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A well crafted customer contact plan can make all the difference when attempting to attract new customers or strengthen existing customer relationships. Contacting customers the wrong way can also be a primary reason for losing customers to your competitors.
Too often companies contact customers for the wrong reason. Primarily, they contact customers to sell them on a new service or product offering. Making matters worse, they choose to call the customer at home during dinner, when the customer is less likely to appreciate receiving a sales call.
When team members are reaching out to customers they should be armed with a message that is appealing to the person answering the phone. Imagine that when your or a team member call a client they see your name or the name of your business and they answer the phone right away because they know if you're calling them you must have something important to share.
Yes, your customers should look forward to talking to you - that's the goal! Your customers should be pleased that you are calling them, not rolling their eyes thinking "Why do these people keep calling me? Ugh."
Smart leaders will create a customer contact plan this turns traditional telemarketing practices on it's head. To do that, you need to put the customer at the top of the priority list, and by doing so your team members will also greatly benefit. From this point forward, team members should only be calling customers for the purpose of adding value to the customer - it's no longer about selling, it's now about "pre-selling".
What is pre-selling? It's about doing all the right things for your customer over time so that when they have a need their very first thought is to contact you or one of your team members, because they know you have their best interests at heart.
"Every great business is built on friendship."
- James Cash Penny
Over time you've taken the time to get to know the customer. You've made certain the customer is getting the best value for their money. You've checked in with the customer to confirm they are receiving the best possible service. You've alerted the customer when they could be saving money or getting a better value using a different product or service. You've made sure the customer knows how to contact you directly with any concerns or customer issues.
In summary, you've demonstrated to the customer that you care for their well-being and you value their business. You've earned their trust, and because of your efforts over time the customer is now a raving fan - which means they are actually doing the selling by referring their friends and family to you. This is the power of Pre-Selling!
When creating a customer contact plan, think about all the ways that your business makes contact with new or existing customers. So far we've only talked about contacting the customer over the phone, but there are many other ways we meet up with customers, right?
Common Elements of a Comprehensive Customer Contact Plan:
Leaders must understand that a business isn’t simply selling widgets – you're selling an
overall customer experience, which should be at the heart of the customer contact plan. It's not even so much about what the customer sees or hears, but it's how they feel when they come in contact with your business.
- Richard Branson
As we stated earlier, Pre-Selling is about doing what's right for the customer. Adding value to customers in a way that is perceived as caring and informative will help your business gain in popularity and profits - through word of mouth and increased referrals from your customers.
As you think through your customer contact plan consider these important objectives:
A key question for every leader is, “What customer experience are you providing?” Intentional or not, when your customer walks away they've just had an experience - was the experience, poor, average, good or Great? How did they feel? When they talk to their friends about your product or business, what will they be saying? Do you know?
If you aren't sure, then it's time to create a customer contact plan that serves first and foremost the best interests of your customers. Once the plan is put into motion, you'll focus much less on needing to sell, and you'll reap the many rewards that come from "pre-selling" your customers.
Get started on creating an amazing customer contact plan today.