Create A Customer Contact Plan That Adds Value
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!
Elements of a Successful Customer Contact Plan
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:
- Customer Enters Your Place of Business - how quickly are they greeted? Are employees smiling, focused on helping customers, and seeking to learn how they can best assist the customer. The customer should not feel pressured in any way. Put yourself in the shoes of the customer and ask yourself if your team is treating their customers the way you would want to be treated.
- Customer Clicks on Your Business Website - does it look professional? Is the site intuitive and easy to navigate? Do the pages load quickly, free of annoying ads or pop-ups? Does the site offer instant chat with a live human and a direct phone number with office hours listed clearly? Are testimonials verifiable? (Prospective customers may wish to reach out to one of your customers to confirm the quality of your service.)
- Customers Sees/Reads Your Marketing Collateral - do your ads and branded materials clearly communicate the values of the business? Are key messages clearly articulated and are they compelling? Does the brand attract customers based on your purpose, not just the price?
- Customer Answers Phone Call by an Employee - don't call and try to sell products and services over the phone - unless the customer makes it clear they want to buy right now. Instead, use our Courtesy Calling technique to further develop rapport, confirm you are meeting the customer's expectations, and for the purpose of scheduling an appointment with the client.
- Customer Emails a Question to Your Business - is the customer
given the option to be called back directly via phone? Is the question
answered within 24 hours? Does the service representative provide their
direct phone number as a convenient way for the customer to ask a
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.
"The key is to set realistic customer expectations, and then not to just meet them, but to exceed them — preferably in unexpected and helpful ways."
- Richard Branson
Pre-Selling for Customer Growth
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:
- Add Value - before asking anything from the customer, first
ask how you are treating them. "How are we doing? Are we taking good care of you and meeting your expectations?" Be authentic and sincere. Ask for feedback
on how you can improve the service you deliver. Follow up to correct any
issues for the customer. Demonstrate to the customer that you genuinely
- Entice - explain in simple detail what makes your service different or unique. Clearly state the benefits to the customer of what you offer and how you can save the
customer time or money. Use prospect lists to identify new customers,
then contact via traditional and digital advertising and outside calling
- Impress - prepare effective introductory messages for
all first-contact opportunities, regardless of the source. (e.g. storefront, website, outside marketing, etc.) Be sure that your actions support your
service claims. Over deliver on your promises to create positive added value to the customer.
- Produce - sell with the utmost integrity. Stand by
your product and you will experience higher cross-sell results and gain
ongoing referral business.
- Retain - maintain customer loyalty and maximize
customer retention by always doing what you will say you will do. Make sure that your product or service also does everything that you claim it
will. Take great care of your customers and they will take care of you.
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.
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