Communication field guide: communication in recruitment, customer service, and sales
External communication is about what the organisation says to people who are outside the organisation. This is a big one. So let’s look at the categories into which external communication has traditionally been divided, and look at them in turn. Later, we’ll think about whether this form of categorisation is relevant and useful, some of the challenges that arise out of this traditional approach, and how we can address them. Ttraditional categories of external communication include:
• Customer service communication
• Corporate communications and public relations
• Marketing communications
We’ll look at the first three in this post.
Let’s start with the easy one. Companies and organisations need to employ people, so an HR department or someone in charge of hiring posts job listings. This can be on their own company website, job websites, or newspapers. They could post on social media. They could do a YouTube video talking about job opportunities. Seems easy, yes. But this expands into the much larger field of employer branding, which presents very exciting opportunities for content creators.
Sales people do just that: sell. They’re responsible for closing a sale. In Quantico, I do the selling. If it’s a copywriting project or a custom workshop, I’ll talk to potential clients about a project, prepare a proposal, send them information about Quantico, and close a deal. For public workshops, a lot of the selling is about pre-sale customer service: handling enquiries, answering questions, etc. Vacuum salesmen used to go door to door. A dedicated sales team could put together a complex proposal to win a deal. A salesperson at a dealership can get you to buy a car. Or a customer service rep on the phone could get you to re-contract your mobile plan. The purpose of this type of communication is to sell.
Sales communication takes various forms: a proposal, a sales pitch and presentation, chat scripts, telephone scripts, sales kits with brochures and case studies, product demos, and just smooth talking in person or on the phone. Sales communication often overlaps with marketing communication, but not entirely. We’ll get to marketing communication later, but it’s important to remember that the goal of sales communication is to close a sale, but that’s not always the goal of marketing communication.
Customer service communication
Another area with which sales can overlap is, as we discussed above, customer service communication. This can be before, during, or after a sale. Sometimes it’s handled by sales people, and sometimes it’s handled by other customer service representatives or by a technical team who can fix things. It can be about finding out more information, or about handling complaints and compliments.
And this can take various forms: call centres, email, phone calls, letters, reviews on TripAdvisor, guides or FAQs on a mobile app, how-to PDFs and manuals on a company website, messaging on social media, and of course communicating in person. Generally, the goal is to keep the customer happy, with the larger goal of increasing sales, reducing the number of refunds, securing reputation, or even reducing the number of complaints so that fewer people need to be hired at a call centre.