Want more business? Respond faster to your emails
Staying in touch with your customer base is one of the most important things you can do to grow your business and increase sales revenue. At Optum Consulting we receive a lot of emails asking us â€œwhat is the best service we can use to maintain our customersâ€™ email addresses?â€ That’s a great question. Currently we have been using the same service for about seven years. We receive no money from them for telling our clients about their services â€“ this is not an advertisement. And in fact, I bet half the time they might never even know that we recommended them. The simple fact of the matter is that they are one of the best email database services out there for the price. Their system works and they are affordable.
Weâ€™ve done the research and we still think this particular company is the most affordable and best â€˜bang for the buckâ€™ when your company wants to stay in regular contact with your customers every month â€“ which you need to be doing no matter what you are selling, whether it is goods or services. It is one of those â€œessentialsâ€ of good business. If you want to know the name of the company we use, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we will be happy to tell you. I will post future entries regarding just how important building, sorting, cleaning, maintaining, and growing your email database is to any business.
In the meantime, let us focus on another issue regarding business which is just as important â€“ responding to customer emails â€“ or potential customer emails. When you’re in business, if you’re lucky, you are going to receive a lot of emails everyday. Some will be orders. Some will be questions. Some will be complaints. The most important thing you can do to grow your business and keep it growing is to reply promptly to emails from customers or potential customers. We have all heard the common phrase â€œIf one of your customers is happy with your business, they will tell one or two of their friends. If they are UNhappy with your business they will tell FIVE of their friends.â€ Unfortunate but true. This is how you separate the men from the boys so to speak — to use an outdated and slightly sexist phrase.
So let us use a real world example and I will show you exactly what we are talking about here. We just received an email today from a new company in the â€œmusic businessâ€ that calls itself â€œFanbridge.â€ Now new companies in the music business are not a new thing. Especially not NOW. In the new â€œrenegade internet age,â€ a new â€œmusic business-relatedâ€ company crops up every few hours claiming that they are THE THING that will help artists â€œskyrocket your career to the next level.â€ Why? Because letâ€™s face it, it isn’t that difficult to start what â€œlooks likeâ€ a new company in the internet age. You simply create a website and hope that people come along and lay down some money. Whether or not you deliver on the promises you make to your potential customers is an entirely different matter.
Now Fanbridge offers no less than the same thing to its potential customers as well â€“ that they will help â€œskyrocket your business to the success it deservesâ€ if youâ€™ll only use their services to maintain your companyâ€™s email database. And they don’t have a problem emailing you once or twice a week to remind you of it. But just who IS emailing you? The problem is â€“ like with a lot of new internet companies, especially ones that try to cater to ambitious musical artists - is that if you actually email them back to ask a question or two, you will not get a response from a live human being.
Advice? Don’t do business with them. There are plenty of reputable companies out there who WILL respond back to you. And fast. Not just in the music business, but in any industry that you are in. In the music business for example, Cdbaby, Stretch the Skies, MuzicReviews, are all good examples of companies who are out there being run by real live people who want to work with you and yes just might be able to help you â€œskyrocket your careerâ€ or at least give it a good jump-start. Why? Because they are run by real live human beings. How can you the customer tell? Because when you email them you will receive a prompt response to your query.
Personally speaking, one of our companies, our record company to be exact, has emailed Fanbridge three separate times now to answer some simple questions — and we have still not received a reply from them. But we HAVE received emails from them since asking us WHY we haven’t started using their services. Confusing right? You would think that if they wanted our business â€“ and email database management is a profitable business â€“ that they would respond quickly, politely, and effectively to push the sale through. Right? Wrong.
With Fanbridge, as with a lot of new companies cropping up on the internet, they have yet to respond in over a month of email queries from our company. And we have a giant database â€“ which only bodes well for their fledgling company and means big money coming in every month and they need do nothing except teach us how to use their system and then answer a few customer service emails once in a while. Our monthly fee would be free money coming in each and every month as it is for any good reputable email database management company.
So how surprised were we to receive yet another email from Fanbridge today asking us why we hadn’t taken advantage of their â€œgreat offerâ€ and migrated our database over to them? Well frankly not too surprised. For all we know it was an automatically generated message sent by a computer with no human being attached to it at all. The email claimed to be from a person named â€œBriana.â€ And they even included a picture of â€œBriannaâ€ to entice us even further.
But you see, like most potential customers, we want more than a cute name and a pretty picture before we do business with a company. We want real people working with us who we know are going to take our business seriously and handle it effectively. That is only natural. If we have questions before we lay down money we want them answered. Again, only natural. Chances are your potential customers want the same thing from YOU and YOUR business.
The question is: are you able to give them that? If the answer is a resounding â€œYESâ€ as I hope it is, then the best way to show them that is for you to make sure that no matter what you respond to every single email you receive from your customers or potential customers.
It isn’t easy. Nobody ever said it would be. But you CAN DO IT. You just have to delegate the task to one or two people in your organization and make that priority number one. If youâ€™re a one-man operation, it will be even more difficult. But every email query you reply to personally brings you that much closer to closing another sale and earning a new customer. Of course the same thing can be said to every complaint you reply to or every single piece of email your company receives. Even if it is a simple â€œHey guys, thank you!â€ You might simply reply, â€œNo, on the contrary, thank YOU for your business! And for your kind words.â€
In this day and age, personal communication with your customer base and your potential customers is one of the single most important things you can do to keep your business growing. It isn’t going to be easy. But as I said before, you CAN DO IT. Just make it happen. Remember that every business and every business owner is in the same position. It is how we handle our business that determines the fate of our business.
We will post more detailed entries on this same topic in the future and go over some steps you can take to make the task simpler and more efficient. In the meantime, take stock of how many â€œunanswered emailsâ€ you have in your companyâ€™s inbox today and get to answering them. You should be surprised at the results this simple action step will yield in regards to increasing your business.
So what to do about Fanbridge? Great question. Well, we had no choice. We simply replied TO THEM instead.
Since we have emailed you three separate times with questions regarding migrating over to use your services and have still not received an answer, we took the liberty of using this common trend in â€œnew business modelingâ€ so expertly exemplified by your company as a great example in a recent blog post to our own business consulting clients. Your lack of response to our simple questions - but continued solicitations for our business is becoming a fairly common trend â€“ especially with internet-only businesses. Let us hope for all of our sakes, it does not continue.
The blog post is re-printed below. Hopefully you too might learn a thing or two from it. Consider it a freebie. On the house, from us to you.
Our questions are below the blog post should you care to respond. We are sincerely interested in doing business with your company should you turn out to be real â€œlive human beings.â€
Best of luck and success to you as always,
Ed Hale :: Optum Consulting