Communicating With Your Customers & Prospects
In our customer service center at Air-Care it takes a full time concentrated effort of several people to maintain communications and process orders for our customers. We communicate with our customers in many ways including e-mail, web site, landlines, fax, and believe it or not some customers still communicate by mail.
Whatever the means of communication, the contact from a customer is handled in a courteous, quick and efficient manner. No matter what size your company is, from a one-man shop to multiple employees communicating effectively with your customers is the only way you’ll survive in today’s business climate.
Even though the way we all do business has changed with online ordering, e-mail, text messaging, etc. we still must communicate with a customer on the telephone on a regular basis. Many customers will resist more modern means of communicating, but are slowly being steered to the Internet and e-mail to do commerce.
In today’s world where everything has to happen in a hurry, the telephone is still an important link to all of our customers. Especially in a service related business; people want to talk to a person when scheduling work to be done in their home or business, many will not place an order for service on a web site.
For that reason you need to be sure that a customer calling your business is responded to in a timely manner. You don’t want a potential customer leaving a message on an answering machine and have to wait until the end of the day or the next day for a return call. They will probably have already reached another contractor to provide the service for them by then.
Most phone systems, land or mobile, have call forwarding options or the ability to retrieve voice messages remotely. With call forwarding, if no one answers the primary phone the call will be redirected to another number, usually your cell phone number automatically. Check with your phone service provider for details on these services.
Another option would be to contract with an answering service that will answer your calls and relay messages directly to you. These may be large call centers or smaller private companies. Either way, with this option your customer will get a live voice and you’ll promptly receive messages or be able to call in for messages.
No matter which method of messaging you choose, you have to retrieve your messages on a regular basis throughout the day. Calls must be returned promptly before the customer has a chance to contact another contractor.
As important as the phone is for communication you still have to give the customer that wants to use electronic communication the ability to communicate with you. Even if you’re from the “Old School” and have resisted having a web site, e-mail communications, text messaging, etc. you should bring you business up to date with modern communication alternatives as well as the standard telephone land line.
Like the customer who will only communicate by telephone, there are many people today who prefer to communicate by electronic means. They’ll look for your presence on the Internet and may move on to another contractor if they don’t find you there.
Whatever option you choose, be sure you communicate promptly with your existing and potential customers. If you don’t someone else surely will.