Understanding what transpires at every point of contact with your company can provide some great insights into why prospects and customers may or may not engage with your company. Sometimes it has more to do with the experience someone has than what solutions you have to offer.
The recruitment phase
To illustrate this principle, take my experience when I recently hired a roofing contractor. I conducted a Google search, ran off a list of BBB-affiliated companies in my area, selected a handful and made some calls. At 9:15 in the morning, if you can believe it, I reached only answering machines or had no answer at all. The one company that called me back within an hour was the contractor I ended up hiring.
Out of the gate, these six or so companies disengaged a prospective customer at one of the first points of contact. The company that did call back handled the rest of the call effectively. The staff was professional, communicated that they had the expertise to handle my problem and scheduled an appointment before the phone conversation ended, rounding out the recruitment phase of my experience.
The recruitment phase for most businesses is the most expensive. This phase encompasses advertising, lead generation, Internet presence and all that goes into building market awareness and reputation. It is here where you need to pay close attention to your outbound messaging, how easy you make it for customers to find you and how you respond to them when they do call for help.
Matters to measure success in this scenario might include tracking the source of the lead and ratio of inquiries received to appointments booked.
The engagement phase
The roofer showed up when he said he would and fixed the problem. I was not home at the time of service. He did not leave a card or a service receipt. He never invoiced me. That type of experience does not encourage continued engagement.
What could the company have done differently? It could have left the name of the serviceperson who was sent or left a sticker to place somewhere in my garage to remind me of who serviced my roof. The company could have sent a thank-you note and certainly an invoice. It could have offered to do a thorough inspection of my roof and provided me with information related to structural concerns or a maintenance plan to ensure I get the longest life possible out of my existing roof.
Bottom line: The company could have engaged me in developing a lasting relationship.
The engagement phase for most businesses is about customer service and customer communication. Success during this phase rests on the ability to make the customer feel like a part of your family, that you will take great care of them and be there when they need you again.
Some success measurements in this scenario might include number of repeat customers, the number of full roof inspections completed and the number of maintenance agreements signed.
The post-engagement phase
Here are some examples of how this company might have improved its post-engagement relationship with me. It could have called me after the next rain to make sure the repair was successful. The company could have asked me for a referral. It could have shared its community involvement, new certifications earned, new products or services, or educated me about the warning signs of when a roof needs repair.
Also, the company could send me information on special offers — maybe even a customer loyalty incentive for my next service.
The post engagement phase for most businesses is about building a relationship to have a customer for life. As business owners, it is up to us to remind customers often that we are doing great things and that we will be there when they need us again.
Some success measures for this phase might include the number of services performed over the life of the customer, number of customer referrals, number of customer loyalty incentives redeemed or even the number of new roofs installed.
Consider doing a touch-point analysis to uncover some helpful insights to improving your business’ success at every point of contact. It is well worth the time investment.
Kelly Borth is CEO and chief strategy officer for Greencrest, a 21-year-old brand development, strategic marketing and digital media firm that turns market players into market leaders. Borth has received numerous honors for her business and community leadership. She serves on several local advisory boards and is one of 30 certified brand strategists in the United States. Reach her at (614) 885-7921, [email protected] or @brandpro, or for more information, visit www.greencrest.com.