Some business practices are well beyond the sage, Albert Einstein, who once stated:
Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results is insanity.
Advising prospective clients who have telephoned that they will have to wait up to 20 minutes to speak to a consultant, and then declaring we don’t do call-backs is insanity personified and accentuated.
It happens daily. Indeed, all too-often, at great expense to the profile, images, revenues, profits and competitiveness of entities.
Regrettably, managers seem oblivious to the practices and consequences. Hopefully, they do not reflect polices.
The monitoring of incoming calls does not typically recognise, register and report on forsaken businesses opportunities. Indeed, average telephone conversation durations can be reduced, and then applauded by management. Some statistics simply measure the wrong dimensions.
Ignorance about and indifference to service excellence and the value of relationships among receptionists, telephonists and consultants is mind-numbing. Some just don’t get it.
The contemporary global, national and local economies are such that few, if any, businesses can afford to readily knock-back or reject outright business opportunities.
However, regular work-practices are erecting barriers, filters and impediments for those who initiated contact and have self-declared they want and need specific products, services and applications.
A lack of astute, discerning and disciplined recruitment, induction, training and development practices is omnipotent.
A COMMON REFRAIN
If I could talk to more people, I could do more business is a common refrain, particularly among incentive-based sales people. They know the innate value and resultant sales that arise from conversations.
Sadly, many employees believe in, and are driven by the contention that they aren’t sales people. Wrong. Every team member contributes to the sales process and gracious, courteous and responsive communication is fundamental........ natural and easy.
Business processes that do not involve people are typically self-serving, administrative and do not generate revenue and profits. They are correctly designated to be cost-factors.
There is an increasing awakening that in business we all need to seek out, become involved in, enjoy and follow-up opportunities to communicate.
Incentives should not be required to encourage and to have all team members willingly undertaking call-backs. Ringing up prospective customers and clients is the first step in ringing up increased sales and profits.
Indeed, the most consistently successful business, marketing, sales and service people make it a practice to “call-back” existing prospective and past customers. They know that conversations are on-going, and that they need to be part of the process, to ensure that they enjoy the outcomes and consequences.
NEVER TO BUSY
No-one should ever consider themselves to be too busy to make call-backs – or to initiative contacts.
Administration duties, meetings, and budgeting can wait. Customers won’t, and should not be made to do so.
Attrition rates among the relationships with established customers are rising, in some instances up to 40% per annum. Winning back those customers can be, and is, complex, involved, expensive and time-consuming.
Policies like we don’t do call-backs, do free-up time in the now, and in the future. Over the longer-term there are few or no customers to call-back, speak to or to seek out.
There is much to herald about the disciplined practice of call-backs, including:
· Commitments should be given, and fulfilled about call-backs.
· Time horizons should be nominated.
· Records of conversations, undertakings promised and milestones achieved should be documented, retained and programmed for follow-up (to enable further call-backs).
· A daily schedule of at least 6 self-initiated call-backs should be implemented, to maintain enhance and celebrate relationships – which are founded on, and sustained by communications.
FOOTNOTE TO MANAGERS
I commend those who become aware of the practice by competitors that they don’t do call-backs, to initiate contact with the managers of those entities to surrender yourself as being willing to receive and collate the names of those unfilled customers so that they can make those annoying, disruptive, time-consuming call-back calls.
For those customers who are subjected to the inane, if not insane practice of “no call-back policies” contact management and enquire about the identity and contact details of competitors who do call-backs.
They might just get a clear message......hello.....no hang-ups.
Barry Urquhart of Marketing Focus is an internationally respected business strategist, consumer behaviour analyst and conference keynote speaker.
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