Secret 2 dont torch the touch points

Customer service gurus refer to the points of contact between a business and its customers as touch points. Every instance when clients or prospects come into contact with you or your firm is a touch point. It is amazing how many consultants understand this concept but take touch points like the telephone and voice mail for granted.

Although it does happen, clients rarely pluck your name and telephone number from the Yellow Pages. Chances are they were referred to you, have checked out your Web site, read an article or two about you, and called their industry contacts. Because of your marketing efforts, the client has a positive impression of your firm. You can easily torch that impression.

It may not seem like a big deal, but think about how you feel when you call a business and a digitized voice says your call is important, but everyone is too busy to talk. That is not the way to show clients they matter to you. Likewise, the generic recording, "Leave me a message and I'll call you back as soon as I can," may work fine for callers to your home, but clients deserve more.

If possible, have a live person answer your telephone. A friendly voice and helpful manner can nudge relationships in the right direction. It doesn't hurt to remember the client's name and use it during the conversation.

Most clients understand when you can't respond immediately. But they might be annoyed to hear that you are in a meeting, went skiing, or are at home. Unless the details are relevant, skip them, take the message, and indicate when the caller can expect a response.

Voice mail is a fact of life, and we all have to use it. Personalize your voice mail by recording a daily message. For example, "Hi, this is Ron. It's Tuesday, November Second. Sorry, I missed your call. I will be checking messages regularly throughout the day, so please leave me one and I will get back to you today. Thanks." Then, make good on that promise.

Your telephone and voice mail system are marketing tools. Recognize that and make the most of a client's first—and every—contact with you.

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