At the moment we are looking at new kitchens; it is a big financial investment, and the company will be in our home for a month, so we want to choose the company as well as the design carefully. In come cases the decision has been easy due to the behaviour of the companies we have approached. And whether you are working digitally, face to face or on the phone, remembering to listen to the client is crucial.
For a high ticket purchase, any client is going to look for good customer care; building rapport and trust and to feel valued. The reason why I am sharing this is to make you aware of how failing to listen and develop rapport and engagement with any potential client and client can lead them going elsewhere.
Here are some of the observations I have made so far.
As it was the weekend, I contacted 4 companies that had been recommended to me through friends. I added all of my details; asking for a brochure, our timescale, and all contact details. Not one company contacted me by phone or email. It is now 4 working days since I completed the form.
I then phoned up the companies, to follow up. Perhaps there had been some technical problem (I doubt it); or they were inundated with enquiries. The first company I contacted had an extraordinary response. I called and asked if it was possible to have more information; I had completed an online form but wanted to follow up as I had had no response. I was put on hold; I was then put through to someone else who clearly had not been briefed. I repeated what I had said; I was put on hold again, and the same situation was repeated. Reluctantly I was given an appointment for the company to view my existing kitchen; no offer of sending brochures beforehand; no enthusiasm or rapport; no apology for not responding before. AND they couldn’t offer me an appointment for over 2 weeks. I have since cancelled the appointment.
I left 3 further voice mails. Only once company has been back in touch. He apologised for me leaving a voice mail and was very helpful. He listened to what I was looking for. He has arranged an appointment. Success: for me that I have someone providing a quote, and for him because he has a good lead.
I don’t know if these businesses are so busy. Good luck to them if that is the case. But if you have a contact form, you are inviting people to start a conversation with you. If you do not respond within a couple of days, you will be giving the message that you aren’t interested; you don’t value to person who has contacted you and the person will go elsewhere.
I mention this last point because someone contacted me a week ago to be a volunteer for a charity, and she followed up yesterday. I had had an automated response message so she was aware I had been out of the office. I was very apologetic because of our family tragedy and my son’s A Level results, I had not responded. But here is the rub: I apologised and made it very clear that circumstances had contributed to my non-response.
But also, I was contacted by someone asking me to share some information; add it to blogs; invite me to interview her for my blog etc. I responded; very generously inviting her to be on my VLOG and podcast. NO RESPONSE – and it is two weeks. Does she actually value my offer? Or did she want to bombard lots of people (it wasn’t a personal email) with her demands whilst giving nothing back???