Today I had to call a provider of service that I’d hired for some work to inquire about a date for service. The sales rep, said, “Oh, I asked the operations office to call you. They haven’t?” I couldn’t believe that for a very expensive customer transaction he’d not called me himself. Sure he must have been busy, but as someone about to spend several thousand dollars with him, he certainly could pick up the phone.
Marketing begins with communication
Marketing begins with our customer service communications. It’s very easy to lose a customer due to poor communication. I’ve never heard of someone who lost a customer due to over communication.
We all know that e-mail is the most frequently used business communications tool these days. Fast on its heels is texting. But neither of these communications methods carries my tone, inflection or feeling. Some people resort to using smilies, but I’m still not fond of them in professional communication, even though I’ve used them from time to time.
E-mail can get lost
E-mail does have the advantage of providing a written record of communication, but I can’t assume that my e-mail always arrives at it’s intended destination. E-mail can vanish into the ether. I can request “Read Receipts” from recipients of my e-mail, but not all browsers or mail clients support them. I’ve quit using Read Receipts and now call to be sure someone has received my e-mail. Is this double the work? Perhaps it is. But it does allow another touch point for communications.
We must remind ourselves that the phone is better than e-mail, but face to face is still better. As we all get siloed, we need to remember that our facial expressions and our body language give our clients the entire message.
Face to face meetings
While a face to face meeting takes time, it is often the precise thing to reinforce or build a good client relationship. It’s very easy for me to be lazy and think of the time involved traveling to another location, but when the client is investing significantly in my and my services, they deserve a face to face meeting. But I can also request that they meet me or offer to host a meeting, especially if we need technology that is only in my office.
If I don’t have time to drive across town, or my client is in another state, I can use Skype or other web cam video to have a face to face. If my client isn’t geographically close and they aren’t tech savvy or prefer not to use a web cam, at least I can use the phone.
Each customer has a communications preference too. It’s good to learn early on which style my client prefers. Then I can be sure I’m getting their attention when I communicate with them in that channel.
We each want to feel important and respected. Communication done right provides those intangibles to my clients.