Internal communications programmes - top tips - Business Works
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Internal communications programmes - top tips

Jeremy Starling, MD, INVOLVE Effective internal communication is essential for the smooth running of your business, both to convey your company culture and values and to stay on top of employee concerns. However, to be most effective it needs to be encouraged from the top down.

Internal communications can take many forms, via an intranet, e-mails, newsletters or message boards, but really it's the issues behind those communications that matter. When senior people understand and prioritise internal communication they will see an impact on the bottom line through the way their employees act.

To give business leaders some insight INVOLVE has conducted a survey which found that projects that relate directly to the customer experience are at the top of Heads of Internal Comms priority list.

Ninety per cent of those surveyed said that delivering better customer service through their projects was in the top three of their priority list and 48 per cent said it was at the very top.

The research implies this is because the senior level support for customer service internal communication projects is high. Everyone surveyed felt they received some support and 86% felt the projects get 'a lot' of support from their CEO or board. And it seems leaders are stumping up reasonable budgets; all respondents received some financial support and half reported they received 'a lot' of financial support for these projects.

When asked who the customer service internal communication programmes were targeted at, all those surveyed said they aimed them at 'everyone' in the business.

"Many of the Heads of Internal Comms we work with have at one time struggled to get enough visibility within their organisation, especially at board level," said Jeremy Starling, MD at INVOLVE. "It's encouraging that the strong focus on customer service standards is raising the profile of Internal Communications as a critical business function, as well as the teams making a difference."

The top three customer service problems internal comms projects are addressing are:

  • Aligning employees with the brand promise (26%)
  • Getting the fundamental customer service skills right eg. listening, responsiveness, problem solving (18%)
  • Instilling the right customer service behaviors (14%)

Jeremy adds, "It's good to see efforts being directed at the right issues. We know that 68% of customers will cancel membership or a service when there is a big difference between what they were promised and what they experience. Finding the best way to involve people with these issues however is often quite challenging, especially if those fundamental skills do not come to them naturally."

"Internal Comms leaders have an opportunity to be really creative in the way they inspire their entire organisation to keep their brand promise. With everyone in the organisation likely to be involved, it is their chance to demonstrate the power of internal communications and the impact it can have on the organisationís bottom line."

"To help Heads of Internal Communication make the most of the senior interest in improving customer service standards, we have put together some ten tips," concluded Jeremy.

  1. Ensure that all key stakeholders are aligned from the very start
  2. Agree SMART objectives, signed off by all the key stakeholders and measure them at several stages
  3. 70% of change programmes fail due to lack of middle management buy-in, so involve this community from the start
  4. Find champions and ambassadors from all levels that can lead the change
  5. Truly involve all your employees to increase buy-in and behavioural change - communicate the 'why' and the 'what', but ask them the 'how'
  6. Face-to-face communication is the most powerful way to create true involvement. It's about emotion not e-mail
  7. Talk to employees in their language, at their level about issues that are important to them. Genuinely listen to their views and feedback - treat them like you would like them to treat your customers
  8. Develop a bespoke creative solution for your business challenge. Off-the-shelf solutions don't work if you are trying to differentiate your business
  9. Create a brand identity that acts as a daily reminder of the programme
  10. Continually recognise and reward success and publicise success stories.

Jeremy Starling is MD at INVOLVE - for more information, please visit:

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