Responsiveness: Be ready, willing, and available to help when needed.
When I interviewed with Becky to join the Weaving Influence team, she asked me what each of Weaving Influence’s core values meant to me. At the time, I was transitioning from working live events; so responsiveness, to me, meant being ready to adapt and respond to whatever unknown might pop up – a volunteer who cancelled at the last minute, a microphone that stopped working during an event, a song change the day of the event, a fire in the amp room during a Good Friday service (yes, that actually happened).
Today, responsiveness may not require I deal with a literal fire, but the idea of being ready, willing, and available to help when needed still applies. I need to be flexible enough to respond to current events, technological changes, and client needs. Responsiveness is one of the most important qualities for a communicator or professional in today’s world.
In fact, responsiveness is one of the biggest factors in whether a business succeeds or fails. Weaving Influence author, speaker, and customer service expert Chip Bell suggests that, “Competitive advantage today requires cutting edge innovation, distinctive service and lightning fast responsiveness.” A 2012 Oracle study shows that customers expect responses within 2 hours on Facebook and Twitter. I think it’s safe to say that today’s customers expect an even faster response.
How Can You Improve Your Responsiveness?
Establish communication patterns.
With your teammates and clients, decide what your preferred communication medium is. With hundreds of different communication channels to choose from, no one can stay on top of all of them. We use Basecamp at Weaving Influence for the majority of team communication, and texts for emergency or urgent matters. You may prefer email or phone calls. There isn’t one “right” answer; it’s what works for you, your teammates, and clients. What’s important is to decide on how information should be shared so everyone can stay in touch.
I’m not suggesting you stay plugged in 24/7. No one should do that. But in order to respond, you need to make yourself available. You can’t respond if you don’t know that there is something to respond to!
Be ready for the unexpected.
No one wants the unexpected to happen, but it is better to be ready when it does. When I worked in live events, we had three backup microphones ready every service in case one microphone dropped out. Weaving Influence has procedures in place for how to respond on social media when a disaster or tragedy strikes. Think through some of the possible problems that could pop up and make a plan for how to respond. You may not be able to prepare for every situation, but the act of thinking through potential crises will help you no matter what does arise.
Above all, responsiveness is an attitude. I’m proud to be a part of a team that is willing to flex to help each other and our clients no matter what comes our way!
Stephanie completed her masters in public relations and corporate communications at Georgetown University in 2015. She lives outside Washington, DC with her two dogs.