault, and a quick search revealed that customers across the globe have experienced this same issue. However, Pavlo had to chase repeatedly to secure a meeting with a complaint resolution manager who then refused to switch on her camera for the meeting, and left him with no resolution whatsoever.
This is generally our experience of dealing with big corporates – we have to invest our time energy and resources to secure an engagement, and even more time, energy and resources to achieve the outcome we believe we have earned.
As business owners of small and medium sized businesses we have an opportunity to compete and win on conflict resolution, and understanding how to get it right, online is necessary for a social distancing world.
Using Pavlo’s recent experience, there are 2 immediate lessons to be taken:
Team conflict resolution
Pavlo shared an example of an operations manager who, instead of speaking one-on-one to a team member who had done something incorrectly, chose to write an email, copying in the whole team of 8 members.
This email made its way into 8 homes, where 8 frazzled individuals had been working tirelessly through lockdown, often while homeschooling and homekeeping, during these stressful times. The impact of a negative email like this affected the whole team badly, not just the individual it was intended for.
In an office environment it would have been resolved in a 2 minute chat, but on email it created more strife than the underlying issue was worth.
Pavlo recommends restructuring team engagements, understanding the different types of communication that are necessary:
Why no email?
Emails are easily misunderstood, there’s a gap that doesn’t convey humour or sarcasm.
There’s also the issue of copying in – both up and down the hierarchy. Pavlo notes that ‘CC’ indicates that the team has lost the ability to communicate – it says ‘I need help because I’m not being heard, I’m not being obeyed, and I need your intervention to resolve this.’
If you’re struggling to get your communication strategy right in an online world, contact us.