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Managing Your Clients’ Journey – The Initial Contact

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Last year I attended the international Night Club and Bar Show in Las Vegas. The main reason I attended was to meet with my friend. While I was there, I decided to attend some of the workshops offered. I sat in on a class that discussed various scenarios on properly handling the “Customer Experience.” I have to say this workshop could have been presented at any contracting business convention. Same challenges, same issues, same solutions.

The one thing that stood out and was very clear to me was no matter what type of business you may be in, understanding, and controlling every aspect of the “Customer Journey” is essential to success. There could be any point in time where a business could either add value or detract from the overall level of experience during that journey. Whether you own a bar, hotel, gas station, or contracting business, the level of value the client perceives will be based on the journey you provide for them. Since this “Journey” is so important to the success of your business, I’ve decided to write a series of articles that specifically deal with each segment of the journey and how use it to increase your odds of success.

Let’s look at a typical HVAC service contracting business. The “Client Journey” begins when they have a problem that needs to be resolved. Based on the negative impact of the problem, this client will already have a predetermined the level of priority. The part of the journey that involves the contractor will begin when they see the website, business card, flyer, or ad. This will determine whether you meet their specific needs enough to warrant contact with your company. Once the initial contact is made, the customer will have a sense of the type of value you offer. For example, if a client hears a recording that does not sound professional or does not make any commitment that seems to fulfill the need they have, he or she will immediately set a predetermined level of value to your services. In some cases, your level of value may be so low that when they hear the recording the potential client may just hang up and call someone else. This is one reason why I always recommend that contractors have real people, who have a scripted and practiced responses, answer the phone, 24-hours a day, seven days a week. Don’t believe that people will always leave a message, hoping for the best.

The phone is the front door of your business; don’t annoy people with an unprofessional, lack of concern attitude. To me, if I call a business and hear a recording to “just leave a message and we’ll call you back,” I automatically assume that business does not consider me as a priority. I do expect the people on the other side of the phone to be thrilled that I, a potential client, picked your business, out of all the possible places to call, as the one I want to do business with, so don’t screw this up! The biggest obstacle has already been passed; you got me to call you! If you can’t have a staff of your own people do this, pay someone to do it. A great answering service may put you back $100 – $200 dollars a month, but think about it, all you need is one new client to pay for it!

The phone could either kill you or save your business, don’t take that part of the journey for granted. Do the right thing and don’t leave it up to chance to get it right every time. Next issue we will discuss the scheduling and initial visit with your client and how your organization can ensure that everything communicated and presented increases your odds for success!

Frank Besednjak

Posted In: ACCA Now, Customer Service, Management

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