Over the past few weeks, I went back and looked at some of the questions we received from clients. As I looked back at the answers we provided I noticed a few things.
- People are in a hurry and want answers now.
- Information provided to potential customers is often very vague and useless.
- People will make decisions electronically as much as over the phone.
- Response and service are often bigger differentiators than price.
- Often times, companies never follow-up on potential work available to them.
Maybe you’ve seen some of these items in your own company or had experience with these items in trying to buy products or services from another company. The point here is that today I feel a lot of business is coming in the door and leaving because we did not take action soon enough.
The big takeaway for me is that follow-up is the key. I continue to look at this topic and try to find ways to better manage this process. I am coming to the fact that client service is really critical in this process. Timing is everything. There have been times when we missed out on a big transaction because we did not act fast enough getting back to the client. In one case we received a request for information by email and we sent a response back to the client an hour later. The customer replied back to us and told us he went with another company because we did not react fast enough.
In other cases, I am finding that the experience of getting information back to clients needs to be improved. Many people are quick to respond to client responses using text that is not well thought out or proofed before sending back to the client. Information that has misspellings or incomplete sentences does not reflect well on companies and today with mobile technology, many mistakes or auto-correct spellings are sent to customers.
Another area I am seeing changes is shorter lead times. In the past, companies were given RFP (Request for Proposals) and given a 30 day lead time to send information back. Today, companies are lucky to have 24 hours to get pricing information back to the client. It is a sign that companies are trying to shorten the process and they want to move much faster today.
I bring up this article as a wakeup call to myself to continue to work harder in this area. It is an area I will be monitoring more closely in the future.