Don’t lose them at “Hello”

Selling Radio Direct with Pat Bryson.

In a recent training session that I did with one of my clients, we looked at attrition rates for the past year. If you haven’t done this lately, I suggest you do so, but get ready to be looking for the next bottle of your favorite adult beverage. We lose clients for a variety of reasons, some beyond our control. Someone closes, retires, sells, changes managers, changes marketing philosophies, gets upset with us.

It’s the last reason I’d like to talk about today. The Internet for the most part has the customer experience done well. From start to finish, the buying process is seamless. This has spoiled consumers. Our clients are consumers also. The last few years have raised their expectations of doing business with us. Our customer process must be easy from start to finish.

Which brings me to the real subject of this newsletter: when I call you or your station, what do I hear?

The other day I called a potential client and a real, LIVE person answered the phone. Wow! A receptionist, not a voice mail. That in itself was a reason to mark the day on my calendar. I didn’t have to listen to a litany of “Press one for X, Press 2 for Y, Press 3 for Z”. What happened next was even more unusual. Here’s what I heard: “Good morning. This is ____ with station ____. How may I make your day great?” I nearly fell out of my chair. I also broke into a wide smile and realized that this person HAD made my day great by that simple phrase.

What do YOUR clients hear when they call you or your station? Do they get, “You’ve reached XYZ Company. If you know your person’s extension, you may dial it now. Or, hang on the line for an interminable list of extensions.” Or, my personal favorite, “Spell the person’s last name.” Or how about, “Our customer service representatives are all busy. Your wait time will be less than one hour.”

I don’t know about you, but my blood pressure has gone up a few notches after dealing with these scenarios. As we talk with our clients about how to entice customers back into their stores, we might want to address making it easy to connect. What happens in that initial contact can make or break what follows.

How about us? How is your station’s phone answered? The person who answers the phone is often the first contact potential clients or listeners have with us. Is it positive? Do we sound like we genuinely want to solve their problem? Does the person who encounters the problem follow it through to completion or hand it off to someone else and never think about it again?

We have two sets of customers: our listeners and viewers and our advertisers. Both are important to our success.

Some great opening lines I’ve heard on voice mail:

“I’m so sorry I can’t answer your call right now. I’m out helping my clients to make 2023 the best year ever. I’d enjoy helping you as well. If you’ll leave your name and number, I’ll call you back quickly.”

“Sorry I missed your call. I’m out discussing with my clients how to find good, qualified employees. If you’re recruiting, perhaps our stations might be of help. Leave your name and number and I’ll call you back.”

“Hi! You’ve reached ___ _____ at XXXXX. Right now I’m out helping my clients create successful marketing campaigns to make 2023 their best year ever. Leave me your name and number and I’ll do the same for you.”

Note that all of these focused on what the salesperson is doing for the clients. What problems are we helping them solve? We aren’t out “selling radio or TV” we are out working with our clients to raise their revenue, to help them to solve their ever-evolving business problems.

I hope your first connection with customers will put a smile on their face. Be the ray of positivity in an uncertain world. Make it easy to connect with you. Don’t lose a customer at “hello”.