Do you communicate to suit you or to suit your customers? Most businesses tend to get it back to front, they insist on communicating to suit themselves, totally ignoring their customer's needs, expectations or requests.

I've recently been organizing to rent some computer equipment. The company I'm renting from insists on ringing my mobile phone five times a day to tell me about the material they need to email me, instead of simply sending it. Why? Because that's convenient for them, no matter how much I protest. Or perhaps it's just a stupid policy and we all know that you can't change stupid policies.

We all have those businesses that insist on calling us, even though we've asked them to email us. It is frustrating and irritating and no matter how hard we try to emphasize that we would prefer them to email us,  they ignore our request and continue to irritate us.

I pose the question - how long would you be prepared to deal with an organization like that? For me - not very long at all.

The bottom line here is that with every new customer we should ask them how they prefer to communicate and then make sure we honor that. Set the ground rules and make sure you stick to them.

I've built this into my sign up script for new clients - I make a point of checking with them to be absolutely clear about their preferred method of communication. If they want us to communicate by Carrier Pigeon we will! We also clarify exceptions to the rule, such as when they would prefer to be called.

We need to understand that today there are many different ways to communicate. Some people like to be called on their mobile phone, some prefer email, some prefer texting and some prefer private messaging on Facebook. Every business needs to take the time to figure out how their customers prefer to be contacted. The best way to do this is of course to ask them.