Customer contact strategy and getting the timing right
I recently overheard a telephone conversation between my Dad and a kitchen supplier, and it did not go well for the kitchen company. My dad has a desire to buy a new kitchen but he also wants to feel in control, after all it is a big expense and a big decision. What I heard made me think about what the contact strategy could have been!
Let me add some background. My folks have recently bought a house which needs some work. Amongst other things they are talking about getting a new kitchen. They have a rough idea of what it will cost and have reached out to more than one supplier. One of which called my Dad for a follow up.
For the purposes of this blog item I’ll call the kitchen firm: “Quality Kitchens“. The call went something along the lines of:
Dad: I already told you that I would get back to you when I was ready.
Dad: I know but when you called yesterday I said I needed two weeks to make a decision and you have called me twice already. I NEED you to stop, I’ll get back to you in my own time. Argh.
I am not sure what Quality Kitchens had said as it wasn’t on speaker, and I only have my Dad’s version. From what I can make out my Dad has made an enquiry, he was offered a solution, and he said that he would like some time to consider it. Quality Kitchens have followed up immediately and more than once. He now feels “harassed”, and doesn’t want to buy from them.
From Quality Kitchens business point of view they had a smoking hot lead, a recent home mover with some money to spend on a kitchen. However, there was likely to be competition! So their sales team were all over it.
So where did this contact strategy go wrong and how could it have gone better?
I would guess that the first time my Dad made an enquiry he made a comment about the next step, and his expectations of this have not been met.
People often think of consent to marketing as binary; “I want” or “I don’t want”, but in this instance my Dad was happy to be contacted but at a specific pace.
Quality Kitchens could have dealt with this situation by offering the contact plan that my Dad had consented to. Essentially one that would have made him comfortable. They could have also offered a time and date for a follow up call, and sent a calendar invite. This would have helped mitigate the competition risk.
A non pushy eCRM program to support this would have allowed them to stay front of mind. For example, some ‘hints and tips’, links to kitchen design tools, or an e-mail or two on why Quality Kitchens have the highest quality kitchens around.
Successful contact strategies should not only include ‘what to say’, but also ‘when to say it’. Contact your customer at the right time to make them feel comfortable and confident that you are the right supplier for them.