Tracey Stern

Get Your Touch Strategy Right: Know What To Say, And When To Say It

10 February 2011, Tracey Stern

Customer serviceAs a woman of a certain age, I thought it time to organise my will, as I have previously put this off time and again. Having sourced what I presumed to be a reputable company online, I emailed a request for a consultation.

The phone call from this company came less than 24 hours after the initial request, by which time I had found an alternative source. I told the customer services representative on the phone, that this was the case, and thanked him for getting in touch, but I was quite specific that I would not now be needing their services.

Knowing When To Stop

Within the next 24 hours, I recieved three further phone calls from this company, together with a written communication at my home address. In pursuing me in this way, this company has now alienated themselves from any future purchase, or recommendation to my circle of friends and family.

Often, we believe that re-contacting customers, or being less subtle in our approach to them, will reap business rewards. In the same way that we need to consider what we say (see previous blog about the Lost Art of Conversation), how and when we say it is so very important.

Sense and Respond: surprise and delight your customers

Amazon logoContrast my experience of the will writing company with Amazon.  They took one of the world’s major sporting events, the Superbowl, and understood their role within the programme and how to engage their potential customers without shouting, or deploying overtly obvious sales tactics. They used their product strength to effortlessly remind the public what they do best and how to access their huge range of music product on offer in an intelligent and subtle manner.

Push and Pull

With all the data capture now available at our fingertips, companies also have the added pressure of knowing when to contact customers, and how to contact them. Our Email Marketing training course extols the do’s and dont’s of a good Touch Strategy. Imagine the Amazon Superbowl story re-written to include flyers landing on doormats and you will see what I mean.

Groupon logoIn my view, the context of a conversation is equally as important as the content.  Behaviourally targeted advertising cuts through to a point, but planning the right weight and timing of these messages can mean the difference between success and alienation. I am very happy to recieve my daily Groupon offer email for example, but were these to  come through 5 times a day I would happily distance myself, no matter how tempting the offer.

On the flip side, I am an avid fan of All Saints clothing, but since signing up to their email offers, I am now bombarded daily with emails and banner ads that has instigated me hitting the  ‘unsubscribe’ button.

Bill Gates once very wisely said that ‘The Internet will help achieve “friction free capitalism” by putting the buyer and the seller in direct contact, and providing more information to both about each other. To all of us who have stuff to sell, we just need to ensure that this direct contact is consistently  intelligent, considered and timely.