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 and 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.
This 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.