It is your job to know all there is to know about your business. Your livelihood depends on it. Your customers and prospects are different. Most don’t know the intimate details about your company, products, services, processes, and policies. They do know when they have a problem that needs solving. It’s up to you to provide the education they need in the right language at the right time.
Doing this sounds easy because you know your company’s service and products well. All that you have to do is share it. And that’s when the problems start. When people ask, “How does this work?” what they really mean is “How will this work for me?” or “Does this solve my problem?” Asking a few questions before answering saves time and reduces frustration. The first step in good communication is starting on the same page.
The ability to ask questions is limited in the self-service marketplace we call “Internet.” Your answers have to be readily accessible to the people seeking guidance. If you do it well, you’ll receive some search engine benefits as well. Sears Parts department is a good example of how to provide answers before the questions are asked.
Our dishwasher stopped working a few months ago. There were two issues. The first one was that the cut-off switch didn’t work intermittently and flooded the kitchen. The second was a broken piece on the tray. People who know me well understand that a broken dishwasher is a huge problem in my house. My theory is that dishwashers were invented so I don’t have to wash dishes. With very few exceptions, if something can’t be washed in the dishwasher, I don’t want it in my kitchen.
There are two wonderful features about dishwashers: they wash dishes and are relatively simple in their design. A Google search for schematics took me to Sears Parts Direct. They have everything you can imagine including drawings. After reviewing the information available, I unassembled the water intake valve and found that the filter was clogged. (Note to engineers: When designing products all filters should always be easily accessible. Having to dismantle the intake valve is ridiculous.)
Cleaning the filter resolved the overflow issue. The next step was to replace the broken part. A few keystrokes and a credit card took care of it. In the future, I’ll start with Sears when there are appliance repairs needed in my house.
The knowledge and experience you have with your company can interfere with more than customer communications. It can also cause you to drop profitable products, services, and promotions because you are bored with them and presume your customers feel the same way.
Before making changes to your offerings, review the data to insure that they are warranted. You see these things every day. What looks stale and dated to you may be fresh and new to your customers and prospects.
To attract and convert prospects:
- Always make sure that you understand what your customers and prospects mean before answering questions. They may not ask the right question.
- Educate your customers and prospects about your products, services, processes, and policies. The more they know, the easier it is to communicate.
- Use technology to improve your communications. Anticipate questions and provide answers throughout the shopping process.
- Confirm conversations and provide additional answers with follow-up emails. It opens the door to a relationship while serving well.
- Use analytics to guide marketing, merchandising, and service decisions. Your opinion doesn’t matter if your customers don’t agree.
- Don’t presume that your customers and prospects know how things work at your company. Ask them what they need so you can provide the right answers.
- Remember that your website is an excellent place to share information. Create pages for distributing information. They will improve your natural search rankings and serve your visitors.
- The more you know, the better you serve. Always seek to learn more about your business, products, and customers.
To improve your content management, email Debra at firstname.lastname@example.org.