Want to know how to increase sales, breed loyalty, and save money on expensive marketing? You would think everyone would. Even if you are not a business owner, or manager, you must realize that if you deal with clients it is in your interest to increase sales, breed loyalty, and save money on marketing.
It never fails to amaze me how many businesses just throw it all away by forgetting the very basics of being in business. I hate buying anything – not because I don’t want to part with the money, I just want to make the process as simple as possible. I can’t be alone in this. Why does me – giving you my money – have to be so complicated?
1: Answer the G.D. phone!
Here is a revelation. If your phone is ringing, and it is going unanswered, then by definition you are not answering the most basic needs of your customers. They actually WANT to talk to you – the least you can do is answer. Please note: voice-mail is not answering a phone call. If you are paying a receptionist to put calls through to your voice-mail all day, why not just get a automated phone tree to do it for you! People really hate those, but at least you’ll save some money on the receptionist, and clients will appreciate the honesty of you not wanting to talk to them.
2: Answer Emails!
See all the above, and…
Email is easy! I’m not expecting an instant response. I have not tied you up on the phone for a couple of minutes trying to give you my money. I am all but inviting you to make me wait. You don’t even have to read my terrible handwriting – I’ve typed everything out for you! But please have the courtesy to at least think about answering my email with 24 hours (I’ll even give you more time if it is a holiday or a weekend). To be honest, there is not a lot of excuse for not answering within a couple of hours – but I understand, who needs customers!
3: Don’t insist that I use your website if a: has the wrong information on it, b: has out of date information on it, or c: has no information on it at all.
4: Don’t ignore me in person…
You know, I hate pushy sales people just as much as the next person; but there has to be a happy medium between being accosted every few feet in a store and being unable to find anyone or feeling you are interrupting a social event with your pesky request to give them money.
5: The Tyranny of Choice:
“I’d like to buy a widget to fix my whatsit”
“What kind of widget?”
“Don’t really care as long as it fixes my whatsit!”
“What color of widget would sir like?”
“Eh, red I guess…”
“We don’t have any red widgets sir.”
“Well I don’t really mind what color it is I only want to fix my whatsit – what colors do you have?”
“*sighs* I’ll go look for you. We have X widgets in green or blue, Y widgets in blue or black, and a Z widgets in green and black.”
“What is the difference between an X, Y, or Z widget?”
“Well they come in different colors and the prices are different.”
“Is that it?!”
“I’ll have to get Terry from technical Support to talk to you about that, please hold…”
“This is Terry, I’m sorry I can’t get to the phone but please leave your message after the beep and I’ll get back to you as soon as I feel like it… maybe.”
As I explored in the post Marketing from the Ground Up, what a business sells and what their customers buy are not necessarily the same thing. The staff member in the above example is selling (and I use that term in its loosest possible sense) widgets; but the customer is trying to buy a fix for his whatsit If the business aligned its goals with that of the customer the interaction would have been over in seconds.
6: Just sucking in general.
Do I really have to call / email you 2 -3 times to get anything done? Could you at least pretend like you are pleased to see me when I walk through the door? How about sweeping or mopping the floor once in a while? If you know you are about to screw up – how about a little warning? And if you are really feeling like pushing the boat out – how about an apology for the screw ups when they happen!
You know, the customer is not always right but the basic concept of a customer can’t be wrong all the time.
For your viewing pleasure, Monty Python open a cheese shop and get a customer!