When was the last time you made an enquiry with your business and walked through the process?
Do you know what message someone gets after they submit an enquiry on your website?
Do you know all the platforms that someone can contact you on?
Some of the platforms could include Google My Business, Facebook Messenger, LinkedIn, Website, Etsy… the list goes on! I am alluding to the real question: Can you say with certainty where all your notifications go?
Are you accidentally ghosting your clients?
If you can’t say with certainty what happens after someone enquires or purchases a product from you from any platform, it’s time to make sure you don’t have a bottleneck in your process.
A good exercise is to plot out how you communicate with someone once they become a client or prospect? You can draw up a flow chart in Word or Excel.
The balancing act
As a small business, we have to balance resourcing to do the job with the administrative burden of ‘good customer service. And we, of course, also don’t want to annoy our clients!
Let’s say you received an email enquiry for a quote today. You know you will reply to that email with a quote tomorrow, but you need to do some background work first.
Without a confirmation email that says ‘Thank you for your enquiry, we will respond with a quote within 24-hours’… how does your client know their message has been received, let alone your response time?
I liken a thank you email to the social norm of saying hello. Imagine that you are at a party and you say hello to someone. And they ignore you for 10-minutes.
By then you probably have moved on, found someone who acknowledged you and made you feel like you were valued.
At the end of the day, a simple thank you email from a web form can potentially improve your customer retention and conversion. Yet so many small businesses don’t have them set up.
This is communicating for conversions.
If you were to enquire as a customer and go through your system, ask yourself at every touchpoint:
Can I communicate this better?
Can I automate this?
What action do I want my clients to take (not calling you for a progress update also counts!), and is this communication effective in making that happen?
Map your customer journey
I like to flip the customer journey when I map it and start at the end.
I start by asking: How do I want this interaction to end?
If we are honest, it ends with me being paid on time and with a happy client.
To get to this endpoint, my communication process needs to know what potential pain points I may have as a business and what will irk my prospective clients.
What do I need to have in place that clearly defines the scope of work and payment terms?
What are the pain points that my clients might have that would make working with me a poor experience?
Start with the end
Look at how your interaction ends:
How do you sign off on the completion of work?
Can this be automated if you finish a service, so an invoice is sent as soon as the work is complete?
If you are a face-to-face service with a client or send products, are you asking for a review at the point where they are happy with the purchase or service?
Let’s work back
How do you keep clients updated on the progress of work?
Communicating that a project is on track, especially when there is nothing new to report, can seem like a waste of time
But from the client-side, does a quick note at the end of the week letting them know you are on track for delivery give peace of mind?
Is this something that can be automated, so it is not an administrative burden
Will it stop them from calling you for updates and free up your time?
Are automations the death of personalisation?
Personalised service is a strength of small businesses. You can spend time on the interactions that matter by reducing your administrative burden. Automations help you communicate better and help you compete with better-resourced companies. In fact, by removing these little time-consuming tasks, you can spend more time working on your client relationships.
Technology is constantly changing, so it is worth taking a moment to workshop your communication processes. If you can get your process right, your preferred endpoint becomes easy to achieve.