Best Practice: Match the Preferred Communication Method of Your Customer

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By Mike Brown, Co-Founder and CEO, ModBargains

In today’s ultra-connected world, there are dozens of ways to communicate with family, friends, and customers. I have found that with my customers my conversion rate, satisfaction rate, and referral rate all seem to be directly correlated to me responding to my customers in their preferred communication method. What does this mean, and first off what are the communication methods I find customers use to contact me? Here are the most popular:

  • Phone
  • E-mail
  • Facebook messenger
  • Instagram comment
  • Online Forum private message
  • Text message (if they have my #)

As an example, let’s take a look at the classic e-mail vs. phone communication. My customer emails me to ask for details about a product. Why is he e-mailing instead of calling? It could be many different reasons. Maybe he is at work and is being sneaky and not really working, he’s shopping. Perhaps he doesn’t want to get on a phone call yet because he isn’t ready to buy and is fearful of being pressured into a purchase he is not ready for. Or there is a chance that he never developed social phone skills and that makes him nervous, while he can type 120 words per minute and fly through e-mails.

If I choose to pick up my phone and call this customer unannounced instead of choosing to e-mail him back, I risk losing him. Why? Because it will make him uncomfortable. It will indicate to him that I care about my own preferences more than I care about his preferences. I will communicate disrespect. Yes, disrespect, by calling him instead of e-mail him. But isn’t a call more personal? Doesn’t that indicate that I am putting this customer first, as my main priority, and shouldn’t that customer appreciate that? No, absolutely not.

What if I feel I will be more effective and more helpful to this customer if I can get him on the phone instead of some form of digital communication? ASK FOR PERMISSION. What works best for me is to e-mail him back and ask to schedule a phone call. This shows a high level of respect. In fact, many customers refuse the phone call, and I complete the transaction without ever talking to them on the phone. The key is to continue to communicate in the method the customer wants to communicate with you, because you will always be more effective with that approach.

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