At Your Service: Let’s talk touch points
Let’s think about how you can communicate with your current and potential new customers. Ready?
In person, by phone, email, fax (this one’s fading fast), radio ads, flyers, newspaper ads, maybe even television ads, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat and a barrage of other social media avenues that seem to be popping up everywhere at a very fast rate.
It’s a lot of effort, so we need to evaluate which methods work. To communicate effectively we actually need to tailor our touch points to each specific customer we are trying to reach. Picture the customer you want to reach with a particular message and ask yourself what they would prefer. Posting on Facebook may work well for the 25-to-40-something audience, but many of your not-so-young (as opposed to old) customers might prefer a phone call or an email. When we constantly bombard customers with the same type of touch point, we could possibly push them away. If we use the wrong method to reach out to certain customers, we may never receive a reply.
What about Millennials? They love Instagram, Snapchat and videos. Sending an email to their personal account may mean they won’t check it for weeks.
So whether we are marketing to our existing customers, trying to reach new customers, trying to contact a customer for an appointment or asking them to place another order with us we need to know what method works best for that particular customer.
Case in point: my dentist, whom I consider a master in marketing (most of the time) has had her staff sending out text messages and automated messages through email saying I need to call the office and book an appointment. While this may work well for some of their customers, I prefer a phone call from a live person. Call me old fashioned (not old), but actually talking to someone is what I prefer. I waited four months but still no call – just several text messages and automated messages through email saying I needed to call to re-book. I finally called and the receptionist said, “We’ve been trying to reach you forever. Where have you been?”
To which I replied, “Really? I’ve been waiting for a phone call from you and just wanted to see how long it would take.”
“Well, this is the way we contact our customers now because we are very busy during the day and picking up the phone isn’t as effective.”
“Well, I’ve been with you for how many years now? I have always received a phone call and I still prefer a phone call, please.”
I booked my appointment and when I saw my dentist, I let her know that some people (meaning me) prefer to have a phone call when due for a visit.
Here’s the kicker: my dentist didn’t know that the receptionist wasn’t following her guidelines properly. If the patient hadn’t replied within two weeks of their automated touch points being sent, she was supposed to call each patient to arrange a booking, not send another text or email. Apparently, the receptionist didn’t like calling patients.
The dentist was too busy working on her patients to see that the procedures weren’t being followed properly. When she questioned the receptionist, the receptionist said that she shouldn’t have to chase people like that. The next time I visited my dentist, they had a new receptionist that actually called me to book my appointment.
I’m constantly testing my suppliers all the time with situations like this to see if they are catering to their customers’ needs. More often than not, it gives me great material for articles like this one.
If you are unsure of how your customer likes to be communicated with, try picking up the phone and calling them. I still believe this is the best way to communicate with our customers. Once you reach them, ask them what method they prefer, make a note of it and use it moving forward. Your customer will appreciate it and you will make better use of your time.
Russ Dantu is a 30-year veteran of the rental industry and has been delivering workshops, seminars and keynotes on customer service