This morning I searched around on the internet for some possible suppliers for one of my new projects (more details soon).
I typed in my search criteria in Google as one does and chose to call the first three companies that caught my eye and who also seemed to offer what I wanted. I discarded a couple as they were clearly USA orientated. Here is what happened with the three companies I called:-
1. The first company only had a mobile number as a contact point. I called anyway and asked if they had a landline I could call on. I was told it was only for sales enquiries! So I wondered how their potential buyers got hold of this number. Anyway, the gentleman I spoke to was very helpful and shared some excellent product information and guided me as to what I should be looking for.
I went back to their website and saw a bit about ordering samples – I emailed and hopefully will receive some samples soon. The person I spoke to missed a trick though – has he offered to send me samples in the first place, I would have been quite impressed.
Anyway, just after I wrote this, my email request has been acknowledged, so great turnaround – I am more impressed!
2. I then called the second company which had a very glitzy website but no images of the types of products I wanted. The website was all very technical and heavy. The person I spoke to sounded like I had just disturbed him in the middle of something. I explained what I wanted only to be told that the person I wanted to speak to was away – and could they call me back.
This time I asked if I could have samples sent to me, and I was told yes, but no attempt was made to take my details and help me there and then. So in the end, I emailed them myself – and now await some samples.
Funnily enough, I just had someone call me back 🙂 My initial reservations were negated and I feel more re-assured now.
3. By the time I made my third call, my expectations were not much. I was thinking that here I am – a genuine customer who could potentially be worth thousands to a company and yet no one seemed to be going out of their way to make it easy for me.
This time I was greeted with a very chirpy female voice which cheered me up no end and after listening to my requirements put me through immediately to the right person in sales. This person already knew what I was after, so I had no need to repeat my requirements. I was asked in detail just what my requirements and was then offered some samples which would be sent out the same day. The whole impression given was off a well organised, large company.
I then re-visited that company’s website which had a lot of useful information and even photos of the sales person I spoke to. The whole experience was much more personal and I was made to feel that I mattered.
I called back the switchboard operator who confirmed that they were one of the market leaders in their field. At this point I decided to make no further calls and will now make my buying decision based on the samples, pricing etc from one of these 3 companies. But I already know which one I am drawn to more, all else being equal.
My project may require me to have an ongoing business relationship with one of these companies, so first impressions really do count.
I now await the samples and in due course will announce more details of my new project.
So the learnings for us here are:-
How does your company come across in all its communications?
Every interaction with a potential customer makes a huge difference to the ultimate conversion or not to a buying customer.
When you answer the phone, do you sound interested or irritated?
Do you make it easy and convenient for your customers to contact you?
Does your website have useful product information or glitzy technical jargon?
Do you under-promise and over-deliver? Or vice versa?
Do you provide your potential customers with a great experience?
What will YOU now do different when you communicate with your customers?
Also, every interaction with another human being is an opportunity to either inspire or deflate.
How do YOU come across in all your communications?
What will YOU now do different from now onwards when you communicate with another person?