Congratulations, you have or will soon be starting your own business. I am sure you have thought of how you will deliver your service, but have you thought about your communication strategy? And how scalable that technology is? Probably not. It’s easy right?
Or is it…
The ability to talk to your customer is extremely important, and you must WANT to have those conversations, too. Your technology and strategy will have a huge impact on that possibility coming to fruition or having you throw that ‘same price as a second-hand car’ phone straight out the window, and you need to keep costs low, remember?
We get caught up in the operations of a new business, but we quickly learn that delivering a service is the easy bit.
Dare I say it, the fun bit.
However, staying in-touch and contactable with our customers is the real challenge, and the piece of the puzzle that will reward you with repeat business, jaw-dropping testimonials & glorious referrals.
When it comes to talking, we are not all on the same page… technically speaking. Not even close.
It still amazes me on the tiers of progression there are with expanding a start-up, to a small business to a large business & the demand on communication technology ever increasing in those gaps. The stages in-between for your comms technology and strategy will change, and you need to be sat in a boat that can expand its seats, not one that needs replacing altogether.
Most will wait until it breaks before doing anything about it. The minority will put something in-place that will serve them well for the foreseeable (yay for them), but think about it…
What stage are you at?
I am starting a new business. I will just use my mobile number for now.
For 99.99% of us, this number is going onto a website, a flyer, business card, signage & social posts etc. These are huge lead funnels for your new business enquiries & you have competitors (sorry to say remind you) to differentiate yourself from. Don’t make it easy for them. Ask yourself; do you call people who advertise a mobile number? Is this normal for your industry? A local number will help you look more established, attract local customers & give you a funnel that you can use as your business grows. Filtering contacts through your mobile is not scalable & will lead to difficult decisions being made down the road. I am not saying no one will call you, they will, but I am saying that you could do SO much better with minimal cost.
I am starting a new business. There is no value in landline. It is all on email.
You need email, sure. Put yourself in your customers shoes, perhaps; they need information, have queries (most definitely), need educating or simply in need of peace of mind. Is this really going to translate well in text? A 5-minute conversation with your reassuring tones will imprint far longer in a memory than an email lost in the vacuum of other nonsense & mailers. Remember, they need to remember you, remember?
Think about it, what has been your favourite email you have ever received? Can you think of any? What about face-to-face conversations with helpful customer service teams? Or a pleasurable buying experience over the phone? Much easier to remember. People buy mostly from your body language, but if you are servicing 10’s of customers that is going to be demanding, let alone any business with 100’s. The next best thing is voice and then the words you use, so make sure it is your voice they can hear and not the company down the road that does that same thing as you.
I have started my new business but now I get calls on my mobile when I am not supposed to be working.
It is common. You are starting a new business & you want to be contactable 24/7. However, when business is going well (and we all hope it does, right?), this strategy is not scalable or reasonable. You started this company to have a better work/life balance and you are throwing that away taking calls at evenings and weekends! It is 100% reasonable to have an open and close time. A Cut-off from work. However, without a system that is smart enough to know that, your phone will be forever ringing at all hours, thus making you resent the calls & having a spiralling effect with your attitude to those calls and customers. Don’t be that person. Take those calls at reasonable times & look forward to having them, it is helping your business grow.
I have a local landline number, but it diverts to my mobile at all hours, and I have no control over it.
Good. You at least have the beginnings of a communication strategy that will grow as far as you can see. However, you are only on rung one. One rung above the very bottom. So, let’s get moving up that ladder & put that number on a platform that will give you the perks of; open & close times, automated greetings, company voicemail & call distribution to those with teams to help you. You can even use an auto attendant to give options 1-4 for people to press to get to the right people. Don’t believe the hype that these are annoying & useless. They are superb. It is just some companies (in my opinion) over-complicate them and put far too many layers in them to save time. Time that the customer must spend. Not cool. Keep them simple stupid, and they will be a pleasure for your customers and your team – 4 options max is my view. Who remembers 5 things in a row? Not me. That is why I use OneNote.
I want to hire someone to take my calls, but I cannot give them my mobile phone!
It is not the end of the world. You can divert these to a call answering service – and lots of people do. But that will divert all your calls, and those personal & important ones for (and only you) you will get caught in the web and you will be charged for the privilege. I am afraid it is time for you to invest in a local number & to divert and filter accordingly… and smartly.
I can talk about this subject all day. Fortunately, I don’t because I would probably end up in an empty room, but it really is an important topic & one that will not go away if your company is trading.
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