Imagine trying to communicate with customers that speak 11 different languages and come from dozens of different cultures. How would you help them understand how to manage their debt when they never had credit before? On a recent episode of my podcast, YPO's 10 Minute Tips From the Top, I interviewed Ian Wason, CEO of Intelligent Debt Management (IDM), on how he solved these exact problems.

Wason, a member of Young Presidents' Organization (YPO), related how his company is able to help clients in South Africa overcome their debt issues with a 90 percent success rate, which is substantially higher than his competitors. The key for him is strong and creative communication. Here are his tips for communicating effectively with your customers.

1. Identify their pain.

Successful communication with a customer starts with understanding. By identifying their needs, you are more likely to develop an appropriate solution. Moreover, by showing them empathetically that you understand their pain, they will also see that you care and will be more willing to work with you.

2. Speak their language.

We live in an increasingly global world, which now means that we cannot always rely on one language to reach all of our prospective clients. Wason's company is in South Africa, which has 11 languages. His solution? Ensure that he had a number of employees that could speak all of these languages, ultimately giving him options for interacting with all his potential customers.

3. Communicate constantly.

Wason's business requires customers to do something they do not necessarily want to do--pay their debt despite lacking resources to do it. But he emphasized that constant communication was key to keeping them involved and emotionally invested. Ignoring them for long periods of time is a sure-fire way to make your job more difficult over the long run. "You have to be constantly communicating with your clients and motivating them," he said.

4. Entertain them.

Today, people are constantly bombarded with information. It's hard to keep their attention when so many things are distracting them. Wason and his team have a particularly daunting task of teaching customers about paying their bills. "You can't give somebody a book about how to balance your budget or how to get out of debt. Or what is good debt or bad debt," he asserts before explaining his solution--a fun three-minute animated video. "But you give them the three-minute animation, and they remember it."

Each week on his podcast, Kevin has conversations with members of the Young Presidents' Organization (YPO), the world's premiere peer-to-peer organization for chief executives, eligible at age 45 or younger.

Published on: Apr 21, 2016