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How are you communicating with Customers?

By on March 19, 2014 in Customer Service with 4 Comments

Has technology changed the way you are communicating with customers?

It used to be a customer found us in the phone book, called and scheduled an appointment and from there on out everything was done verbally, whether in person or on the phones. These days, the availability of handheld technology has created an “on demand” type of mentality. We are all seemingly available 24/7 (I am not so sure that is a good thing!). How do we handle communicating these days?

Texting and Emailing

Texting can be great for quick questions, updates or pictures, after you have made the initial contact texting customersand exchanged information and permission. Some people may not text, so it is something you need to discuss with a potential customer. It is interesting to see the topic being discussed here as early as 2009, and to see how things have changed.

Email is the preferred electronic communication for many, it keeps a “paper” trail, can be answered at almost any time, easier to “cc” others to keep them in the loop and is easier to archive than texts.

Telephone

oldphoneThis is usually the best method for communicating with customers, especially if there are important decisions to make, or issues to resolve, but even then, I usually send a follow up email to recap the conversation to document. It is good practice to keep in touch with customers during a job in whichever manner they are most comfortable with.

What about communicating with potential customers?

Not only has technology changed what we may do, but it has also changed how potential customers may search for us. With 87% of American Adults using the internet, having an online presence is a must. But it also means you need to be available to answer as people are searching, often they will want to set an an appointment, answer a question or talk to someone now, if they are not able, they may move on to the next painter on the list.

How can potential customers reach you?

Go ahead, go look at your site or Facebook page right now!

  • Is your phone number prominent?
  • How about your email address?
  • Or do you require folks to fill out a contact form that they can only hope will be responded to?
  • Do you list the areas you work in?
  • Do you make it easy to contact you?

Even if you do have your contact info displayed, are you reachable? Are you able to take phone calls, answer emails while you are working to set up appointments?

I know of a few painters that have a pop up chat window on their site, but have admitted that it is hard to manage unless they are at their computer, or have a secretary/office manager to monitor it.

Here is an option that may work for some

Using a third party hosted chat software, like Set to Chat or Website Alive. There are many more available, leave a comment below and let us know about one you are using.

Chris Haught

Chris Haught

Editor at Blogging Painters at Partners in Sites
Chris Haught likes to spend time online helping other business owners to learn more about how to improve their business and social media profiles. Chris is an avid blogger and technology nut.
Chris Haught
Chris Haught
Chris Haught
Chris Haught

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There Are 4 Brilliant Comments

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  1. Hey Chris, Great post! This active websites is such a great idea. It would be helpful if there was a service that could interact with customers right from a smart phone or tablet, almost like text messaging. For example, if a potential customer is on a computer and you get the question/comment right to your phone.

    In your travels, did you see anything like that? I am going to keep looking too, now that you put this great idea in my head!

    • Chris Haught says:

      Hi Matty, I have seen several, but most of them will show you as offline unless you are online, hence the benefit of this service, which has someone to answer during business hours. You could probably put something on your site that says “Text or Call me now”. The way a service like this works is that they can answer questions and collect customer info and send to you to follow up. I’ll keep my eye out for you though!

    • Len says:

      There is one that has mobile apps, Comm100.com. So as long as you choose to be signed in you will get the notification and message right away.

      These ones with operators outside of your company seem pointless. There is no incentive, or knowledge base, for them to answer visitor questions. Their only incentive is to collect visitor email address’ so they can charge you. Which is annoying as a visitor if you are expecting to chat and get a question answered. As a visitor I would prefer is show as offline or an email form.

      • Chris Haught says:

        Hi Len, how are you? That was my initial thought at first, and I actually blind tested them with some paint specific questions based on a contractors website and they did very well. A lot of the contractors I have talked to would like this feature, but are not able to “man’ the chat. This seems like a good solution. I do like the idea of the mobile app, that way contractors can answer from the field. Thanks for sharing that link.

We would love to hear what you think!

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