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According to the Collins English Dictionary, a signal ‘is a gesture, sound, or action which is intended to give a particular message to the person who sees or hears it.’
We are sending signals to our clients and customers whenever they come into contact with our business or brand—even when we’re not face-to-face. Words, images, dress, titles, tone, body language, location, prices, packaging, decor and design give people clues about who we are, what we stand for and what we’re worth. The flipside is that when we allocate resources, we’re also sending a signal to ourselves about what we’re worthy of.
Customers are making decisions based on our signals, so it pays to be intentional about every signal we send. When I get an email, like the one I got yesterday from an insurance company assuring me that my query is important to them ‘and will be replied to within three business days,’ I’m forming an opinion about what it would be like to be a paying customer with an urgent request.
Of course, in the days of online customer reviews, we can’t always control the message—which is all the more reason to make sure that the story we tell when we can is sending the signal we intended to send.
Image by Garry Knight