Keep your customers informed

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A recent project that I’ve been working on with one of my customers – installation of a contact center pre-production platform for a big Telco – has been falling behind because of scheduling and human resources but we’ve managed to keep things on track in the end.

This first started at the proposal stage, in which I was waiting for my operations team to confirm that they could start installing the platform on the 2nd of April. By that I mean that an engineer was available at that date. The customer needed the proposal within 3 days in order to get it approved and place the purchase order on time. Our operations having recruited a lot lately, no expert engineer was available right away, so the operations manager told me he’d figure out a way and get back to me asap. Problem: he got back to me 5 days later, thus 2 days after the customer needed the proposal.

So, what usually happens, you wait until the customer calls you up and asks why he still hasn’t received the proposal, right?

Wrong! And this is where things gain value. I called my customer straight away (I didn’t wait until the end of the 3 days) telling him that I couldn’t deliver the proposal within his timeline, but that nevertheless, he’ll get what he wants, that is a delivery on the 2nd of April. The result is that the customer was happy, feeling relieved because he knew that we were taking care of him. He got the proposal, in which I was able to commit on the delivery, not 3 but 5 days later. In the end, installation of the platform started as he wanted, on the 2nd of April.

Likewise, I ordered a new refrigerator last week and got an email saying that I’d receive it on Monday afternoon. I postponed a meeting I had just to be available at that time, waited all afternoon and didn’t receive anything. I called them at 6pm and got a hold of the answering machine because they were closed. On tuesday, I managed to get a hold of them, threw a fuss, threatened them and finally got the refrigerator on Wednesday along with a 50€ rebate for the inconvenience.

Too late guys! The hurt was there, I’m never going to order through that website again, even with that 50€ rebate. My point here is that, regardless of any problems that they may have had, if they had called me on Monday morning just to tell me that they’d only deliver on Wednesday, I would not have wasted my afternoon, would not have gotten mad and would probably be just as happy. And all this, just because they didn’t place ONE phone call.

The two examples above simply illustrate the fact that communication is necessary with your customers. It improves customer experience and shows that you take care of them. Even if you don’t have the answer to their question, just sending back an email or a call to say that you acknowledged their inquiry and that you’re working on it works fine, and shows that you care. In the same sense, it doesn’t matter (in most cases of course) if you deliver a day late as long as you inform your customers.

What do you think? Please share your experience with us? In the meantime, enjoy your week, and don’t forget about your customers.

Arnaud Dumas De Rauly
You mix Marketing, Customer Relations & Project Mgmt, Pre-Sales, Web/UI Design and serve it all on a Rugby field along with Customer Services and Customer Experience - Follow me on Twitter / Facebook

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