Last Tuesday after publishing the Tuesday Tidbit I got a text message from my mother that my 89-year-old grandfather would be having a pacemaker installed on Thursday. His heart had stopped for 8-9 seconds over the weekend.
The next day, Wednesday, I received another text from my mother which simply read:
I saw the text, my heart skipped a beat, and I began to tear up. I walked inside and told my wife that my Grandfather had passed away.
Then I became a little annoyed with my mother, so I responded with, “WHY WOULD YOU SEND ME THIS IN A TEXT? A PHONE CALL WOULD HAVE BEEN NICE.”
Then she responded.
His driver’s test.
As my mentor says, you can’t make this stuff up! It’s a funny story that we can laugh at now, but it’s also one that highlights the challenges of our modern world.
A while back, I was speaking to a company that asked for my help in conducting 3-day sales training event, because they were concerned about their salespeople’s seeming inability to work together, stay motivated and a whole slew of other issues.
After talking to the VP of Sales for less than 20 minutes it was immediately apparent that no amount of training would instantly solve their problems, but they were insistent on putting their team through a 3-day sales training. They decided to book someone else (who was considerably less costly the VP told me.)
I told him and his boss to call me after that didn’t work so we could solve the problem.
About a year later, they called me back, we worked together (and we still work together to this day.) They finally realized the problems had very little to do with the sales team. In fact, the issues were really in communication across the entire company, from leadership right down to the customer-facing employees.
They were using all kinds of hot project management tools and sexy team collaboration/chat tools, but in the end, things were being missed. People weren’t picking up the phone. Discussions were avoided in exchange for a few lines of text. Email exchanges were considerably reduced which was great, but so did the customer experience.
Things that should have been communicated and expressed to the customers weren’t happening. Things the management team assumed happened every time as part of the customer experience weren’t getting done.
The solution was simple.
The nature of their business suggested they needed to communicate more, not less. A single customer project had a lot of moving parts from the time the prospect first expressed interest until the sale was made until the project was successfully delivered, and as they attempted to secure the second sale, or testimonials and referrals.
In today’s modern world it’s easy to assume a text contains all the required info. I hear from sales guys all the time that many of today’s customers prefer text as the preferred mode to communication, but most of the data shows the reps/advisors/store associates picking up the phones are the ones generating the best results.
I mean, here I am making funeral travel arrangements and my Grandparents are cruising down to the Ice Cream shop.
Your Challenge: Look at your top 1-2% of clients and tell me this.
Can you tell me unequivocally, without question, the last time they bought from your company, or the last time they were spoken to, by whom, and the context of that conversation?
In most cases, specifically, when it comes to your most valuable customers, you want more context, not less.
These thing matters to keep your company’s heart beating healthy and strong.