Being Efficient Doesn’t Mean Being Effective!

Not all the latest technology or long-established processes are effective. They may have been efficient for someone at some time, but are they effective now? According to one article in Entrepreneur, “One of the easiest ways to botch your business’ first impression is to simply not answer your phone correctly.”[1] Think about the last time you called a plumber or a doctor’s office and a muffled electronic voice announced: “Our Phone Menu has changed.” This usually is a warning of inconvenience and aggravation as you are immediately directed to hit “1” for this or “3” for that, followed by some propaganda about a new service, or the dreaded high call volume causing a delay for the next service representative.

By this time, all we hear is “blah, blah, blah” — a repeated rendering of an annoying 80’s computer-generated composition, and it doesn’t stop there. Next, we’re instructed to press “Star” to hear a lecture on phone navigation all over again. This may have been efficient for the business or some internal process at one time. But does it effectively serve the phone caller who had a simple question that isn’t an option on the phone menu which recently changed?

In another article featured in the journal, Technical Communication, the author appropriately states: “Only when the quality of the user experience is recognized as one of the central features of an organization, technical communicators may be expected to receive sufficient support in their attempts to serve the users.”[2] Without quality communication within our organization, how can we expect to meet our users’ needs? To be effective means that you are providing a service or process which meets the needs and expectations of the client or constituent.

Being effective also means addressing the stated goals and objectives of your organization. Before making any changes to the Phone Menu, implementing a new technology, or changing an existing process, please consider if this is how you would want to be treated. “It’s important to understand that communication is what builds bridges and connects people in a powerful way,” says Cheryl Keates, PCC, a Forbes Councils Member.[3] Ask yourself, will this change help achieve our service satisfaction goals? Are we addressing the values and objectives of the organization, or being overly efficient at the expense of those that we are serving?




[1] Taylor, M. (2017, May 30). “4 Simple Ways to Communicate Better With Your Customers.” Entrepreneur.com

[2] De Jong, Menno D.T. (2011, February). “Exploring the Borders of Technical Communication: Corporate and Organizational Communication.” Technical Communication, Vol. 58, No. 1

[3] Keates, Cheryl, PCC. (2018, Sept. 10). “The Five C’s of Effective Communication.” Forbes.com

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