Knock, knock ….. is anybody there?

Have you been knocking on someone’s door and felt like giving up on waiting for the door to open? Or ring the phone and leave a message and then wait………..wait a little longer? What about when you send an email and more than 24 hours passes by and you haven’t got a response.

I’m not talking about spooks in the closet and playing mind games here. I’m talking about knocking on the door and expecting someone to open it – hardly rocket science. Is anybody on the other side?improving customer service

There’s a scene in the classic 1986 movie, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, where actor Ben Stein plays a thoroughly boring high-school economics teacher.  He tries to engage the class, but gets absolutely no response from anyone.  The teacher seems confused why nobody is responding. And yet, businesses often have a similar reaction when they try to make contact with you and just hit a blank wall. Check out the scene in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off here if you need a refresh.

I’ve lost count how many times a particular contractor or tradesman has won the job simply because they were the only one that responded in a reasonable time frame. Yes, they actually returned my call or they actually turned up at the said agreed time or simply sent me the information I was seeking. Even more impressive when they do a follow up call to see if you had any questions or when can they book in that particular service. More than half the possible jobs have been given to your opposition when you simply don’t have processes or systems in place to handle enquiries. Not a hard ask in business.

And there’s another thing – when you look at your marketing, whether it’s a brochure or your website, have you actually made it easy for someone to make that initial contact? I was browsing over someone’s website recently and the only possible method of contact was via a written letter to their post office box. I kid you not! This is 2016 and they still expect you to write a letter, find a stamp and then go to the post office box. Really? I wonder how many lost possibilities they have lost? If their target client is over 90 years old, then maybe that’s OK but sadly, they were not target them.  So if you want someone to make contact with you, the very least you can do is put up a multiple options of contact (email, phone and post). Then I was contacted by another person in Brisbane wishing to enquire about my services but whilst I was chatting to them, I Googled up their name etc. and it advised me they were in Cairns. Hang on, didn’t they just tell me they were in Brisbane? Yes, they have moved their office but nobody would know. Why keep that a secret? When you contact points have changed, even your postal address, then the entire picture of your business, every point of contact including Google maps, needs to be updated. It can be a big job but it is massively essential unless your a KGB spy and you probably won’t even have an online presence.

Absolutely every bit of marketing should offer several different options for contact, each and every time without compromise. Even if you are running a competition, there should still be the option to call and discuss.

When you built your website, how many points of contact are available to your potential customers? How much online presence do you have to maximise your customer reach? From your social media accounts, your website, your marketing material, your signage and more……….absolutely every bit of your branding needs to be true.

The hardest thing to bear is silence. If you are indeed making things and putting them out in the world, what does silence mean? Do they hate it, but they’re just being nice? Are they afraid to say anything? Do they think your too busy to respond, or that you’ll be angry or just not care? What’s your silence saying about your business?

But then you have another obligation – when that potential customer does make contact, you need to ensure you have some method in place for returning that contact. If you are too busy or not interested in doing that task, then you need to find a person or contractor to assist your business. A virtual receptionist can respond to your calls as an answering service if you are too busy to pick up the phone (or want to be more productive and leave the messages to a VR). A virtual assistant can assist you in changing your marketing to reflect your current branding, your contact points and online presence.

Next time a potential customer makes contact with your business, try monitoring your response rate and see where or how you could improve. After all, they have identified themselves as a potential customer simply by making contact with you so why would you want to let them drift away to your opposition?