By Carolyn West-Price Touhey, Contributing Blogger
We’ve all heard the saying, “Out of sight, out of mind.” Compound that with the fact that we are all on information overload and moving at such a hectic pace, with overwhelming demands on our time and attention, that we must put ourselves in our customers’ (or prospects’) shoes and make it easy to do business with us. To that end, here are three very common “problems” and suggested “remedies” for you to consider.
Problem: A person you already know wants to call you to give you business or a referral, but can’t easily find your business card or remember your business name to search the phone book.
Suggestion: Put your phone number and address in your signature block on all of your emails. If you have done your own follow-up, when you met the person you put them in your database and sent them at least one email as follow-up to making his or acquaintance. (If you have a proactive email marketing program in place – which you should – you may have sent even more.) The person who wants to call you may remember that and look you up in the emails, but if your signature block does not have contact information, it’s not so easy to reach you without sending an email and waiting for your reply.
Problem: You have an automated voice attendant greet callers after hours, requiring that the caller put in the person’s last name and not even giving them an option to leave a message for the individual in the general mailbox. This looks like a lost opportunity if the caller doesn’t know the person’s last name or how to spell it. Even worse are the systems that won’t tell you how to reach a real body, so you try to outsmart it and hit “0” only to be told that you have punched an invalid extension.
Suggestion: Consider the alternative – a live answering service – weighing the cost of the service against the cost of losing business from callers who can’t leave messages due to either your system or their perception that reaching you for service will be equally cumbersome.
And, if your target markets include senior citizens, avoid the “press this, press that” entirely.
Problem: A customer is less than happy with a purchase and inquires about making a return, only to have a less-than-pleasant employee of yours tell the person “No.”
Suggestion: Be sure you have a “happy customer” policy and philosophy so all staff members know to do almost anything to please the customer. Think Nordstrom or L.L.Bean, and empower your staff to be accommodating, not policy-bound. What you give back in refunds will not exceed what you earn in customer loyalty and good word-of-mouth marketing.
Carolyn West-Price Touhey is an award-winning marketing consultant who has had her own consulting firm for 20 years, specializing in small businesses. She teaches marketing to entrepreneurs throughout North America. She can be reached at 250-335-2342 or MakeAnImpact@SmartBizStrategy.com