Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Pay Attention to Your Messages

While looking for a parking spot at my doctor's new office space this morning, I noticed that the eight spots closest to the building's entrance were all reserved for the practice's physicians.

What message do you think this sends to patients? I'm sure we all interpret things differently, but my interpretation was "doctors first, customers second." The needs of the physicians are more important than those of their patients.

It's a reminder to all of us that we're sending out messages about our businesses all the time, even when we don't realize it. Take a few minutes to look around your organization and its communications to assess what message you're sending customers with your actions, signage, decor, demeanor, etc. Then compare those messages to those you use in your marketing and promotion campaigns. Do they match? If they don't, which one of them is the most authentic?

Identify the "real" you and integrate it into all of your overt and subtle messaging. If you're the most curmudgeonly accountant in town but are also the best accountant in town, embrace your grumpiness. Make fun of it. At least you'll be honest -- people will know what to expect when they choose to do business with you, either because they like crabby folks or because they want the professional with the most knowledge, regardless of personality.

Our messages are everywhere. It can be a challenge to make them authentic and consistent, especially if we aren't getting feedback or paying attention. What do yours say about you?

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