Are Your Customers Willing To Jump Through Hoops To Work With You?

Just recently I have had a couple of experiences that I would classify as “less than perfect” customer service.  One, I had to fill out the same information 3 times in 3 different ways just to contact them. Now I do understand they want people to work a little bit to get through as they don’t want window shoppers. I totally get that but I had to:  Fill out a contact form (pretty normal so far) Then I had to send them my mobile number and reply to 4 different text messages answering questions (that were already filled out on the form and I’m not a text guy to begin with!) Then I had to fill out a survey form (basically answering many of those same questions again And finally, after that… I finally got to the point of what I needed to do to actually work with them.  Talk about frustrating! It took me 30 minutes JUST to get to the point of actually getting what I actually needed.  He next scenario was with a warranty program I had to deal with last week. My battery on my phone is dying at a rapid rate so I called the warranty company to get them to send me a new battery. I know it’s included with the plan. All I should have to do is call them, tell them what’s happening and verify my address, right?  Nope, after 30 minutes of verifying every bit of information they have with me, finding out that the email they have on file isn’t the one I thought I had used (Which they refused to go any further until I verified the email address for them) and getting disconnected 3 times, I was about to just call it in. It would have been faster for me to drive to the retail shop and talk to someone there.  So why do so many companies make it so hard for clients to work with them?  I am an automation guy. I love systems that help make my life easier. But, not at the expense of my clients getting frustrated because they want to give up before they even get to work with me. Working with me should make their life better, not give them an anxiety attack!  Now, I’m an advocate for the “Red Velvet Rope” Policy making potential clients up though a few hoops to work with you. It’s what helps us keep the P. E. T. A.  Clients out (Pain In the A**), but not to the extreme that it discourages EVERYONE from even bothering to want to work with us.  Remember, people’s time is valuable. It’s not any less valuable than ours so we have to respect that.   Think about the process your clients go through to work with you. Is it painless? Is it easy or does it confuse them? Do they get dropped and have to start over?  These all cause friction in the sales process that turns prospects off and instead of creating raving fans we create annoyed complainers. Not because they are natural complainers but because we made it hard for them to give us their money.  	•	When someone wants to work with you, do you cancel a meeting last minute and say “we’ve got to re-schedule” or do you apologize and offer a few suggestions on new times as well? 	•	When a client calls you do they have to wait on hold for 30 minutes and answer 20 questions just to get support or do start by asking what you can help them with?  Break down your entire process. What can to eliminate or make more streamlined to get your customers what they need faster and easier? Can you make their day easier but just answering the question without the third degree?  Now, I’m not talking about extremes here. Again, I do believe that your clients should have to go out of their way a little to ensure that they are committed to working with you but don’t make it so hard that why won’t even bother trying.  Remember that customer service is another prong of your sales & marketing. It’s the part that keeps your clients happy, gets them to come back (aka, buy more stuff) and turns them into raving fans that bring in referrals.  It’s all about customer experience and creating raving fans.Just recently I have had a couple of experiences that I would classify as “less than perfect” customer service.

One, I had to fill out the same information 3 times in 3 different ways just to contact them. Now I do understand they want people to work a little bit to get through as they don’t want window shoppers. I totally get that but I had to:

  • Fill out a contact form (pretty normal so far)
  • Then I had to send them my mobile number and reply to 4 different text messages answering questions (that were already filled out on the form and I’m not a text guy to begin with!)
  • Then I had to fill out a survey form (basically answering many of those same questions again
  • And finally, after that… I finally got to the point of what I needed to do to actually work with them.

Talk about frustrating!

It took me 30 minutes JUST to get to the point of actually getting what I actually needed.

The next scenario was with a warranty program I had to deal with last week. My battery on my phone is dying at a rapid rate so I called the warranty company to get them to send me a new battery. I know it’s included with the plan. All I should have to do is call them, tell them what’s happening and verify my address, right?

Nope, after 30 minutes of verifying every bit of information they have with me, finding out that the email they have on file isn’t the one I thought I had used (Which they refused to go any further until I verified the email address for them) and getting disconnected 3 times, I was about to just call it in. It would have been faster for me to drive to the retail shop and talk to someone there.

So why do so many companies make it so hard for clients to work with them?

I am an automation guy. I love systems that help make my life easier. But, not at the expense of my clients getting frustrated because they want to give up before they even get to work with me. Working with me should make their life better, not give them an anxiety attack!

Now, I’m an advocate for the “Red Velvet Rope” Policy making potential clients jump though a few hoops to work with you. It’s what helps us keep the P. E. T. A. Clients out (Pain In the A**), but not to the extreme that it discourages EVERYONE from even bothering to want to work with us.

Remember, people’s time is valuable. It’s not any less valuable than ours so we have to respect that.

Think about the process your clients go through to work with you. Is it painless? Is it easy or does it confuse them? Do they get dropped and have to start over?

These all cause friction in the sales process that turns prospects off and instead of creating raving fans we create annoyed complainers. Not because they are natural complainers but because we made it hard for them to give us their money.

• When someone wants to work with you, do you cancel a meeting last minute and say “we’ve got to re-schedule” or do you apologize and offer a few suggestions on new times as well?
• When a client calls you do they have to wait on hold for 30 minutes and answer 20 questions just to get support or do you start by asking what you can help them with?

Break down your entire process. What can you eliminate or make more streamlined to get your customers what they need faster and easier? Can you make their day easier by just answering the question without the third degree?

Now, I’m not talking about extremes here. Again, I do believe that your clients should have to go out of their way a little to ensure that they are committed to working with you but don’t make it so hard that they won’t even bother trying.

Remember that customer service is another prong of your sales & marketing. It’s the part that keeps your clients happy, gets them to come back (aka, buy more stuff) and turns them into raving fans that bring in referrals.

It’s all about customer experience and creating raving fans.

 

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About The Author:
Ely DelaneyEly Delaney is a dad, Best Selling author, speaker, marketing consultant and Founder/CEO of Your Marketing University. His goal is to teach marketing in a simple easy to understand format businesses can use to help gain marketing ideas & market their businesses to boost sales.

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