Improving Communication with Staff and Customers

Feb. 16, 2018

Mike Kapis offers his advice on ways to better lead a team and keep customers happy with effective communication.

“Mike is one of those special people that makes everyone’s life a little easier—our employees, our customers and the community.”

“Mike goes above and beyond for customer service. He does what it takes to get the job done by staying late and coming in early.”

“Mike understands not only the business, but what it takes to accomplish every task including communication with the techs, the support staff and the customers.”

Those were just a few of the FenderBender Award nominations that Mike Kapis received, which all reiterated over and over that Kapis knows how to effectively communicate with everyone around him.

Now, Kapis, a sales team coordinator for Mayfield Collision Center in Bedford Heights, Ohio, has taken a step back from being the location manager and is watching the two-location company experience rapid growth.

Starting at Mayfield Collision Center at the age of 19, communication was one of the first skillsets he learned, and it has made him the leader he is today. He shares his advice for ways to strengthen communication with your staff and your customers.

Identify the Status of Communication.

One dead giveaway for poor communication is if the entire staff is trying to accomplish a task that should only take one person to do. It’s inefficient and means roles are poorly defined. Make sure that all roles are clearly defined and that staff members are working toward a common goal.

If you’re inconsistent, you will get inconsistent results from your staff.

If you’ve identified a problem with communication, have a talk with your staff, Kapis says, and address possible solutions.

When the staff comes up with ways to help solve poor communication in the workplace, it helps create buy-in, Kapis says.  

Be “In Sync” with Your Staff.

According to Kapis, being in sync with your team is key and, essentially, the first step to effective communication.

Every morning, a production meeting takes place where topics such as scheduling, constraints and presiding issues are discussed.

“It only takes 15 minutes, but those minutes are crucial,” he says.

He also says consistency is one of the keys to effective leadership. So, if you and your staff have a production meeting daily, keep it at the same time every day. Kapis holds two meetings every day, at 7:45 a.m. and 4 p.m.

Be Organized.

Kapis and his team rely heavily on email. Key staff members in the company have their email accounts linked to their phones, so it’s with them no matter where they are.

“Group emails to everyone is a common daily practice to keep all support staff in the loop and all pulling on the rope in the same direction,” he says.

Kapis says that there is nothing worse than someone being out of the loop and moving in the wrong direction. Keeping everyone on the same page, he says, is extremely important in ensuring that everyone is working toward the same goal.

Staying organized also means keeping your end of the deal in any situation. Kapis says that if you tell a customer that you’re going to call them the next day at 11 a.m., you or a staff member better call them no later than 10:59 a.m.

Keep a list of priorities and always remain aware of what needs to be completed when it comes to staff and customers.

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