How to Keep Customers and Find New Ones

A core challenge for businesses today is finding and keeping customers; for some businesses this is going to be easy but for a lot there are factors such as competition and marketing techniques that often give rise for concern. Honing in on internal challenges, we look at how a small businesses market itself; small businesses often depend on the conventional approach of using ‘cold calls’ and sales presentations. Lack of sales and marketing experience, regardless of knowledge can be confrontational, and here we can identify a sub-challenge, confrontation.

Lets put this into context, communication is essentially the bedrock of customer relationships and it will take many forms. When we inform potential customers and clients about our products, we can only go so far with calling and emailing, yes it is effective, but at the end of the day people want to see and discuss with you in person what it is you have to sell. For either party, meeting up in person for the first time can be confrontational and yet the sales process hinges on it.

Video conferencing is something which has developed to such a point that it is used primarily for this purpose; it has been taken into criminal law proceedings and is used by lawyers. This is because it is less confrontational to those who are testifying, and really, it makes the process quicker and easier. Toning it down a notch, video conferencing is not only less confrontational but it is a way to make businesses operations quicker and easier, same philosophy, different scenario; as a small business owner travel expenses are necessary in some situations but not all, and let’s say I want to reduce my expenditure by up to 60%. Here we will need to distinguish the difference between real travel and virtual travel.

Sometimes it will take four to five phone calls to get something right with the person on the other end, or about 8 to 12 emails and this gives rise to the need of a meeting, but what kind of meeting? Video conferencing enables people to connect and communicate effectively, rather than rely on verbal or written presentations, you’re able to express what it is you wish to communicate. Regularly seeing your customers will without a doubt improve your relationship with them as well as the ability to increase the quality of your communication.

But what if video conferencing is not your thing, there are more ways to keeping customers engaged such as being active and highly responsive. When a potential customer rings, they want the call to be answered; statistics show that 34% of callers who hang up will not call back. So what happens when sales staff are out of the office? I think it is pretty self-explanatory. The challenge here is reducing that 34% statistic to a more competitive figure, by getting sales agents active to pick up office calls when they are in and out of the office. Phone systems today deliver more than just a way to connect with colleagues, clients and customers, that is if the phone system your business is using is innovated. One of these ways include configuring a modern day phone system to tether more than one device to a single number, where an incoming call can be received on either mobile, desk phone or laptop.

An example, Ted is a sales agent who travels one day a week, when he receives calls at the office they have to be redirected by the receptionist. The customer will then be placed on hold for about 38 seconds, however if the call last longer than this, to say about 115 seconds, the customer will become dissatisfied and hang up. If Ted’s business phone system allowed him to tether his mobile phone, then Ted would be able to answer any incoming office call almost instantly.

Technology is changing, and that presents new challenges, but at the same time it also provides small businesses with solutions and marketing opportunities. Video conferencing reduces confrontation, travel time and costs, as it is easy to connect and deliver a sales pitch virtually; keeping customers intrigued and developing a strong business relationship. Device twinning, reduces hold time and bounce statistics; finding potential customers because your business is not missing out on any new opportunities that come its way. My recommendation is that every small business should assess its communication and collaborative tools. Ask yourself, what does your phone system do for you, is my customer satisfaction low? Understand the problem, define the challenge and work on what precisely needs to change and develop a solution.