October 2016

Page 5

Q Hot Seat

October 2016 Volume 26, Number 7 ISSN 1919-0395

Publisher Mark Vreugdenhil (416) 614-5819 mark@plumbingandhvac.ca

Effective communication Today every business has all kinds of ways to communicate with its customers, suppliers and other key people. Sometimes it’s difficult to figure out which way to go, particularly with the internet/social media ‘industry’ constantly bombarding everyone with the idea that digital is the way of the future and all established forms of communication are going to go the way of the proverbial dodo bird. One needs to keep in mind, however, that all that is just marketing as the companies involved in that sector work to become ever more profitable. Despite all the recent technological advances that have brought us Internet, e-mail, social media, etc., nothing beats face-to-face communication and a phone call can also be a good option. But if you can’t be in front of the customer, or you are prospecting for new customers, how do you do it? In a report elsewhere in this issue, the Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Institute of Canada reported at their annual conference that e-mail hasn’t proven effective for communicating with members. That’s not surprising. We are all inundated with e-mails every day. Unless it’s from someone we know, we are unlikely to open it. And even if it is, it’s too easy to think ‘I’ll look at that later’ and then forget all about it. We’re busy. That’s not to say that e-mail is a bad thing, but it’s just another form of communication. In my mind it has always been a secondary form of communication. You may start with a telephone conversation and then e-mail


the details. Now that the person knows what it’s about, they’re looking out for it. So if “going digital” isn’t working out, what does a business do? My advice is always to focus on the things that have worked in the past. I think the most important thing to keep in mind is that you want to reach the people you can actually serve. If your shop is in, say, Medicine Hat, Alta., broadcasting your message to the entire world on social media probably isn’t going to help. If things like flyers, direct mail, newspaper and/or radio ads have worked in the past, you abandon those things at your peril. You will likely be turning your back on a large group of prospective customers who are not going to follow you or any other contractor on social media. I think the bottom line is to stick with what works and try new things, including digital communication, but don’t do anything too drastic. The companies and organizations that have abandoned traditional forms of communication to ‘go digital’ have found that suddenly their message is just not getting out. Good communication is critical and, like many things, the easiest or least expensive route is seldom the best.

Editor Simon Blake (416) 614-5820 simon@plumbingandhvac.ca National Sales Manager Mark Mierkalns (416) 614-5832 markm@plumbingandhvac.ca Design and Production Tim Norton/Janet Popadiuk production@plumbingandhvac.ca Circulation Manager Dorothy Lai

PLUMBING & HVAC Magazine is published eight times annually by Marked Business Media Inc. and is written for individuals who purchase/ specify/approve the selection of plumbing, piping, hot water heating, fire protection, warm air heating, air conditioning, ventilation, refrigeration, controls and related systems and products throughout Canada.

Marked Business Media Inc. 451 Attwell Drive, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M9W 5C4 Tel: (416) 614-2200 • Fax (416) 614-8861 POSTMASTER: Send all address changes and circulation inquiries to: Plumbing & HVAC Magazine, 451 Attwell Drive, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M9W 5C4. Canadian Publications Mail Sales Product Agreement No. 43029513. Postage paid at Toronto, ON. Annual Subscription Canada: $40.00 plus applicable taxes, single copy $5.00 plus applicable taxes. Annual Subscription United States: $60.00 U.S. Annual Subscription foreign: $90.00 U.S. Copyright 2016. The contents of this magazine may not be reproduced in any manner without the prior written permission of the Publisher.

We acknowledge the financial support of the Government of Canada through the Canada Periodical Fund of the Department of Canadian Heritage. A member of: • Canadian Institute of Plumbing & Heating • Canadian Circulation Audit Board • Mechanical Contractors Assoc. of Canada • Ontario Plumbing Inspectors Association • American Society of Heating Refrigerating & Air Conditioning Engineers • Heating Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Institute of Canada • Refrigeration Service Engineers Society of Canada


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