A wrong medium or an inappropriate medium chosen for communicating a message will act as a barrier to communication. On a shop floor, you cannot use a long written memo of instructions whereas your information on a new product in the market could be only through an effective and attractive advertisement.
Complementing one medium of communication with another appropriately can help overcome communication barrier caused by the medium chosen. An oral reminder in person or over the telephone followed up with a written letter can easily produce the desired response or expected reaction.
Furthermore, through the wrong choice of communication media, For example, two people are interacting, and suddenly one starts to use jargons, this will create a barrier to the receiver of the message because he/she might not know the meaning of those words. The same goes with texting on the phone or sending an email, people always use abbreviations, and this always lead to miscommunication.
Most of us desire to communicate effectively, but do not have a keen appreciation of the communication barriers to be faced. Because of these barriers, there is ample opportunity for something to go wrong in any communication. Competent managers develop an awareness of the barriers and learn to cope with them.
How effectively does it happen as a manager, communicate with your superiors, subordinates, and peers? Do you recognize the barriers to effective communication? Have you learned to cope with them? In the discussion that follows, the principal barriers to communicating effectively in today’s working environment are identified, and proven techniques for coping with them are considered,
The principal barriers to effective communication are: noise, poor feedback, selection of inappropriate media, a wrong mental attitude, insufficient or lack of attention to work selection, delay in message transmittal, physical separation of the sender and receiver, and lack of empathy or a good relationship between the sender and receiver.
FACTORS THAT DETERMINE OVERCOMING INCORRECT CHOICE OF MEDIUM.
1. AGE: Many companies decide channel split by looking at customer demographics, particularly age. Lots of research in terms of using social media and real-time messaging such as web chat and text. And there’s a belief in many circles that the older Baby Boomer generation has a stereotyped preference for talking on the phone compared to newer digital channels. While those in the middle – Generation X – are happy using the phone and email but perhaps still not totally comfortable with real-time messaging. This is a definite factor in choice, but not the only one.
2. CONTEXT: In an emergency where we need a fast answer, we pick up the phone, irrespective of our demographic group. However, if you are then told you’ll be on hold for 15 minutes and chat is available, you may hang up and switch to this channel. In contrast, for less time-critical interactions sending an email provides the security, therefore companies need to look at why consumers are contacting them, particularly how urgent their query is, when balancing resources between channels.
3. PERSONALITY: Another perspective is to examine how the personality types of customers might drive their preferences for customer service channels. Extroverts, with confident and outgoing personalities, will be happier getting on the phone and might even enjoy some chitchat and putting their point across to a contact center agent. In contrast those with a reserved and introverted personality might prefer non-verbal/real-time channels such as email contact for customer service. This means they don’t need to talk to someone and they can avoid the need to think on their feet when communicating with an agent on the phone. Email gives them plenty of time to consider and get across what they want to say. And they can avoid being put on the spot with difficult questions while on the phone or in a real-time dialogue on text or web chat.
4. TYPE OF BUSINESS: Obviously it can be difficult to analyze your customer base by personality without asking intrusive questions. However if you look at the type of business you are, it is possible to build a picture of the sort of customers you’ll attract. A youth fashion retailer is obviously going to attract a different demographic than a provider of holidays to the over 50s. Understand your customers and use this information to assist in planning your multi-channel strategy. Run focus groups and research to help form this picture.