Telecoms, TelecommunicationsIt’s safe to say that 2020 hasn’t been a walk in the park, except of course for the brief moment when that’s all we were allowed to do.

Lockdown was difficult for all of us, and unfortunately, the effects and changing guidelines remain as 2021 draws closer.

We’ve been subject to change like never before – from the way we work to the way we live – and perhaps the most impactful change we’ve all experienced has been the way we communicate. Video calls, previously reserved for the boardroom, are how we speak to colleagues, clients and family in place of being in their presence. Getting answers to those quick questions is a slack message away, and who doesn’t feel like they’re one quiz away from being a potential mastermind winner?

However, communication, particularly in the tech sector, has become even more significant and an increasingly important aspect of day-to-day business life. Tech is one of the few industries which, dare we say it, has been successful over the last six months. In fact, the entire globe is backing one of the most extensive digital transformation efforts ever seen, and whilst it hasn’t been smooth sailing, it’s certainly been rapid. Pre-COVID big tech was at a crossroads – there was an enormous debate on the role technology organisations should be allowed to play in the running of society. At the heart of this debate was the notion of transparency and trust.

These two aspects are transactional – in exchange for being transparent, customers will trust you and the last few months have been sink or swim. When correctly implemented, business transparency is an excellent way of nurturing and cultivating loyalty and trust in your clients and customers. An essential component of transparent communications lies in empathy. Knowing what your customer wants is the foundation of a good business model but being able to supply this while empathising with how they’re feeling will set you apart from the rest. From the major disruptions caused by the pandemic, to the everyday frustrations of woeful WiFi and burnout, it’s crucial to know that your audience is likely to be feeling fraught. Communicating transparently will help cut through the murk and leave people feeling relieved and perhaps grateful.

Take Zoom as a prime example of a business holding their hands up and saying they got it wrong. Primarily used as a video conferencing tool, suddenly the product was being used by millions of people to connect with loved ones. Zoom admirably scaled up to offer a service that could help join us during isolation. But with all great technological leaps, come hackers. It wasn’t long before headlines were detailing the rate in zoom bombs. Potentially harmless if you’re on a call with your grandma, but potentially dire if you were on a ‘private’ business call. Rather than get defensive, Zoom released one of the most impressive pieces of communications I have ever seen. It was a detailed FAQ outlining what had happened, where it went wrong and what it was doing to improve things. By owning the fact that its product wasn’t faultless and positioning it in the right way users were able to rest easy, and able trust that Zoom ultimately had their back.

When attempting to release a statement or update, it’s clear when a business is pandering to what they think clients want to hear. At best, this can be a bit of a turn-off, but at worst, it’s a reputational crisis – neither outcome is desirable, and both can be detrimental. After all, when something is transparent, it’s easier to see the red flag. Businesses must make sure everything they externally communicate with customers and clients is what they’re communicating internally. Ultimately, this impacts the trust of both your employees and customers both of which make a business.

It’s key to remember that just because you’re an expert in tech doesn’t mean you’re an expert in communicating tech. Even Jeff Bezos struggled to communicate via Webex during the senate hearings. If he can struggle to articulate, so can you, so lean on your communications experts and seek their expertise.

While it can seem like a minefield at times, maintaining strong communications is essential. My top three suggestions to maintain and uphold transparency in how you communicate with clients, customers, and employees are three-fold. Be honest and stick to the facts, be clear and concise, so people aren’t weighed down in jargon, and be considerate; you should avoid knee jerk responses and take the time to think through what you need to say and how best to deliver it.

Lucy BaileyAbout the author

Leading the tech practice for the UK at KWT Global, Lucy Bailey is an experienced industry communicator has worked with a number of enterprise technology businesses to navigate innovative and integrated comms strategies. With clients specialising in everything from AI, to CPaaS and from Cloud to RPA, Lucy is passionate about emerging technologies and their role in growing businesses at a global and local level.

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