Let’s talk about Customer Engagement, specifically one part of the Communication Model, which is my BEAST Message Framework for creating messages that actually engage customers.
It’s really interesting that we communicate all day long – with our friends, with our peers, with our customers – but when was the last time you actually thought about what goes into communication?
Most of the time, we simply never stop to consider what needs to go into communication… we just do it.
If we do spend any time at all thinking about communication, we only focus on the message itself. But it’s truly important – imperative, actually – that we spend time thinking about all of the components of the Communication Model.
Whenever we try to send an email, have a call with a customer, set up a meeting with a customer, etc., we need to be thinking about communication and what goes into it.
Let’s dig in, shall we?
Quick Communication Model Overview
If you want an in-depth discussion of the Communication Model – and you should if you want to better engage your customers – you should check out my Communication Model post.
Briefly, the communication model is made up of six different pieces: Goal, Receiver, Method, Sender, Action, and Message.
There’s the goal. Why are you communicating?
There’s the receiver, who’s actually getting the communication – the message – from you. This is the person you’re setting up a meeting with or actually having a meeting with, or that individual you’re going to have a phone call with.
There’s the method, which refers to how you’re communicating. Is it in a meeting? Is it through an email? Is it a phone call or an in-app message?
The sender is the source of the message – who’s actually sending the message, setting up or hosting the meeting, etc.
The action is what you want them to do because of the communication. So, you have a goal, but then you also have a specific action you actually want them to take.
And then there is the message itself, a.k.a. the contents of the email, the content of the pop-up in the app, the actual content of the meeting or even the meeting request, what you’re going to talk about on the phone call, etc.
Of the six different elements of the Communication Model, the one that we tend to think about the most is the message. We really honestly don’t think about those other things that much, but even then, when we think about the message, we don’t really think about it – at least not in the right way.
That’s what I’m hopefully going to get you to do today – think about the message in the right way.
Introducing the BEAST Message Framework
I will talk about what I call the BEAST Message Framework, and it’s made up of five different things that start with letters that make up the word BEAST – like BEAST mode. These are brief, efficient, actionable, simple, and thoughtful.
Okay, so let’s go into each one.
BEAST Message Framework: Brief
Be brief. Something I have a hard time with is being brief. But you do want to make sure that your message is short and to the point.
That’s all relative, of course. The message doesn’t have to be one line, but you want to make sure that you’re being as brief as possible, which means we go back to what the communication framework is all about.
What’s your goal, and what’s the action that you want them to take? If you know those two things, it’s very simple to create a message that is brief.
However, if you don’t have a goal, and you don’t know what the action is that you want them to take, it’s very easy to go on rambling and/or just try to get them to do too many things.
Don’t have too many calls to action because then, instead of having one very simple thing that you’re trying to get them to do, there’s a whole bunch of different things, and they’re not going to do any of it.
How many times have you received an email or had a meeting with a whole bunch of takeaways but then nothing gets done? So don’t have too many calls to action. Keep it short and to the point.
I always say, “Look, instead of trying to boil the ocean – which is what we’re doing when we’re trying to get people to do a whole bunch of stuff at one time – just make little cups of tea along the way. Boil little cups of water.” I’m not sure if that’s the best analogy, but I think it fits. Don’t try to boil the ocean; just make little cups of tea along the way. Be brief.
BEAST Message Framework: Efficient
Just because you can write a lot or just because you can talk for a whole hour doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a good thing, right? Just because you can doesn’t mean you should.
Be very careful in the way that you choose what you’re going to talk about. Choose your words carefully. Edit. Always go back and say is this all necessary? In fact, one thing you could do right now is go audit your meetings – those you have scheduled those that you have to do that are part of your checklist – and your QBRs or Quarterly Business Reviews.
Look at the emails you’re sending and the calls you’re going to make. How many of these don’t have a goal or a one clear call to action (CTA) associated with them? Maybe they don’t even need to happen, right? So efficiency is also just asking does this need to even happen?
And if it does need to happen – if this message needs to be sent or if this meeting needs to happen – how can we make it as efficient as possible?
So editing is a really big deal.
BEAST Message Framework: Actionable
Be actionable. Have your call to action in mind, and build everything around that. If you can’t do that because you don’t have a CTA, then why are you attempting to engage with the customer?
Having customers read random, nonsensical emails from you is not engagement.
Customer Engagement is all about getting the customer to take action. Customer Engagement is about moving them in the right direction. That’s it.
So if you don’t have an action that’s associated with what you’re trying to do here, why are you even messaging them? Why are you even having a meeting? Why are you even having a call? Why are you popping something up in front of them in their app? It doesn’t make any sense.
So if you don’t have a CTA for receiver, and you don’t know what the goal of this communication is, why are you even doing it? If you do know, then you want to build everything around getting them to take that action. Be actionable.
BEAST Message Framework: Simple
Be simple. Tell them exactly what to do. Don’t make them think. This is not about customers being stupid, as some of you might think. It’s not about that.
It’s the fact that customers are busy. They’re distracted. You may not be the center of their universe like you think you are. It’s about just getting to the point.
Tell them exactly what you want them to do – what they need to do. Maybe justify it a little bit so they understand the reason why it’s happening. Get to the point, and get them to take action.
This idea of being simple is very easy to follow if you do the first thing – be brief – which goes back to having a goal and understanding what the action is that you want them to take.
BEAST Message Framework: Thoughtful
Last, but certainly not least, be thoughtful.
This applies to Customer Engagement.
This applies to communication, not only with your customers, but with your peers, with your family, with your friends.
Where do you fit into their world? Be honest about that. You may think you’re the center of their universe, but are you? Probably not – at least not initially, certainly, and maybe never.
And that’s okay. Also, when you’re asking them to do something, you might be asking them to do something inside of the product, but is it really only that? Are there things outside the product, – outside of the scope of your engagement – that they need to do?
So think about that. Be thoughtful. Be thoughtful with your words. Be thoughtful with your requests. Be thoughtful with their time. Be thoughtful in general.
That’s it. That’s the BEAST Message Framework.
I hope it helps you better engage with your customers.