Marianne actually found this one and it was pretty good. In a recent blog post on one of the sites we follow called “Sparky Firepants,” David Billings wrote about a recent experience he had trying to obtain insurance for his business over the Internet (You can see the full blog post here).
He was shopping around to different web sites and came across one that looked promising, so he decided to fill out their on-line form get more information from the company.
As a business owner, you know your time is stretched all over the place, and in reality the Internet can help you IF other businesses used it correctly. In his humorous post he explains the nightmare that he went through and basically was turned off over the lack of personal service.
What I have decided to do was take his story, and come up with some tips to keep you from not being the one who is losing customers simply because you are not using the Internet correctly.
1. Follow-up within a few (business) hours – If someone sends you an e-mail, contacts you through your website or even sends you a message on Facebook, it is just proper business etiquette to follow-up with them in a few business hours. Maybe you are busy, maybe you don’t have the time to deal with it at the moment, but a simple reply back will tell person that a human being got their message and will be dealing with their request soon.
2. Check your e-mail at least 4 times a day and respond – I don’t know how many times I have sent out an e-mail message to a business account, to get no reply back. IS THIS HOW THEY CONDUCT BUSINESS WITH THEIR CLIENT’S AS WELL? No wonder they say the Internet doesn’t work.
3. Make it simple – In David’s blog he stated it took him 10 minutes to fill out the on-line request form. Really? Do you really need that much information from an initial request? If you are on top of your communications, you really only need a name, e-mail, maybe a phone number, and what they are requesting. Anything else is too much and too complicated.
4. Make it personal – Automated responses should only be used to let the person know that the website processed their submission. That’s it. You have to remember, Internet technology is a tool to help you do your business, not run your business for you. People still want to know that there is a person on the other side of the computer screen, so make it more personal.
5. Be professional – Making it simple and personal does not mean you are not to be a professional. People are coming to your to a product or service, they are not coming to you to be a friend. Friendship can come later after they are your client. At first you need to present yourself as a professional who is an expert in the product or service that you are providing.
6. Follow-Through – Once you make a reply back to the initial request, it is now on you to follow-through and see that the request is resolved. If you don’t hear back from the potential client again, you are the one that lost the customer if you don’t try to contact them again.
Well, this is my philosophy and my opinions. Maybe you don’t agree with me and that is fine. But I would like to hear your thoughts about this. Please place your comments below.