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Posted by Todd Hockenberry ● Apr 13, 2022

Are You Listening To Your Prospects and Customers?

Do you make it easy for people to connect with you?

Right up there with making it hard to pay you is not making it easy for prospects and customers to communicate with your people.

are-you-listening-to-your-prospects-and-customers-linkedin-newsletter

Let's start with the primary connection modes.

  • email
  • phone
  • website contact us
  • face-to-face visits
  • trade shows

Note: McKinsey published a graphic showing something similar to the above but I cannot find the source.

The above methods are core to most businesses and are not much different than they were 30 years ago.

Many companies take them for granted and do not invest time and resources into making these core modes into competitive advantages.

 Does your phone get answered by a person? 

If you are hiding behind a decision tree automated system to allow callers to get to a human being, I believe this is a huge missed opportunity. 

So many companies think everyone wants to be self-served that they assume this applies to the phone.

I believe the opposite is true. For many people, talking to a human being is the preferred method of interacting with your company. Using an impersonal system tells these people you do not value their call.

Do not assume callers want to self serve the way people on your website do. If I want to self-serve, I will start at your site and go from there.

And don't forget voicemail. If someone leaves a voicemail, they want to talk to a human. 

Over the past three weeks, I have been working with a bank to transfer ownership of our church's checking, savings, and money market accounts to another person and me from the previous managers. 

After two multiple-hour visits to the local branch and at least six voicemail messages from me to the account manager, I have not once spoken to a person at the bank about the status of the changes.

No one cares enough to give me an update. I am not even hoping that the problem is solved. I would be happy with an update.

But, as soon as these accounts are under my control, I will be finding a new bank. 

My personal bank and my representative Warren will get the business. This morning I sent Warren an email with a quick question. He did not email me back. He called me within 10 minutes of me sending the email. 

And that is all it took to make me excited, not angry, not happy, but excited to switch to a new bank. 

And if I was a review kind of person, and I generally am not, I would post reviews warning people that this bank is not worthy of their business.

Monitor your customer-facing people and make sure they are responding to voicemails promptly. All of them. Every day. 

Own the phone in this day and age when too many companies don't care about you. You will stand out.

The next level of connection methods is something like this list:

  • e-procurement site
  • Google My Business
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • behavior-based email
  • email newsletter subscription
  • site offer conversions
  • text

Many companies have these set up, but usually, they are in set-it-and-forget-it mode. I see so many missed comments and messages on social media that it seems like no one is paying attention.

If you make a channel available, you must be committed to monitoring it and engaging with people.

You are better off adding new channels slowly as you add resources to manage them properly.

Just setting it up is not enough.

More advanced connection channels include:

  • podcast
  • open social media channels like YouTube
  • private social media groups
  • live online events
  • mobile app
  • video conference
  • chat/chatbot
  • influencer marketing
  • Slack groups
  • private communities
  • in-person events

The easiest of the above to implement is chat. I think chat should be one of the core connection methods for most companies.

Chat is low-cost to implement but requires people's attention and time. The biggest hurdle I hear is that they don't have anyone to focus on chat.

I am always surprised by that reaction. If people want to talk to your business, why would you not provide those resources to let them?

We even know a third-party chat operator who does a great job, so there is no excuse. Reach out to me if you would like an introduction.

We experimented with one of our clients and added chat to their website. Immediately they had four times more direct engagements with prospects and customers than they did with just the contact us page.

Another client sold a piece of equipment worth over $20,000 in a chat the first day they started using it. Hilariously, or more accurately foolishly, the sales team complained that marketing sold a machine, so they turned off chat.

Too often, companies miss the basic blocking and tackling of getting their connection modes correct while chasing after elaborate and expensive marketing plans. 

Invest in being the easiest to reach and most helpful company in your space.

That is a great marketing strategy!

Please reach out if you need help developing and implementing business connection strategies that will drive more opportunities and revenue.

Our clients grow 10-20% in the first year.

Topics: Inbound Organization, Marketing

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