Business Communication

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Asking the right questions

Part A – PLEASE RESPOND TO CLASSMATE DISCUSSION WHETHER YOU AGREE OR NOT & A DETAILED WHY: This scenario for this week resonates with me due to the constant change that I am experiencing with my employer especially as of late. The example I will provide is similar to a real-world scenario. Recently, we have evaluated our customer experience scores within our retail locations and received less than favorable feedback. Specifically, customers have complained that our in-store experience is akin to buying a used car, takes too long, and leaves customers undervalued. As a result, our company has introduced an initiative called “Grab & Go.” Grab & Go is intended to reduce the length of the customer interaction, provide the customer with the level of communication they prefer, improve the overall satisfaction with our retail employees.

Before posing open-ended questions to the team, I would discuss the trend in consumer behavior, explaining that nearly 70% of consumers are now using some form of in-store pick-up style transactions to meet their shopping needs. Leading with these facts can serve to set the tone for the discussion, so the subject matter does not blindside my team. Transparency of the topics to be covered is especially important as the performance (and paycheck) of each team member is heavily dependent on consumer traffic into the location. Three open-ended questions I would utilize would include:

  • Tell me about your feelings on the current processes we have in place to assist our customers?
  • Which processes do you feel our customers are most reliant on our help?
  • What steps do you think we can take to reduce the time each customer spends in our location without negatively impacting our customer experience scores?

This communication would take place via a roundtable team meeting to encourage contributions from all team members. This face to face communication would give the leadership team and me the opportunity to gauge our team’s reaction to our questions via body language since experts estimate that 60%-90% of what is communicated during a conversation is non-verbal; despite the message (Munter & Hamilton, 2009). The ways I would express interest in my employees’ feelings concerns is making our solution a collaborative effort, asking what concerns or barriers they think will stand in the way of successful implementation of our new processes. Also, this would be an excellent opportunity to enlist the help of their peer leaders to help land the messages from leadership. Restating their concerns while checking for accuracy of my understanding are two great ways to ensure my team understands their voice and thoughts are valued.

Part B – PLEASE RESPOND TO CLASSMATE DISCUSSION WHETHER YOU AGREE OR NOT & A DETAILED WHY: Today, we are introducing a new platform for our inventory and supply chain needs. Effective XX/XX/XX, the organizations will begin a multi-phased and multi-year approach to make this transition from the WJJB platform to TBQ. The TBQ platform offers more flexibility and control when it comes to the shipment of our inventory. Within the new platform, we will be able to schedule future date shipping and availability of inventory of multiple distribution centers across the nation. One key aspect is the new platform allows the order to be fulfilled from multiple DCs. For example, if our customer orders 1000 pieces of equipment and it cannot be fulfilled at one location, the logistics algorithm will look to all DCs to fulfill what can be even at a partial level. Lastly, this new platform will be tied directly to our accounting system for real-time entries to the general ledger for faster reporting. We believe this is the future and will ensure our success as an organization.

Questions

1) Currently, we are completing a manual monthly interface. Can you think of something that you could do with

time that would add benefit to your day to day activities?

2) Can you think of any other teams that may benefit from this transformation?

3) This project will have high visibility and exposure to higher leadership? Do I have 2 volunteers to support the project?

Communication Strategy

1) Communication will be sent out to all teams impacted. Impacted teams are included here, but not limited to:

Legal, Marketing, Billing & Collections, National Distribution, etc.

2) Create / Perform project assessment (Scope, Risk)

3) Create a repository to house all updates for everyone to review.

4) Complete Project Kickoff Meeting

5) Provide email update weekly and release date communication monthly

6) Provide communication before Production Handoff or release

I will determine if the communication was successful if the teams are meeting critical deadlines for delivery with minimal manual intervention from the business users. This will be communicated through weekly and monthly update communications.

The intent during delivering of the new platform was to ask questions to inquire of the team. I asked for volunteers as I am looking for them to be involved in key aspects of leading this project to implementation.

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