Photo: PeopleImages/1420017371/iStock / Getty Images Plus

Photo: PeopleImages/1420017371/iStock / Getty Images Plus

It’s May. Let’s all take a deep breath and consider what’s really important during this peak season and our role in keeping our companies (and ourselves) focused on what matters the most: communication. While some people in our industry view the spring rush as something to endure, it truly is our opportunity to shine as landscapes come back to life and outdoor activities become a priority.

This is our time.

One of the most important aspects of the spring rush is communication — with both customers and internally with our teams. Customers fill the spring rush with expectations that are often unrealistic or maybe not unrealistic but unfeasible to meet.

The worst thing we can do is ignore our customer’s expectations, complain about how crazy they are and hope they dissipate. This approach breeds resentment, distrust and is simply disrespectful to our customers. It may allow us to avoid the heat for the short term but will not result in long-term customer satisfaction and retention. There is a better approach.

A better approach is to take the heat now by proactively addressing the customer’s expectations and communicating clearly and truthfully the current realities of staffing, capacity and scheduling. We should communicate this with empathy because we’re all in the same boat — so to speak — when it comes to the larger societal issues. And we want the same things that our customer wants. We want to take care of the customer’s needs. We want to meet their expectations. But we are constrained. That’s the message.

In my experience, customers appreciate open and honest communication even when they don’t like what’s communicated. At least you respected, listened to and did not ignore them. More than once, customers told me that our company was a preferred supplier simply because we proactively met with our customers and answered our phones. Our actual service delivery was not always spot on. We made plenty of mistakes. But we communicated with our clients, and they were very appreciative.

As leaders in our companies, we have an obligation to also communicate effectively with our teams, including our peers and subordinates. Resist the temptation to abandon best practices such as daily huddles, weekly meetings and ongoing strategic planning sessions. In fact, an argument may be made for even more communication during the spring rush due to the volume of activity.

Top companies in our industry are purposefully holding skip-level meetings and informal one-on-one check-ins, especially with new hires all spring long. In the same way that proactive communication makes a customer feel appreciated, the same result occurs with team members. This is a better approach.

When we lead with positivity, hopefulness and encouragement are contagious. Spring is truly a season of opportunity. It’s our time. We’re professionals. That’s the message. Let’s make this the 100 days of communication and not anything else.

Now go forth.

This article is tagged with and posted in Blog, Expert Insights

About the Author:

Phil Harwood is a Senior Advisor with Tamarisk Business Advisors. Contact him at

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