I’ve passed the business dozens of times and planned to contact it about their services. Finally, I decided to take time to call and see if they could provide what I needed.
Passing by, I slowed down to get the phone number, saying it aloud in my head until I could pull over and safely dial. Hoping that I had gotten the number correctly, the phone was ringing several times. I got a message that caused me to assume it was a wrong number. The voice mail mentioned the name of a person, not a business. So I circled back to get the number again.
Dialing again I assumed the mistake was mine. It was not. This time, a man answered, “hello”. Though he was polite, he sounded like he was in an airport and kept beeping numbers during our conversation. I could picture him trying to talk while holding the phone to his shoulder while doing something else.
It took weeks to make this call, and now I felt the disappointing need to find alternatives. My assumption was based on the impression that I had reached a person, not a business. My second assumption was this man was too busy to help me quickly and would not be able to give me the attention I wanted.
While these may be unfair assumptions, they are still assumptions that have a cause and effect. His actions caused my reaction, and as a result I decided to keep looking. Ironically, this company has done a good job of marketing. They installed a colorful sign with great visibility. The phone number was listed big enough to see it while driving by. His location appeared to be extremely convenient to the nearby neighborhoods. However, when all of those combined efforts produce contact with a customer, you cannot afford to risk the sale by underestimating the power of contact.
The best way to avoid simple mistake are with simple solutions:
Care: Don’t take a call if you can’t offer the proper care and concern it deserves. You are better off calling back when you can offer your undivided attention.
Competency: Being competent is not enough. Your customer must sense your competency in a few seconds. You cannot allow customers to assume you are too busy or unable to help.
Communication: Cell phones are a fabulous tool, but manage your voice mail system daily. If you are not available don’t leave a message that makes them wonder who they called. The voice mail message they hear will cause a direct response on the impression you make on the caller.
While business is not easy, it is simple. Mastering basic principles can help protect you from lost business due to mis-communicating your ability to serve and take care of your needs.
What message are you sending? Keep in mind those three key ingredients. Care, competency, and clear communication. Don’t give them any reason to check your competitors!