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3…2…1… Contact!

Contact is the secret,
It’s the moment when everything happens. 

Contact is the answer,
It’s the reason why everything happens.

Let’s Make Contact!

Three, Two, One, contact!

Does anyone else remember the show from the 80′s? The first part has been stuck in my head for hours. So, I googled it and now I have the rest of the lyrics. It also inspired me to talk about the importance of contact for your business.

Business is about contacts. If you don’t have contact with the consumer, you don’t have any business. Ever heard that it takes hearing/reading something three times before you remember it? What about your customers. You want them to remember you, right? So you need to repeat your contact with them.

Ways businesses make contact with customers:

1.) Advertisement – in some way the customer learns you have a product or service. It may be billboards, yellow pages, TV ads, online advertisements, or a physical display at trade shows, stores, etc. This is the customer’s first contact.

2.) Transaction – when you actually complete the sale or sign the service agreement, etc. You (or one of your representatives) are making contact with the customer. Even if you have an automated check-out system on a website, there is a different contact with the customer than when you’re still in the advertising stage.

3.) Follow up – I think this is an area some businesses overlook. You’ve completed the transaction, the customer has their product or service and their receipt. Now what? What do they think of your product? Did they tell someone else about it? Did it break? Do they have an idea to fix it? Yes, you can have a customer service department, but that requires the CUSTOMER to contact you. It’s extra effort. They may not remember. What if YOU made another contact with the customer after the sale? You could…

* Thank them for their business – calling, sending a note, or an e-mail

* Encourage them to come back again, maybe to purchase X, Y, or Z that would be compatible to what they bought. Maybe you give them a discount of some sort.

* Send a note or gift remembering their birthday, holiday, anniversary, etc.

* Offer them something if they refer a new customer to you.

The more often the customer sees your name, the more likely they are to remember it. Hopefully, they see it in a positive manner. If not, it’s important to follow up to try to resolve the problem.

My earlier post about a simple tweet and the customer service that followed is a perfect example of that. It is difficult to hang out at the malls, schools, etc. to listen to what people *might* say about your product. BUT, there are places people go online to chat and it’s easier to monitor those sites. Sites such as Facebook and Twitter are filled with people having conversations about what they’re doing now and what they think about anything and everything. Best of all, since it’s computer based, it’s SEARCHABLE! Yeah! So, now you can sit around all day and monitor social sites to see what might be said about you and your company. Sound fun? Sometimes. Is that a productive use of YOUR time? Probably not. That’s where Virtual Asssitants, like myself come in. Virtual Assistants can monitor social sites for both positive and negative feedback. Some of the stuff may be uninteresting or unimportant, but a VA can call your attention to the ones that need your attention.

What about these notes and gifts I suggest sending out? Does your hand ache just thinking about signing all those cards? (You’re going to have a big business, so you have lots of customers to follow up with, right?) A Virtual Assistant can create a digitized version of your signature and even a font of your own handwritting. Then cards can be mailed out without the hand cramping. Even better, VAs can design cards for you and mail them at lower rates than you would pay buying cards at a local store. Send a card out on the anniversary of a customer’s big purchase (house, car, boat, etc.). A Virtual Assistant can also keep track of those birthdays, holidays, annivesaries for you.

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Kim Wesley

Hanover, MD