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A few weeks ago, I had the privilege of attending Forrest Performance Group’s Human Performance Unleashed Event.  For any company looking for the absolute best sales and management training out there, I would highly recommend Jason and his group at FPG.

One of the guest speakers at the event was Bill Cates, aka The Referral Coach.  Among his many insights, Bill showed a slide courtesy of research conducted by Julie Littlechild, of Absolute Engagement.

Julie classified customers into one of four categories: disgruntled, complacent, satisfied, and engaged.  Only 15% of customers considered themselves engaged, with 39% satisfied and 30% complacent.  If all you’re asking your customers is how they feel about your service on a scale of 1-10, there’s surprisingly little difference between engaged, satisfied, and complacent customers, with 82%, 76%, and 65% of customers in those categories giving a score of 8 or higher.

Here is the shocking finding, of those 15% who felt engaged, 98% had provided a referral in the past 12 months!  Compare that to only 20% of customers in the satisfied and complacent categories who had provided a referral in the last 12 months.

Can you imagine what doubling or tripling the percentage of your customers who are engaged with your business would do for your referrals?

The critical question for you, is how engaged are your customers?  Is it a function of them reaching out to you for an update?  Are you sure your employees are keeping everyone up to date on a regular basis?  Is customer feedback not only solicited, but responded to in a timely manner?  Are your employees accessible to your customer?

The answer to more referral business seems to be clear – create more engagement with your current customers.

The Top 10 Customer Communication Issues (and How We Fix Them)

Here at StatusRecap, we’re all about improving customer communication.  We’ve found that many companies don’t realize that their customer communication experience could be better, driving customer satisfaction, leading to repeat business and referrals.  Some see communication with their current customers as an expense line item, others ignore it all together.

Your sales people have convinced you to spend thousands or tens of thousands of dollars a month on CRM suites like Salesforce, Zoho, Netsuite and others, and your technical folks have convinced you to drop good money on team chat apps like Slack and Hipmunk. Yet, for some reason, your project managers and your current customers get ignored, much to your business’ detriment.

So, in no particular order, here is our top 10 list of customer communication problems that StatusRecap addresses:

  1. Social sharing for customersYour customers, especially millennial customers, want to share what’s going on with their life. If you’re doing amazing work, you’re missing a golden referral opportunity.  When your customers are happy about the job you are doing, you want them talking about it for the week, month, or year you are doing excellent work for them.  Give them pictures, and watch as the share your work and name on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and more.
  2. Poor communication is causing unnecessary anxiety for your customers. From our friends in the home building industry, surveying shows that the most anxious that customers feel is during the building phase.  Why?  Before they sign the contract, sales people are excellent at communicating (that’s what they are paid to do).   After the home is complete, they get to live it and experience the life change.  What’s missing?  Typically, after customers have committed to a huge financial and life decision, communication becomes almost absent.  Make it easier for your employees doing the work to document their accomplishments for customers by putting their communication tool in their hands.
  3. Customer approvalsYou’re probably either not documenting your customer approvals and change orders well (searching through emails qualifies as not well), or your process is unnecessarily burdensome to your customers (“You want me to sign this and fax it back? Who has a fax machine?”).  Make your approvals a matter of tapping a check box, and have a complete record available to them and you.
  4. You’re missing the handheld referral opportunity. What is the handheld referral opportunity?  It’s what happens every time someone pulls out their phone to show off some thing or some experience.  When your customer’s friend or colleague starts talking about your industry or your business specifically, you want your happy customer to pull out their phone and say, “take a look at this!”
  5. Customer feedback in real timeCustomer feedback is important throughout the process – especially when your customers have different expectations. You can save yourself money by making sure your work meets your customer’s desires before completion.  There’s no easier way to get customer feedback than to make it a matter of tapping a “Comment” button.
  6. You may think you only have one customer for your project, but there’s likely many more. Communicating with one may leave the other(s) in the dark, feeling anxious, or uninformed.  Even if the stakeholder you are communicating with feels great about your work, all it takes is one unhappy customer to hurt your reputation.  However, sending emails, or making phone calls to multiple customer contacts (all likely conveying different information) takes more time your employees likely don’t have.  Status Recap makes it easy to add customers to your project, and control what each customer can see.
  7. How often are your project coordinators or on-site workers enhancing your revenue? Does the vehicle they are working on, or the site they are maintaining have something else that needs attention that is not on the work order?  Do your on location employees see something that could make the house look even better?  Why aren’t they communicating these opportunities to your customers?  Give them the power to increase your revenues, I can almost guarantee you that they see something every day that could improve your customer’s project.
  8. Bad communication breaks relationships. All of that time and energy your customer facing employees spent building rapport with your clients is being constantly broken down when your salespeople move on to the next commission opportunity, while the company that is actually sending you checks each month gets ignored except for their invoice.  Take the objections of your project managers away with an easy to use tool, while keeping your sales team involved with the power of referrals.
  9. Your customer probably thinks that you could be moving faster. They don’t understand the intricacies of their project.  They think you’re probably focused on someone else, and have put their project off.  You should use the complexity of their project to exhibit your team’s skill.
  10. Customer communication and messagingAnd finally, after your project is done, your customers will probably lose your contact information. When an issue comes up, their first comment may be to a friend or colleague, instead of to you.  You need a platform that makes you accessible, so you can address their issue right then, make sure your customer remains happy, and turn warranty items into awesome customer experiences.  Status Recap offers your current and former customers multiple avenues to contact you, including our robust messaging interface, along with all of your contact information with just a tap.