Communications and customers
are a package deal in the business world. When we look at communications and
how they link to our customers, we need to look at two facets of communication:
the type of communications used and the deployment of the method chosen. Years
ago, customers were satisfied to call a firm by phone and talk to a real person.
That real person could assure the customer that their wishes would be fulfilled,
even if, during the initial conversation the business person could promise no
more than to return the initial call with information.
Over the past two decades,
technology has introduced to us many new and exciting methods of communication,
such as cell phones, pagers, faxes, email, voice mail, web presence, telcons,
intranets and pda's. One would think that more must be better, as we can now
make ourselves accessible in ways most convenient to a variety of customer types
24/7. Unfortunately, today's customers sometimes feel more neglected and shut
out than ever before.
Emails often go unanswered
when requests are made. (Note: their is no need to respond if there is nothing
to say). Voice mails are used as screening devices, from which message recipients
can opt to return calls as they become convenient during busy days, if those
calls are answered at all. With downsizing, many workers are doing the jobs
of two people instead of one. In addition, communications provide us with a
plethora of messages from an abundance of sources. It's no wonder that customers
feel ignored, or feel that they can't trust us to provide the services they
This is where we need to
look at how we are utilizing the many methods of communication with our existing
and potentially new customers. This is where we can seize one opportunity after
another to show our customers that they matter and that their needs will be
met. Build into your communication tools automated devices that respond to the
customer in a timely fashion. The response is immediate and affords the customer
service representative or executive a little more time to reply in depth. Take
a look at your own business and see where you could stand to improve in this
Some additional activities
to consider are:
- Make it a point to check
your communications messaging systems at least every 2 hours.
- Make sure to respond,
even if only to notify that you will be in touch within a certain period of
- Realize that any communication
is an opportunity for business-if not now, then in the future.
- Use auto-responders in
your email queries off your web site or email system (above).
- Place thank you's in
your web design so that customers get the sense that you care.
- Gain the value of group
communications so that multiple parties get the message and you save time.
- Opt for CRM programs
that include automated executable routines.
Again, the new ways of communicating
with customers work to your benefit. It is in the way these communications are
utilized that will determine whether customers are provided with quality service
or not. Frequently evaluate your responses to your customers, and upgrade where
necessary. You are bound to keep old customers and win new business with attention
to this area.
David & Lorrie Goldsmith
are founders of the Syracuse based MetaMatrix Consulting Group Inc. Their firm
specializes in consulting and speaking services. They can be reached at 315-476-0510
888-777-8857 or emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org