Consumer Experience IS Your Brand: Tips for Improving Communication and Closing Leads
Our entire business is built on communication—beginning with prospective clients. How you answer the phone, respond to an email, or carry yourself in a meeting is all a reflection of your company. So, when I was planning my son’s birthday recently and reaching out to businesses for everything from party favors to balloons, I was surprised at how I was treated as a potential customer.
Unanswered phone calls during business hours (I cannot stress enough the importance of answering phone calls), multiple filled contact forms without response, and a few less than professional attitudes all added up to plain poor customer service and one lost customer. I promise this isn’t a vent post, so hear me out. My experience made me think about the often-overlooked importance of first impressions in business, which are key to the success of a brand.
Whatever the industry, business size, B2B or B2C, consumers always remember their first interaction with a brand. Everything comes down to consumer experience. The website may be beautifully designed, user-friendly, and have messaging that converts, but, if no one reaches out to the form fill responses—that consumer experience will not be a positive one. It’s another instance of the historical divide between sales and marketing, where one has increased the spend on SEO for a higher search ranking only for the other to stockpile leads without following up once the consumer displays interest.
To prevent another frustrated consumer, whether they’re buying mylar balloons or product warranty renewals, I recommend the following approaches as effective business communication techniques:
CobWeb contact forms
I have a weekly practice of filling out the form myself to make sure our web contact form isn’t gathering dust. Each inquiry submission is sent to multiple team members AND to my personal email, to ensure someone replies within a reasonable amount of time.
You’ve got (junk) mail
Don’t let the perfect lead slip through the filters of your inbox, make checking your email clutter, spam, and/or junk folders a daily endeavor. Whether or not it’s a technical issue will be unimportant to the consumer who isn’t contacted promptly, so take it upon yourself to check at a set time each day.
There’s nothing worse than being made to feel like an inconvenience when you’re attempting to give a brand your business. Poor manners are an instant brand killer. Whatever the day has dealt you, communicate nothing but professionalism and politeness.
Lose with grace
If a customer tells you they went in a different direction, wish them the best. Then, if it doesn’t work out with the other vendor, they will remember you and are more likely to return to you for business than if you don’t respect their decision to go elsewhere.
Timing is everything
No matter your bandwidth, at least let the prospect know you will get back to them and put a date on it. In our world of instant gratification, timing is of the essence and is often the difference between winning and losing business.
Again, my toddler’s birthday may have gotten me thinking about all of this, but it goes well beyond birthday parties. Consumers will forget what you say, but they will never forget how they made you feel. When you practice empathy and prioritize their time, that becomes your brand, and that’s equity you can’t buy.
If you’re interested in learning more about our client experience consulting, and how to meet customer needs and expectations, take a look at our portfolio or give us a ring, we’re always on the other end of the line.