A hot tub setting on your back patio that no longer works is classified as bulk trash. And bulk trash requires a big truck and some strong backs. The ad in the Local Directory section of my Sunday paper looked like it was the answer to my problem.
AAA Hauling * Hire a Veteran * Large Dump Truck Hauling – Anything! * Phone 123-456-7890
No website, no social media profile, no address, just one phone number. When I dialed the number I heard the following:
“The voice mail for the number you have dialed is full and cannot receive messages.”
I had liked the idea of supporting a small business owner and veteran, but this project could no longer be delayed. No, my next step was not to consult Angie’s List, or to place a notice for the work on Craigslist, or to ask my neighbor if they had a recommendation. I simply called the next ad. The owner, Marty, answered the phone immediately. He hauled away the hot tub that same day. Problem solved.
There are many things that can sink a small business. Some situations, like a full voice mail box, catch you totally off guard. Would backup contact information like a website, social profile or additional phone number have helped AAA Hauling? Perhaps, or maybe I would have still called Marty. The customer experience begins before the customer directly interacts with you and that experience is fragile with a low margin for error. Now, if you are a sole proprietor wearing many hats the customer experience prior to direct contact may not be something you’ve given a great deal of thought. But if you are reading this blog chances are you think about the customer experience quite a bit. Do you have a Total Quality process designed to address the customer experience prior to direct contact? There is no guarantee a new prospect will call a second number or suffer through a website that is under construction, but you might want to check the following:
- Before you sent those emails to your prospects how did they look across all the major web browsers? How did they look on mobile devices? Did you even check? After all, you won’t know for sure how your prospect might view that message.
- What about your website? How does it look when viewed from different platforms?
- Did that last ad have more than one contact channel?
- Does your voice mail message sound professional? When was the last time you checked it?
- Do you have a profile on social media? When was the last time you updated it?
First impressions begin before direct contact and are part of the customer experience. Don’t lose business before the conversation begins.