When it comes to relationships it takes effort. You can’t have a relationship with an organisation, it’s always with someone within it. You want to talk to a human being.
However, now technology has taken over the planet, things are moving faster and faster and there just aren’t enough hours in the day.
If you’re in a dedicated customer service role, you probably have plenty to do just reacting to incoming enquiries – and complaints, without a spare minute for proactive relationship building.
If you’re a small business owner or sole trader, it gets even tougher. There’s always something critical that needs doing and gets in the way of your best intentions. There’s the sales activity to ensure there’s enough work coming in, there’s the accounts to do so you stay on the right side of HMRC (and your accountant), there’s the actual delivery of your products or services – who has time to chat with customers and potential customers?
It’s ironic that the very technology that has made things easier has also sucked up all our spare time – just because we’re all dealing with vast amounts of information and expected to manage many more tasks in far less time.
So it’s time to make that technology work for its living!
First, you’ll need to do a little research – some information you’ll have internally, some you may need to ask your customers about. You may already know the answers to some of the questions you need to ask.
- When someone first becomes a customer what paperwork do they need?
- What are the most common questions a new customer asks?
- Are there any issues that many customers face in the early stages of using your product or experiencing your service?
- What have customers said was the most helpful information you’ve given to them – and at what stage did they need this?
- Are there any reminders that customers would benefit from receiving?
- What do customers worry about most in relation to your product or service?
You’re beginning to get the idea. Ask your sales team, your customer service people, maintenance and support and, of course, a selection of customers, old and new. If you’re a small business then you may already have anecdotal evidence yourself.
Now create an email for each issue and put them in the order that will be most useful for the customer. Set them up with a welcome message as message 1 and a P.S, on every one that they can pick up the phone and call you at any time (or put your business hours).
You’ve now created an autoresponder series. Set this up in one of the many online data management platforms (e.g. AWeber, ConstantContact, GetResponse, MailChmp, etc.) and simply add each new customer to the list as they come on board.
Initially, they may get emails almost daily as they get started, then they can be at longer intervals – as long as the customer gets the information they want at the appropriate time. It takes the pressure off customer service and allows you to spend time helping those customers who need your focused attention.