A few weeks ago, I tried to connect with the national sales manager of a North American appliance manufacturer. I went through a fairly torturous auto-attendant reception tree to try and find the individual. I eventually spoke to a live person who offered to transfer me – and I was put on hold, indefinitely. I dialed back in and then went through to the dial by name process where I was able to actually get through to the person’s extension. I was then connected to the extension and, after about 15 rings (close to a minute), I heard a message saying “the mailbox you have called is full”. At which point the system hung up. On another occasion, in the last few weeks, I tried to make an appointment with a medical specialist and received a blunt auto-attendant message saying “leave a message” with no indication if it would be answered or acted upon. And just recently, I have been trying to solicit bids on a $100,000 construction project. In this case, I called advertised cell phones and sent text messages that were simply not responded to and made me feel that they were ignored.
In all these cases, I’m almost certain that the individuals and the companies involved, had the best of intentions when they set up their systems some years ago, and now just assume that all is still well. However, the times have changed, people have changed, technologies have changed, and customer expectations have most certainly changed. (Authenticity is one of these changes.) The result is what I call Connection Decay; your potential clients experience extreme friction while trying to give you business, or much worse, they can’t get in touch with you at all and go elsewhere.
Is it possible that your business also suffers from this Connection Decay?
The retail industry uses a process called Secret Shopper. They have an outside company shop their stores and report on the effectiveness of the engagement. We do a similar thing for our clients. Sometimes we will look at a company’s website through the eyes of potential types of buyers. We will review the ‘path’ the prospect needs to take to engage with you. Sometimes we will text, phone or email the company to examine the quality and timing of a response.
Try this yourself:
Put yourself in the mind of your target client and do an incognito Google search to see what shows up; hopefully, your company does. Then go to your own Website and see if there is an efficient and effective engagement path. Remember, most websites have been created with a view of selling (“We are the best at __X___ and you should really buy from us”) rather than buying (“We understand your issues and we think that we can help you solve them. Let’s talk.”)
If you think you may be suffering from Connection Decay and would like a more detailed analysis of how easy you are to engage with, call us and we will give you a quick analysis along with suggestions on how to improve it.
Connect with me on LinkedIn.