Five quick communication tips

Here are five quick communication tips for new businesses that, from recent experience of talking to very unhappy customers, more established service providers seem to have forgotten.

  1. Do invest in an answerphone. It may seem an incredibly obvious thing to say and do but I’m still amazed at the number of business owners/managers that think it’s fine to let customer hang on the end of a phone until they lose the will to live. Customers do not want your product or service only between 10am and 4.30pm. Make sure you have some way they can leave you a message so you can get back to them – or risk losing them to a competitor.
  2. If your recorded voice message asks customers to “please leave details and we will get back to you”, make sure you don’t leave it 48 hours or until the customers calls again, or they call you on your mobile while you are out socialising with friends because they are so unhappy that they next person they call is their lawyer. 
  3. If you say you offer a service – then follow through on it. There’s no point in going to market saying that you do X, Y and Z if you don’t actually fulfil the promise. I recently heard of one business that said they delivered repaired goods back to the customer as a key part of the service only to then ask customers to collect things because they were “too busy” – not for long they won’t be with that attitude.
  4. If a dissatisfied customer calls, take down the details and say you will get back to them – and do it. Do not speak to the customer and then talk about the problem in the office with clients while the receiver is open – yes, this does happen! Your customer wants respect and courtesy, they do not want to listen to you trying to find out what went wrong or who is to blame. They certainly don’t want to hear you say “O, it’s laughing boy again moaning on”.
  5. Keep your team informed about developments in services and customer care. There’s nothing so frustrating for a customer than to have to repeat the whole story each time they ring up because they are speaking to someone new who has not been informed.

 

This might all sound like common sense, but each one are real examples of customer experience I have heard about in the last week. Make sure it’s not you ex-customers are talking about in this way.

 

 

If you are a Linkedin user, you might find the following tips helpful.

  1. Be personal and personable. Linkedin is all about making contacts and developing relationships. Although it should form part of your marketing activity, you should try to look at it from a social perspective. For instance, when you are inviting people to join your network, don’t use the standard template approach. Change the request to something personal; make it look like you a human being interested in other people rather than a sales person harvesting leads. Give people a reason to want to connect with you.
  2. Don’t lie or try to be clever. If you were approached by someone in the pub or at a party that you had never met who then claimed to be your friend or someone you had done business with before, how would you react? Doing the same on Linkedin will get you much the same response.
  3. Contribute. Social media is all about giving to receive. If all you are interested in is surreptitious sales pitches you will get sussed out very quickly. Join in debates in groups and offer advice and help rather than quotes for services or products. Get known for being an expert in your field by starting discussions on subjects that are interesting and useful to others.
  4. Join in. If you join groups that are connected to your field of interest or that of your customers, you can engage with people that may need your help in future without you having to make a sales pitch. Networking is all about making valuable contacts that may lead, either directly or indirectly to new business or good advice.
  5. Help. If you know a customer or supplier that needs help with something beyond your service, pop a message on Linkedin asking everyone if they can recommend someone. That way you will reach out to far more people and they may just reciprocate and recommend you to a potential new customer.

Written by Graham Parker MA MCIPR

Graham Parker MA MCIPR

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